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I was a kid in the late 70’s and 80’s so political correctness was not a thing. Gram was as compassionate and open minded as anybody, but there was something about Halloween that brought out her crazy. Gram was in charge of my costumes, and although original, I have more than a few that as an adult I find cringe worthy.

 

  • Gram took a burlap sack and cut holes for my head and arms. Then she cut slits in the bottom to create fringe at the bottom. She took a western belt, added Grandpa’s turquoise belt buckle and a butcher knife. I wore moccasins purchased at Fort Hall, and a patterned headband with feathers and two black yarn braids sewn onto it. There was one last problem that Gram felt needed to be solved before I was the perfect Indian Squaw. I was the whitest white girl there was. Gram found the darkest foundation she could and caked it onto my face. I hated that costume because it was top to bottom itchy. The burlap seemed to make its way through my undershirt, and the cheap, waxy foundation was unbearable. In fact, I have not worn either one since.  

  • Gram believed that the search for the perfect costume should begin at a thrift store called Deseret Industries, D.I. for short. It was there that she found a passion purple taffeta prom dress. The skirt and bodice were accented with a hot pink net-like stuff. Gram believed that reuse of the moccasins and the addition of blue eye shadow, fake eyelashes, bright red lipstick, and an impressive amount of costume jewelry  would make me the perfect Gypsy. I didn’t even know what that was, but it was my ticket to go trick or treating. I did get tired of telling people what I was supposed to be.

  • One year one of my dad’s high school students (he was a science teacher) gave him a sombrero. The second I saw it, I knew if gram found out about it I would have to be a sombrero wearing Mexican for Halloween. Sure enough, Gram found me a poncho at D.I. This time, however, I did refuse to wear the foundation.

  • For this costume, Gram didn’t have to make a trip to D.I., she simply raided my grandpa’s closet for a threadbare flannel shirt, a pair of holy jeans, and one of the red bandanas he used as hankies. She filled the hanky with cotton and tied it to a stick. She tied the pants up with a piece of rope and removed the laces from my boots. It was the most comfortable costume I had gotten to wear thus far. Until she decided that I was a male hobo and needed stubble. She spread honey on my face then made me lean over the sink as she put coffee grounds over the honey like one put sprinkles on cookies. It was uncomfortable and it stunk.

 

Maybe in her own way, Gram was trying to introduce me to other cultures, maybe we are too sensitive in this day and age. I don’t know what the answer is. I did have some normal costumes. I was a vampire one year. Gram gave me a cape and some teeth, which I really hope did not come from D.I.  I used the cape again, carried around an antenna broken off a CB radio and called myself a magician. Ok, maybe that one isn’t so normal. I broke away from Gram’s costumes in seventh grade. I went to my mom to help transform me into Boy George from his “Karma Chameleon” video. Even as creative as she was, I didn’t think Gram could pull off that one. At least my costumes were never store bought, and they were always memorable!

 

For those of you who are a little older, what were some of your cringe worthy costumes?