Fearsome inspiration

Costume ideas for the big night

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: the pumpkins are out, costumes are being planned, and candy is on sale in bulk. DJs are hauling out their seasonally appropriate tunes (that would be Bette Midler’s “I Put a Spell on You,” Lady Gaga’s “Teeth” and Saint Michael’s “Thriller”), party invites are going out, and drag queens are brushing out their Morticia wigs. The moon’s looking a little fuller, the nights are feeling a lot colder, and the things that go bump in the night can mean only one thing: Halloween is here! So why am I feeling ennui-ish this year?

Make no mistake, this is one of my favourite holidays. Every year I pay lip service to the idea that I perform every other day and it’s the one day where I don’t have to wear a costume … and every year at the last second I give in to my urge to scare. I’ve been a ghost, Measha Brueggergosman, a drowned sailor, a sad clown, Pumpkinhead, a succubus, a glamour cat, a pirate, Black Swan … and that’s just in the past couple years! I try to go for costumes that elicit fear or involve some kind of illusion or transformation. Doing the Church Street stroll on Oct 31 is fun, but every year far fewer people are dressed up than should be. Therefore, I’d like to propose that no one be allowed to set foot on Church Street on Halloween night unless they are in costume or giving out candy! And I don’t mean a dollar-store mask and booty shorts … we can be sexy every other time of year, so in my mind, Halloween should be reserved for our deep, dark fantasies and fears to manifest themselves. My fearsome inspiration has yet to hit me this year, and I’m concerned some of you might be in the same boat. To help out, here are some costume ideas that might get the ball rolling.

Sky Gilbert: Shave your head, draw on tattoos, wear a tank top, put a gold hoop in your left ear, and presto! You are Canada’s most prolific playwright/drag queen/professor. For added points, have your photo taken under the new Sky Gilbert Lane sign outside Buddies.

Fay Slift: It’s never nice to steal another queen’s look … unless you’re going all the way! Our beloved Fay has bouffant Peggy Bundy hair, layers of crinoline and a striking two-toned beard. Earn extra credit for stealing some glue-on hair from a drag-king friend for your arms and legs!

The old Church Street steps: I’m not entirely sure about the logistics for this one, but it would be a great excuse to have people sit on your face all night.


Flying Beaver Pubaret: You could go literal with a beaver mask and a small prop plane or figurative with a vagina mask and angel wings. Your call!

Alexander Wood: Too obscure? Most people won’t know who you are, but you’d get to wear that faaaaaabulous long coat.

Joan Rivers at the doctor’s office: It’s not too soon! In fact, we hope to see some Joans and Melissas this year. If it hurts your throat to talk in a raspy voice all night, throw on a tiara and boom! You’re Michelle DuBarry.

Ryan G Hinds: Yours truly is a super-easy costume: find something Dorothy Zbornak would wear, pair it with cut-off jeans and Dollarama glitter, park yourself at the Hero Burger window and bitchily rate every costume that goes by.

Whatever you end up looking like and wherever you end up going, make sure you put the “wheee” in Halloween. Whether it’s from the Hero Burger window or somewhere scarier … I’ll be watching!

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TV & Film, Culture, News, Opinion, Toronto, Arts, Canada

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