This year has definitely been like something out of a horror film, and never in our scariest nightmares did we think we would be living in the time of a global pandemic, but here we are. Back in the spring I was hopeful it wouldn’t interfere with Halloween because it’s my absolute favorite holiday, but people in the US can’t follow simple instructions apparently. In a normal year I’d be decking the halls with spider webs and costume building by mid-September. So, my family made a plan for a safe Halloween where we could get together with costumes, have dinner, and watch the new version of Roald Dahl’s The Witches because it was one of our favorite stories as kids when the Angelica Houston movie came out. We all decided to go simple, so for us that meant no costumes that required major hair and make up time…and time to remove it at the end of the night too. My fiancé’s costume requirement was that he didn’t want to shave off his beard like last year when he dressed as The Crow and I was Tank Girl. We figured that because we were comic book characters last year that this year we could be TV stars. Bob Ross was the perfect solution for an easy costume requiring a beard, all I had to find was a light blue button down shirt for $4.99 at Goodwill. We were lucky enough to already have a brown curly wig and an artist’s paint palette lying around.
When I was little we would draw costume inspiration from a big box of props and costume pieces that my parents had collected over the years. I always loved this light yellow genie costume from the box, but never had the right opportunity to wear it. It was an embellished vest top with sheer sleeves, and matching yellow sheer pants with elastic at the ankles – clearly it wasn’t going to be warm enough to wear for trick-or-treating! My favorite shows to watch were on Nick at Nite like I love Lucy, Bewitched, and I Dream of Jeannie. Lucille Ball, Elizabeth Montgomery, and Barbara Eden were some of my favorite on-screen role models because they were all beautiful, strange, and powerful women.
In 2016 I had been rewatching old episodes of The Munsters, another late night favorite, and desperately wanted to dress as Herman and Lily Munster. Unfortunately, at that time our schedules were very much determined by my partner’s job with the Navy, so I had to be prepared for a solo costume in case my Herman had to work. I always make a solid attempt to create the most screen accurate costumes I can without using a commercialized bag costume, but sometimes they work as a nice base, and I wasn’t having any luck finding a light pink dress like Lily’s. I made a trip to Red Light Vintage in Seattle to look for costumes and came across a second hand Lily Munster dress to fancy up, as well as a pink Jeannie top and light pink flowy pants marked “fairytale”. On my trip to the Silverdale Goodwill to find Herman’s threads I stumbled across a cheap Jeannie hat and pants in pink sheer glitter fabric with red velvet accents. It was a huge relief to find out just before Halloween that we were going to be able to do our couple’s costume as The Munsters and my lucky Jeannie costume finds were tucked away in a bin for a later date.
Anyway, back to 2020, since my fiancé wasn’t really into dressing as Major Nelson (now being a veteran) and finding an astronaut costume sounded complicated, Bob Ross it is. With his costume figured out I excitedly pulled my Jeannie costume from the bin and it RAINED GLITTER all over our bedroom. At that point I knew the cheaply made costume wasn’t going to work, so I found a way to cut the sheer glitter fabric from the red velvet hat and belt, then fashioned a new head scarf from a strip of material from JoAnn ($1.09) and a little hot glue. The belt from the pants fortunately fit around my waist and the fairy pants were a perfect high-waisted solution to hide my quarantine snack belly and were much warmer than other genie pants.
Jeannie’s hair was another story. After a good look at her ‘do, I realized it was going to be difficult to keep the hat supported on my head on top of a braid and still have enough hair for a pony tail to come out of the top. I was lucky enough to find a braid headband in my hair color on Amazon for $10 with Prime shipping, making our 2020 costume total just over $16. Then there were THE BANGS – did I mention that screen accuracy is important to me? Well I’ve been growing out my bangs for over two years and love my insanely long hair, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices for a good costume! I briefly asked my fiancé how he felt about me cutting my bangs and he didn’t seem to care much. I ran around looking for my professional hair scissors, but of course they’re at my parent’s house still from giving my dad a quarantine haircut, so office scissors were gonna have to work! I quickly watched a You Tube tutorial, took a long moment of hesitation, then cut. As Bob walked by to find his wig he stopped in his tracks watching me and said, “I thought it was weird that you would ask me if you could have ‘buns’, but now I realize I misheard you.” We laughed, and I cringed with every snip until I got them looking even. My Jeannie hair method was to curl my pony tail, pin the braid and hat into position, then use a large sock bun donut to hold my ponytail out of the top of the hat all while keeping it supported.
So just like that, with a blink of the eyes and a nod of the head, we were Bob and Jeannie for Halloween. Our celebration was a success and Halloween 2020 was saved! Cheers witches!