what do ladies in their 40s wear for Halloween?
September 23, 2017 7:27 AM   Subscribe

Help me figure out a costume for a rare night out!

Friends have invited the F&Ts to a Halloween party + "night out" in San Francisco. This was the sort of thing I might have turned down years ago because it's well out of my nerdy comfort zone, but now invitations for a night out are rare enough that I am leaping at it. These people do costumes. What do I wear??

- female
- c 40
- average height, ok hourglass figure
- some rudimentary sewing skills

The ideal thing would be easily recognizable, not hard or real expensive to put together (although I don't mind buying or sewing some things if it's within my skill level) and reasonably attractive. (This is for a night out in a big city and probably an upscale venue.) I don't care about it being funny or clever, although I guess if it's au courant it would help with recognizability. I'm not comfortable with "slut" outfits ("sexy nurse", "sexy vampire".)

It can be, but doesn't have to be, part of a couple's costume. My husband has his own thing he's doing this year but he'd do something with me if requested.

I can't with Pinterest. Please help me.
posted by fingersandtoes to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (22 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Welcome to Take Back Halloween, a costume guide for women that has four categories: Glamour Grrls, Goddesses and Legends, Notable Women, and Queens. They've got a diverse set of costume options, and even their sexy-woman costumes aren't "here's a half-yard of fabric arranged with some logos so you know whether this is a sexy nurse or sexy firefighter."

They're all designed to be done with zero sewing. That means they're mostly made from pre-existing pieces, and a lot of their suggestions are no longer sold (i.e. "three tiered green-and-pink skirt" for Mab is no longer available), but they're clear enough in descriptions to make substitutions easy.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 7:42 AM on September 23, 2017 [19 favorites]

Squirrel Girl? Looking at the cover from book 1, you'd need some brown clothes (a halter dress, a utility belt, furry ears, boots). Acorns are falling off trees all around me, so those would be free. I don't have any thoughts about how you would make that enormous tail, though.
posted by janepanic at 7:49 AM on September 23, 2017

You just buy a squirrel tail!
posted by amanda at 8:32 AM on September 23, 2017

You could also just to sparkle fancy - flapper girl, black magic, dress in rainbows and put a unicorn horn on your head....
posted by amanda at 8:36 AM on September 23, 2017

First thing that Guinness to mind is Velma from Scooby doo
posted by pyro979 at 8:37 AM on September 23, 2017

Add glittery devil horns to any glam dress. Doesn't have to be re, I did "blue devil" once.
posted by chapps at 8:39 AM on September 23, 2017

If you want to go for comfort (and layering ability, so you can adjust for weather), I like Hogwarts Student/Teacher. Robe, scarf, wand, you're done.

Depending on your level of curve, Torrid (size 14+) and/or Hot Topic (regular and plus) have costumes.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:52 AM on September 23, 2017

Yzma from Emperor's New Groove. Black dress, lots of purple feathers, blue earrings, light purple makeup, and amazing fake Halloweeny lashes.
posted by kimberussell at 8:55 AM on September 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Grey boiler suit with a collar, high black boots, simple purple sleeveless jacket thing (possible sewing project), and you'll have to make up the belt: General Organa
posted by quacks like a duck at 8:56 AM on September 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

Seconding the recommendation for Take Back Halloween. I was going to say the same thing. There are one or two where you would have to be explaining yourself all night (I get that they're also trying to offer costumes of people who were women who were role models, but seriously, no one would know who you were if you went with Lise Meitner), but most are cool and eye-catching enough that even if someone doesn't get that you're Grace Hopper specifically, they'd still be saying "wow, cool Air Force costume!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:35 AM on September 23, 2017

I'd do "suffragette." Long white skirt (or failing that, black), high-necked white blouse (the shirtwaist-ier the better), and a sash. On it, paint "VOTES FOR WOMEN."
posted by functionequalsform at 10:38 AM on September 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

I'm a believer that Halloween costumes should be scary or subversive in some way, otherwise it's just a costume party. So with that in mind: Evil Dorothy?

On preview, love the suffragist idea (though would not follow the scary/subversive rule on that one due to the prevalence of dudebros around my area /online who already think nothing of calling women "feminazis" for demanding equal pay, etc. Your audience demographics may vary.)
posted by basalganglia at 10:45 AM on September 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you're up for real sewing, Folkwear has a nice set of vintage patterns that work great for costuming. They're real clothing patterns, not quick-and-simple costumes, so not appropriate for most Halloween needs - they're a lot of work. But if you ever need a 20's style tango dress that's built for actual dancing instead of the seams ripping out the first time you twist the wrong way, now you know where to get it.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:27 AM on September 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

Wonder Woman
Melisandre or another character from Game of Thrones
Indiana Jones
Paddington Bear (coat, suitcase)
Butterfly (mostly just need wings)
posted by metasarah at 12:56 PM on September 23, 2017

My kids went as their favorite constellations last year -- wear all-black and poke LED earrings through in the pattern of the constellation. Cheap, easy, HUGE HIT. (You could also add some accessories, like if you went as Orion, carry a sword (with more stars in it!), or if you went as Cassiopeia wear a toga and a crown, or whatever.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:35 PM on September 23, 2017 [10 favorites]

I went to a costume party last year and the idea I was going for was 70's rocker. I ordered a couple of wigs and a bunch of dresses from Amazon and chose the one that I liked best and returned the rest. Because I was choosing my own outfit rather than a pre-assembled costume I was able to keep it reasonably PG.
posted by vignettist at 4:11 PM on September 23, 2017

I just the female ghostbuster reboot for a costumed thing. It's amazing what you can do with an old grey jumpsuit, and duct tape/sparkle tape. Took me about 20 minutes, and was comfy and instantly recognizable. But really, it's Halloween! You can do whatever you want, thats one of the beautiful things about Halloween! Just enjoy it.
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 4:40 PM on September 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

But really, it's Halloween! You can do whatever you want, thats one of the beautiful things about Halloween!

Omigod - you have just reminded me of one of the better "totally last minute thrown together" Halloween costumes I've seen (unfortunately belonging to a dick of an ex-boyfriend, but it was still clever). He was just pullilng random shit out of the closet trying to figure out what he could do, and discovered that he still had a) his graduation gown, and b) a rainbow clown wig. So: he put them both on, painted his nose red with some of my lipstick and said he was "The Supreme Court Jester".

Try mixing and matching some of your totally oddball "what the hell do I have this for" clothing items and see if that gives you any ideas.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:02 PM on September 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Go as your husband.
posted by hoodrich at 8:33 PM on September 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have always wanted to wear black pants, a vertically striped black and white shirt, dark glasses and a white cane.
posted by dbmcd at 9:24 PM on September 23, 2017

I mean, actual feminism is scary and subversive to these days, so why *not* go as a suffragette. Heck, go as a Pride parade, if it gets warm enough where you live.
posted by dialMforMara at 10:53 PM on September 23, 2017

NB my last comment was not meant as an insult to feminists or feminism. It sounds wrong because I'm sleep-deprived.
posted by dialMforMara at 11:01 PM on September 23, 2017

« Older Where's Barb??   |   A Squirrelly Conundrum Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.