My Halloween Costume: The Victory Lap

What does the Mona Lisa have in common with a drag queen? Read on to discover, friends!

I’ve been blogging off and on about the super-incredible costume I planned out for Halloween this year. Part of that writing dealt with my panic when time began running really short, and I wondered if I could actually pull this thing off in time for my school’s Halloween celebration yesterday.

I did it, folks. My house is a disaster, and I didn’t go to bed until well after one am on Friday morning, leaving me a whopping 4.5 hours sleep on which to cope with 950 amped-up candy-filled teenagers at school, but it’s all good. We won’t talk about the paint still stuck under my fingernails, or about the smudge of blue I’m trying to get off The Electrician’s big warm hoodie, because victory is mine.

Here’s the photo of my costume I took on Friday morning, with my phone, before loading it in the Element and buzzing off to school for a day of seasonal fun.


As we discussed before, I designed the costume and The Electrician did the building. It’s made out of 1/8″ hardboard and framed in super-cheapo composite baseboard. Go Home Depot! It’s amazing what can be done with a little lumber, no? In the photo, you can see the round hole for my face and some of my hair, and the elongated opening where my forearms stick through: I can either strike the classic Mona Lisa pose or hold a drink or snack in this costume. I cannot drive (clearly) or fit in a bathroom stall, so planning my travel and pit stops is critical to wearing this thing.

I didn’t actually start painting my costume until Thursday after school. The whole thing is done in regular artists’ quality acrylic paint, including the metallic stuff on the frame. Rather than mapping the piece out in pencil first, I just gooped some paint onto my foil-wrapped cookie sheet, and decided to go for broke: I’ve always painted that way. I was surprised by how long it took me to paint the actual painting; I anticipated 3-4 hours to get it all done, but I soon realized I’m painfully out of practice with a paintbrush and took nearly 6 hours to finish up. This is also the first time I’ve used my easel in the dollhouse, so it was a rather large project for my first undertaking in the house.

To “be” the Mona Lisa, I basically wear the costume like a remarkably bulky kitchen apron. There’s a curved padded strap, borrowed from my duffle bag, that rests across my shoulders and keeps my face in the right spot. Another strap, borrowed from The Electrician’s duffle bag, secures it snugly around my waist. Both straps hook up to some kind of bracket used to secure electricial conduit, hardware my sweetie has used many times, but never in the context of wearable “fine” art. The costume looks heavy, but it’s more awkward than anything else. I quickly got used to shuffling through doorways sideways like a sand crab, and didn’t get stuck anywhere.

The reactions were fantastic! Person after person asked me where I bought it, and many were shocked when I told them I made it myself. I also did my makeup to match the original painting so I looked like the Mona Lisa as much as possible. I’m attending a live theatre event tonight where a costume contest is part of the fun, so I’ll hopefully be even more successful in painting my face than I was for school yesterday.

Are you still wondering what the Mona Lisa has in common with a drag queen? Neither has any real eyebrows. I was worried about that part of the makeup, because quite frankly, if I’m going to go to the trouble of painting a parody of the most famous painting on the planet, I’m going to complete the look. I wondered briefly if the only solution would be to Bic mine right off, but I’m not that dedicated to Halloweeny excellence.

Enter YouTube! I watched a couple of videos, including this really clear demonstration, and learned how to hide my eyebrows with a gluestick and gobs of patience. Yes, gluestick. Long thought of as the staple of kindergartners’ creative genius, companion of wax Crayolas and the classic blunt-tipped safety scissor, glue stick was the answer to my eyebrow challenge. I was just as astounded by this revelation as all you folks at home are right now.

Yesterday, I think I was a little light-handed with the Elmers gluestick. It was glue, it was blue, and I was smearing it on my face for crying out loud! As a result, while I was able to fade my eyebrows out significantly, there was still enough hair texture exposed that I couldn’t cover them completely. For the contest tonight, I will be gooping the gluestick on more heavily, and hopefully will be bald-faced for the show. I’m also going to allow even more time than I did Friday morning, and I will hopefully be able to contour my face even more successfully that I did for school to complete my renaissance look.

I’ll try to snag a photo of me wearing my costume tonight. The photos from yesterday are shot under florescent school lights, and the lights washed me out badly; I’ll aim to reveal the whole picture (pun definitely intended) in a future post.

Whatever you’re doing for Halloween, have fun, be safe and eat chocolate. Emphasis on the last point.

Happy haunting!

copyright 2011:

2 Comments Add yours

  1. What a really creative costume! I am totally impressed, and completely ashamed of my one homemade costume – a cardboard Christmas tree I made when I was about 8. It did win a prize, though.

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