Unmasked: Our Favorite Halloween Costumes

Halloween is just days away and it’s one of our favorite holidays. Who doesn’t love free candy and getting the chance to be someone—or something—else for a day? To celebrate October 31, the Chicks are reliving our favorite Halloween costumes.

Ellen Byron


Lost in the mists of time is a torn, faded photo of me at about seven or eight in a pink satin gown and matching stole that my mother made so I could be a Pink Princess for Halloween. In the picture, my hair is pulled back into an unbelievably tight top bun,and I still remember how much that bun hurt. But I LOVED the costume and positively beam in the photo. To be honest, it breaks my heart a little that it’s  disappeared.

My passion for costumes also disappeared for a long time. In college, I once taped the word “Brillo” on a light blue leotard and went to a party as a Brillo pad – only to discover that Brillo pads are pink. I went to another party in my street clothes and told people I’d come as an Unemployed Actress. But when we had our daughter, I went all in on Halloween. Nothing was more fun than dressing her up and taking her out Trick or Treating. I just wish my mother had kept that wonderful costume she made me so that Eliza could also have experienced the joy of being a Pink Princess—minus the painful bun.

Marla Cooper

CotC Marla Cooper

When I was a kid, my mom dressed me as a gypsy pretty much every Halloween. She’d slap a peasant blouse on me, add a flowy skirt, a Stevie Nicks-style shawl, a mole drawn on my lip in eyeliner, and a couple of Mason jar rings substituting for hoop earrings. In other words, stuff she already had on hand. When I got older and was able to dress myself, I stuck to the theme of assembling costumes based on things I already owned—which is how I came up with my most inspired and esoteric last-minute Halloween costume to date: a Christmas tree. I already had green pants and a green sweatshirt, so I just raided the Christmas decorations for the rest. I wrapped myself in gold tinsel garland and then hung ornaments from it. If only I’d gone for the unbreakable kind. We took my friends’ kids trick-or-treating, and later they told me that if they didn’t know where I was, they’d just listen for the sound of ornaments shattering on the ground.

Lisa Q. Mathews

CotC Word balloons

Back in the eighties, I had the brilliant idea of dressing as Church Lady—you know, Dana Carvey’s “Isn’t that special?” character from SNL. I went all out—tweed skirt, gray curly wig, and the awesome touch of real orthopedic shoes I picked up that morning at a Brooklyn tag sale. I also carried a beat-up copy of the Bible. My date went as the spiky haired nerd Ed Grimley. The Halloween party we attended first went great—everyone wanted to dance with Church Lady, especially some guys dressed as devils and Jason. But afterward, when we all hit the Upper West Side bars, my costume may have been a little too realistic. Loneliest Halloween of my life—never again!

Kellye Garrett


A co-worker asked me the other day if I was dressing up for Halloween. My response: Hecks naw! I don’t know why I had such a strong reaction. You’d think I’d never dressed up in my life. This is not true. Like Marla, I’m an October baby. I don’t know if this happened with her but being born in October meant I had a lot of Halloween-themed birthday parties. A lot. Of course, that still didn’t stop me from dressing up in my 20s. I think my favorite costume—and probably the last time I dressed up—was when I was a ballot. It was literally right before the 2008 election, so it was timely. It was also cheap and relatively easy to make. All I needed as some poster board, a huge print out of a ballot and apparently a giant pencil and some stars. Voila!


Readers, drop us a note in the comments below! What was your favorite Halloween costume? Are you dressing up this year? 

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2 thoughts on “Unmasked: Our Favorite Halloween Costumes

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