Will your Halloween night be about tricks or treats? Depends on the kind of person you are -- and what kind of costume you wear. From Madonna to Minnie (think Mouse, not Driver), what you choose to wear on the boo-filled night reveals a lot more than you might realize. Browse the list below and click on the category that makes the best match with your Halloween costume idea or find out what someone else's costume style says about him or her!
COSTUMES for ONE
1. Fairytale Character: Tinker Bell, Glinda the Good Witch, Angel...
2. Heroic Figure: Clara Barton, Mother Theresa...
3. Sex Symbol: Marilyn Monroe, Playboy Bunny, Las Vegas Showgirl...
4. Historical Figure: Marie Antoinette, Queen Elizabeth...
COSTUMES for TWO
1. Matching Pair: Two Hershey’s Kisses, The Bride and Frankenstein, a Nurse and Doctor...
2. Old-Fashioned Glamour Couple: Bogie and Bacall, Gable and Lombard...
3. Two Superheros: Superman and Wonder Woman, Batman and Cat Woman...
4. Physically Motivated Characters: Tarzan and Jane, Bonnie and Clyde...
5. Campy Cartoon Figures: Marge and Homer Simpson, Boris and Natasha...
A Fairytale CharacterFor example: Tinker Bell, Glinda the Good Witch, Angel
According to Tina Tessina, Ph.D., author of The 10 Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make After Forty, such a costume means you are living out your fantasy. Even though there are many problems in the world, you still believe that it’s a beautiful place and everything will ultimately be fine. How refreshing! Wave that wand -- maybe some fairy dust will wind up on the rest of us.
On the other hand, some women want to be the “twisted miss” in fairytales (i.e., Cinderella’s evil stepsisters). Hollywood costume designer Randy Gardell thinks that this choice reflects a natural desire to act out a bit, to show that you’re not always the goody-two-shoes girl that people might think you are. Gardell, who has worked on hit movies like Charlie's Angels and Batman Forever, says, “Everyone wants to be the bad witch at some point in their lives. This way, you get to play with those dark fantasies you usually repress. Besides, the green makeup is so attractive.”
A Heroic FigureThink Clara Barton, Mother Theresa
Tessina says that this choice reflects a need to push yourself to be better than you are -- “it’s a way to express your idealism.” Even if just for a night, impersonating someone who has the capacity to make a real difference in the world shows that you hunger to do something memorable and courageous with your life. You’ve probably always harbored a desire to join the Peace Corps or run for political office.
This costume also makes the statement that females are not the weaker sex. That makes the theme song for any woman wearing this getup on Halloween night undoubtedly “I am woman, hear me roar.”
A Sex SymbolMarilyn Monroe, Playboy Bunny, Las Vegas Showgirls all apply to this category
If you’re going this route on All Hallows Eve, it could mean that you are nervous about letting your femininity hang out during the other 364 nights of the year. Why? For most women, the fear is usually that dressing, uh, provocatively is not taking a feminist stance. Tessina’s take: You are ready to bust out and celebrate the womanhood that you often repress. Feeling sexually confident and beautiful shouldn’t threaten the respect you get from others. On the contrary -- it’s an expression of power.
Gardell says, “Marilyn is still perceived as the ultimate goddess. If you want to dress sexy, she’s it. However, one of my clients, a beautiful woman in her 30s, was so tired of being ogled that on Halloween she dressed as Marilyn with big hair, a skimpy gown … and a 70-year-old body. Yes, she was Marilyn if she had lived to age. The reason? To shatter the goddess image and make people snap to reality. Looks are not everything.”
A Historical FigureSuch as Marie Antoinette, Queen Elizabeth or Pochahontis
According to Tessina, you revere the past and long for the good old days. The author adds, “It’s likely you want to escape into what seems like a simpler time.” You are the type of person who feels safe when there are rules and order in the world. You appreciate the idea of regality, gentility, pomp and circumstance.
Appreciating order doesn’t mean you must forego creativity, though. Gardell says, “Royalty costumes can be a great deal of fun -- crowns and garish-colored robes, oversize teeth and putty for noses.” He adds, with a laugh, “One woman I know dressed as Marie Antoinette after the guillotine. She was carrying her own head!”
A Fortune TellerIf you choose this costume, says Gardell, your fantasy is to see into the future -- your own as well as everyone else’s. You might consider yourself more psychically oriented than most people (i.e., when the phone rings, you know who is on the other end of the line). You’re the type of person who likes to believe that life is not just about what you see, but what you don’t see.
It’s likely you believe in the supernatural and prefer movies like The Sixth Sense and Ghost over romances and comedies. And -- come on, admit it -- you’ve probably placed at least one call to Dionne Warwick’s Psychic Channel.
A Clown, Comedienne or Gender-Role SwitchYou are, or long to be, a funny lady. Tessina says women who dress as Lucille Ball or Bozo the Clown enjoy poking fun at life’s restrictions. It’s possible that you feel hemmed in by certain people in your life or by society’s structures. You never met a rule you didn’t try to bend -- not by force, but with a joke.
Dressing as a man -- say, Bill Clinton, rather than Hillary -- shows that you are secure enough in your sexuality to try something else.
A Matching PairThink: Two Hershey’s Kisses, The Bride and Frankenstein, a Nurse and Doctor (or Doctor and Doctor)
Tessina says this Halloween fashion statement reflects a desire to show the world that you are connected. She says, “You want to express your ‘us-ness.’ Either you’re really solid in your relationship or you’re really trying to be.”
The object here is to be the personification of romance. All may not be right with the world, but it’s right in your relationship. Odds are that the two of you will seldom leave each other’s side during the course of the evening. You won’t try to trick one another -- but there will be plenty of mutual treats.
An Old-Fashioned Glamour CoupleFor example, Bogie and Bacall, Gable and Lombard
These costumes are the garbed equivalent of chicken soup and apple pie. Gardell says, “People like to reach out to things that have comforted them in the past, and nothing is as comforting as Hollywood glamour.” The costume designer adds, “These were such distinct personalities, very recognizable and loved.”
These couples, of course, were also perceived to be deeply in love, and were envied by the rest of America for their storybook lives. Of course, unlike Bogie and Bacall, when you and your sweetie return home after the party, it’s likely you don’t have live-in help who will have cleaned the dinner dishes left in the sink.
A Superhero CoupleSuperman and Wonder Woman, Batman and Cat Woman all fit the bill
In cases like this, according to Gardell, the image you are likely projecting to the world (or at least to your fellow party guests) is that of a couple embroiled in a power struggle. He says, “The two of you have doubts about who is the better superhero.” This translates into a struggle over who is “the more popular and respected half of your duo.”
Superhero costumes could also project that both of you are totally confident that you’re equal partners who both wear the pants (well, in this case, the tights).
Physically Motivated CharactersSuch as Tarzan and Jane, Bonnie and Clyde
This duo is about sex and power -- and we know who’s got the latter. He’s in charge; you’re the sex object. The image here is that the female half is content to follow her man, whether he’s swinging on a vine or shooting up a nightclub. Sound familiar? Take care that your inclination to stand by your man and follow him into danger doesn’t take over your better judgment.
Gardell adds, “There is also something appealing about being a bad boy or bad girl. Gangsters are very popular Halloween characters -- the pinstriped suits and fedoras fly out of costume shops this time of year.”
Campy Cartoon FiguresFor example, Marge and Homer Simpson, Boris and Natasha
The couple dynamic here, according to Gardell, is that both of you are individualists. In your world it’s okay for tall women to go out with short men. He explains, “Each of you is comfortable in your skin. You don’t need the world’s approval. You are who you are -- and if others don’t like it, that’s their problem.”
It’s also likely that both of you have a highly developed sense of humor. You enjoy laughing and are confident enough not to mind being the target of other’s good-natured jibes. Gardell says, “Halloween is a great time to put a costume together that represents something that amuses you, piques your personality in some fun, scary or silly way.”
A Dominatrix and a Man on a Leash“It’s pretty easy to guess who the leader is in this couple,” laughs Gardell. While it’s likely that the male half of this couple is content ceding power to his lady, it’s also possible that he is secure enough to let the public perceive him as a passive pet.
The indisputable indicator in this costume scenario is that the female partner is one tough cookie. And that she’s got a great sense of humor.