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15 Byberry Road
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Michele Melcher Illustration, Philadelphia based illustrator, artist, painter.

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Halloween Part 2 – The Evolution of the Costume

Michele Melcher

Vintage and reproduction retro masks above my studio table. I love the colors!

Vintage and reproduction retro masks above my studio table. I love the colors!

Although there’s the corny factor with the kid’s boxed costumes of the 80′s and before, they do have a certain retro charm. Is it the garish colors? The fact that they came in a box? I don’t know. I like em’ though, and have collected a few new old stock and vintage costumes (with the box!) as decorations in my studio.

Face it, when you were a kid Halloween was all about the costume. There were a few times when we were really little that we got store bought costumes but for the most part we made them ourselves. It was partially due to a shoe string budget but mostly because I usually wanted to be something that wasn’t available anywhere. And, always being the creative, I felt that I could do a much better job making something anyway. Just supplement stuff that you find around the house with a trip to the hobby store – add a stitch, some glue, maybe even a stapler and voilà! You are Miss Piggy! You are a cat! You are a person in a gorilla mask with a sparkly cape! (yeah, that happened.)

I really think that the stuff that they have in the Halloween stores now is lame. Right out of college, I worked as a product designer for a well known novelty chain store that owns one of the largest Halloween retailers in the country. During my time there, I got to create some really unique and fun props and masks. Unfortunately, like many things in our society, Halloween has been overrun with the vanilla, unimaginative, crap-in-a-bag concepts that fill the stores today. Of course, if you want to be a sexy (nurse, witch, devil, nun, vampire, etc.) you’re in luck!

Aside from the times that I bought Easter Bunny and Chicken costumes for Halloween (c’mon, who DOES that?) I still make my own costume if we have a Halloween party to attend. I’m lucky to have an equally creative husband who feels the same as I do. Here’s a sampling of some of our sometimes simple, sometimes complicated hits from years past. Enjoy!