Happy All Hollow’s Eve! It used to be my favorite holiday, but that was before I worked three Halloweens in a Costume shop. Now I hate Halloween. I hate dressing up (as something other than myself – I often look weird, but never intentionally). The sight of grease paint brings back memories of standing at a counter and telling people we were out of cheap fake blood (because they waited ’till 6:30 pm on Halloween to buy it) and explaining I wasn’t trying to rip them off by pointing out the remaining expensive option. If you’ve studied fashion history and you’re anal-retentive about era costumes needing to look right (or anal-retentive in general) never work in a costume shop. Maid Marian would never have worn a 1970’s sack dress (the ones with a high waist line, usually made in shades of brown, trimmed with ribbons, with string lacing up the front and then tying at the back into a bow over a zipper), but try telling that to someone who thinks it makes a great Maid Marion costume.
The worst days were filled with people who didn’t know what they wanted to be for Halloween. After spending twenty or more minutes asking questions and offering a plethora of unique costume experiences (I’m an ideas person. Mention a problem and I’ll give you solutions whether you want them or not). Of course the customer would then decide to go as a native American Indian or a nun (if there were any nun costumes left). If I end up in Hell I’ll doubtless find myself in a vast costume shop where I’m working behind the counter. The ladders to reach the mask displays will be a mile high. I’ll be stuck wearing a badly fitting vomit-pink mini dress and all the male customers will want to try on the masks at the top…one after the other…to the sound of snorting laughter… (I try to be good!) [Read more…]