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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Add Some Vintage to Your Halloween Look

I've made no secret of the fact that I LOVE Halloween.  The scary movies, the candy, the dressing up dogs,

 the pumpkins......  I love it all. 

 However, one thing I never get around to is a costume for myself.  Since I love clothes so much that probably seems pretty odd, but then with my vintage style, I'm pretty much an everyday is Halloween kind of girl (yes just like the Ministry song).  In fact last year while wearing my ordinary vintage look to work I got asked if my outfit was in fact my costume  So if I'm basically wearing a costume 365 days a year it seemed a little unnecessary to go and get a special look for Halloween.  However, there are pretty cute vintage Halloween looks that I've come across in my internet strolls.  Its too late for me to put one of these looks together this year, but there's always next October.

1) 1920s Paper Costumes-In the 1920s, a decade big on parties of course, it became popular to make, or buy, cheap, disposable costumes from crepe paper.

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The costumes were generally bright and cheerful in orange and black.  Most  had a sack like structure and a pointy hat and patterns of pumpkins, witches, or cats.  

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Obviously, being made of paper, these costumes where not exactly built to last.  Doubtless most probably failed to survive more then one round of trick or treating or dancing at a Halloween party.   However, if you are crafty there are books available on making your own.   For example How to Make Crepe Paper Costumes, originally published in 1925 is available on Amazon.

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with instructions for wood elf, Little Bo Peep, Apple Tree and many more.  A more modern guide for making paper costumes can be found in this Martha Stewart video.

If you are like me and hopelessly uncrafty and you keep your eyes peeled and your pennies saved then you may come across a well preserved or dead stock 1920s paper costume.  Guermantes Vintage on etsy has two gorgeous 1920s Halloween frocks for sale.  The first is a gorgeous black and orange cotton dress with paper appliques 

and the second is a black and orange tent dress with matching hat and paper appliques of witches, brooms and cats.

Since both of these dresses are cotton they would be sturdier then a crepe paper costume, though the appliques are clearly very delicate.

2) If your a fan of the 1950s and looking for a cheaper and sturdier costume then you might consider a poodle skirt.  Its one vintage look that even I would say is somewhat hard to get away with on any day other then Halloween (though I wouldn't rule it out!).    Etsy and ebay are good sources for vintage poodle skirts, and most are very reasonably priced.  I particularly like this hunter green number from SwaneeGRACE

and this red skirt with three poodles on leashes from Maeberry Vintage.

If you prefer repro there are also plenty of options.   The Hip Hop 50s shop sells poodle skirts in a wide range of colors and sizes. 

3) If the 1940s are more your speed you might  consider dressing as a land girl. 

To pull of  this costume all you need is a pair overalls, preferably 1940s style like those sold by NudeeDudee

 Allure Original Styles

Or Freddie's of Pinewood

a blouse and a head scarf.  Best of all the elements of your Halloween look can be worn all year long.

4) If land girls don't appeal but you still like the idea of appearing in a look reminiscent of the brave women of the World Wars, you might consider dressing as a nurse.

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Army nurse capes are available on etsy, though they are pricey, and B'sAttic has
a complete WWII nurse's uniform for sale.

Nurse capes would also be an easy sewing project for a home seamstress and all that's needed to complete the look is a white dress, white shoes and stockings, and a nurse's cap.

5)  If you prefer the idea of dressing as a historical figure then Amelia Earhart is a good choice.  All you really need is a pair of flight goggles and a leather jacket

and with this hat and scarf from all you need is pug your dog can easily be your co-pilot.

6) If monsters are your thing then the Deadly Dames Line by Pinup Girl Clothing line might be your speed.

They have dresses and skirts in their monster print and they are available in regular and plus sizes.

7) If you just want a subtle vintage Halloween touch to your outfit then you might consider a Victorian mourning brooch.  These brooches where often worn by the relatives in mourning and included photos and some times locks of the departed's hair.  Since many where made there are quite a few available on Etsy and Ebay and they range widely price.  The Etsy shop Victorian Sentiments
carries a few, including this pretty Amethyst one.

Now mourning brooches, particularly those with hair, are decidedly creepy, although interesting, and definitely not for everyone. Personally I've seen too many episodes of he TV show Supernatural to want to walk around with a lock of a dead Victorian's hair pinned to me.  However, if your brave, and just want a small touch of vintage Halloween they might make a good choice.


  1. Love them all! Especially that fab black cat paper dress. And the dogs in costume, of course!

  2. The nurse's cape and poodle skirts appeal to me. Honestly I don't like dressing up and don't really care about Halloween now that the kids are grown up. I used to make their costumes each year and we had some fantastic ones if I do say so myself. However I still like giving candy to the trick or treaters. Paper costumes were new to me - haha think of the money I could have saved over the years :D

  3. So they have poodle skirts but what about WFT skirts?
    Toodle pip!

  4. We never really thought of vintage Halloween. It's pretty cool
    Lily & Edward

  5. Cool drool. We love seeing your babies all dressed cute! My momma had a paper angel dress her momma made her one Halloween, it was beautiful but ripped pretty fast.
    stella rose

  6. Oh I love that red skirt with poodles! Stunning color and very pretty design!
    Dressing as Amelia Earhart would be so much fun with the cute co-pilot :-)

  7. So many great ideas!! I think a collaboration of a costume for you and the Pugs should be in the works!

  8. Mom used to dress up every year for work. But no one else does anymore, and some of her costumes were uncomfortable to be in all day BOL
    Mr Bailey & Hazel

  9. Crepe costumes might be a problem if there was drink involved!

    Maybe you could show up in some modern gear as your costume....

    SHE remembers the poodle skirts ALTHOUGH it was an older sister who actually had one.

  10. Those are some great ideas for sure. Sometimes I look at myself in a mirror and realize other people must think I'm in costume--but to me I look normal! Others may say "vintage" or "dated"; I say "timeless" :)

  11. Thanks got you on for Sunday.
    Best wishes Molly


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