Halloween stirs up all kinds of things, a smoky mix of anticipation and fear, life and death, blood and chocolate. Since my daughter was very young, we have spooked it up with pumpkin carving and mummy dogs, gelatin brains and black candy apples. We dress up, the scarier the better.
Speaking of scary, I’ve been working at home, no longer have a regular schedule. The rhythm of living is off, like shifting gears on an old bicycle, my cadence catches and slips. I can put on yoga pants and a t-shirt on Monday morning and discover, through the clever use of accessories (Scarves! Boots! ) can wear the same outfit for a week.
Yes, my friends, the sartorial descent is shocking. So when an invitation arrived to attend the Lifetime Achievement dinner for my amazing partner, i found myself in need of a carefully curated costume, something that said “success”, or at least “I am trying.”
Closet archaeologist seeks business attire. It was going to be a complicated dig.
I cannot let go of things: people and memories and clothing. I come by it honestly (Cancerian homebody from a long line of string savers and foil folders).
I have carefully acquired clothes that expressed who I really am, or at least who I thought I was.
But what do you change into when your life has changed?
It was a hard no to the now too tight blue power suit of a decade ago and the clingy red dress. No to the vintage 50s chiffon confection, once worn with cowboy boots and described as “something an astronaut’s wife would wear”.
Outfits that once shouted, “confident, creative, interesting!” now hang like plastic bagged mummies. Clever disguises literally under wraps.
Down, down the rabbit hole, to a raw emerald silk strapless bought backpacking in Thailand 30 years ago, my go to 80s big hair Fancy-Dan dress. Feather capes, opera coat, my Dad’s wedding suit jacket, belong in a Tickle Trunk. Some things (the leather mini skirt, the heavy biker belt, the sky high silver platform sandals), I put aside for my fashion forward and suddenly curious daughter.
“You lived in Ottawa?” she asks, holding an oversized 70s vintage suede fringed coat acquired there. “You went to school in Paris?”, as she holds up the black punk dress.
Yes, yes a thousand times yes. I had a life before you were born. There are skirts and suits and shoulder pads, evidence of those past lives.
There is also a giant bin in the garage, filled to beyond full with actual Halloween costumes. Medieval masks and feather angel wings, several black witches hats (in case the coven drops by), Supergirl and Cat Woman, my daughter’s little Red Riding Hood, her home made puzzle piece,, Hannah Montana wig (one of a dozen wigs really), accessories and a size 6X cheeseburger. Even my husband, bespoke tailoring belying the spirit within, keeps a costume or two; Dracula (classic) Dracula (Steampunk).
Halloween means never having to say you’re boring.
The shelves in my closet are full of possibility. It’s going to take a little bit of courage but I know there’s the bedrock of something, someone I haven’t fully become yet.
This time of the year, late October, Samhain, the ancient New Year, is full of contradiction light and dark, death and rebirth, thrust and drag. The old and the new.
I can wear whatever I want, be whomever I want to be: Witch or angel, superhero or demon. Red dress or yoga pants.
Who am I going to become? The possibilities are endless.
Entertaining Hungry Ghosts:
This is THE time of the year to try a little magic, so set a place at the table for the people who have departed your life. Light a candle, invite them in. (then blow out the candle!) go to sleep and see what surprises await you in the morning.
And then please drop me a note and let me know if you experienced any signs and omens.