Halloween Costumes

Phyllis Irene Radford

In earlier decades “dress up” and “let’s pretend” were favorite games of mine.  My girlfriends and I could explore growing up, or reinventing ourselves, or becoming for a few moments a princess, or a frog, a brilliant professor, or even slovenly monsters.  Most of these games took place in secret, behind closed doors.  We were too embarrassed to admit to narrow-minded parents that we wanted to belong to a different family, in a different time, with a different reality.

We started early with grandson #1.  At age 8 months he debuted at Baycon and won a prize at the masquerade.

The only time we were allowed to wear costumes in public was if we were engaged in stage productions—yeah I loved ballet as much for the costumes as the dance.

Society for Creative Anachronism and Renaissance Faires came much later in my life.  Along with Highland Games.  Science Fiction Fantasy Conventions came even later.  People now have many outlets for putting on a different persona, or reality through costuming.

The Red Hat clubs are even a form of costuming.  Donning a red hat and purple clothes, (fashion taboos for generations) gives women permission to break strict social boundaries and conventions.

I found the opportunity to wear one costume during the years I worked at an historical museum.  I even found a very distant relative in the portrait behind me.  My mother insisted I looked just like the 2nd wife of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition.  We share a maiden name anyway.

So until I grew up and learned how mentally healthy breaking some rules like no costumes in public can be, Halloween was really big deal for me.  I worked hard to make costumes for me, my son, and later my grandsons.

So this year, be a bit outrageous.  Dress as you please on Halloween and explore the possibilities of “Let’s Pretend” in your own mind.

Here’s grandson #1 born in the year of the Golden Dragon being a golden dragon at age 3.

Phyllis Irene Radford is a founding member of the Book View Cafe and has edited 5 anthologies for BVC proof that she lives in an alternate reality in her head if not in costume.


About Phyllis Irene Radford

Irene Radford has been writing stories ever since she figured out what a pencil was for. A member of an endangered species—a native Oregonian who lives in Oregon—she and her husband make their home in Welches, Oregon where deer, bears, coyotes, hawks, owls, and woodpeckers feed regularly on their back deck. A museum trained historian, Irene has spent many hours prowling pioneer cemeteries deepening her connections to the past. Raised in a military family she grew up all over the US and learned early on that books are friends that don’t get left behind with a move. Her interests and reading range from ancient history, to spiritual meditations, to space stations, and a whole lot in between. Mostly Irene writes fantasy and historical fantasy including the best-selling Dragon Nimbus Series and the masterwork Merlin’s Descendants series. In other lifetimes she writes urban fantasy as P.R. Frost or Phyllis Ames, and space opera as C.F. Bentley. Later this year she ventures into Steampunk as someone else. If you wish information on the latest releases from Ms Radford, under any of her pen names, you can subscribe to her newsletter: www.ireneradford.net Promises of no spam, merely occasional updates and news of personal appearances.


Halloween Costumes — 5 Comments

  1. Phyl! Sister! I have pictures of my daughter, age 3, wearing a Disney Snow White outfit. Since she has dark hair she looked wonderful, and since I have 5 nieces the outfit got handed down for years. At one point I made a Huntress outfit for myself, with the proper long Bat cape. But she copped it in high school and stopped all academic achievement one Halloween.
    Sometime we must get together and both wear our Regency muslins!

  2. That dragon is adorable! I loved dressing up as a kid, but there were few opportunities.

    My ‘masterpiece’ was a horse costume for two when I was ten. I designed it and my friend and I did the sewing. (By then I was used to making ball dresses and adventure clothes for my dolls out of scraps of fabric.)

    I loved making costumes for my daughter and son as they grew up.

  3. What a gorgeous dragon!

    I’ve always loved costumes, and years ago I stumbled into the International Costumer’s Guild – a great place to interact with costume lovers. Now I make sewing patterns for historical costumes.

    Halloween is for everyone with an imagination!

  4. I dusted that portrait every work day for 4 years and never saw the resemblance until I put this essay together and saw the shape of the face and the eyes. Yeah, I guess I can claim a sideways relationship to Lewis & Clark.