When men were women, and women were scared
Being a vampire could save your life.
So goes one story of how Halloween costumes came about. Some Celts believed the dead came back to walk the earth on Halloween, looking to trap living souls into endless death. Apparently, there was nothing like a little blood and gore to throw a zombie off the scent.
In Vail, Halloween is a grand reason for a party. Word on the street is the holiday is a big favorite among locals. It’s all about playing dress up.
“If you ask me, this valley’s perfect for it,” said Carrie Hogan, owner of Avon Liquors. “It’s a good way to let loose before tourist season starts, and it’s all about imagination.”
She’s been Merlin six times in the past decade.
Will Craft of Avon always goes all out for Halloween, and doesn’t mind the consequences. He decided to be Woody Woodpecker last year, and tried to dye his hair red.
“It came out pink,” he said. “Masato told me to style it into a mohawk with egg whites, but I didn’t know you had to have a blow dryer to do that. So I had this sheet of eggy, pink hair.”
That wasn’t the worst year, though. There was the time he woke up without his costume – outside.
“This year, I’m going to be a bearded lady,” he said.
Many men in the valley have dressed as women for Oct. 31. It’s one of two days of the year – Mardi Gras being the other – when they’re allowed to get in touch with their inner female. Though it seems an easy costume, some men have found it more difficult than they expected.
“I was in the right state of mind in the wrong place,” said Brian Kruse. “In college I ate some mushrooms, then dressed up as a girl and went to a bar that wasn’t celebrating Halloween.”
He was too convincing as a woman, he said. Naturally, he tried to calm down by drinking copious amounts of alcohol. By the time he returned home, he couldn’t get the dress off fast enough. Last year he went as Party Boy from “Jackass.” He wore a thong and a bow tie under his jacket and breakaway pants.
“I don’t want to go nude this year,” he said.
Eagle-Vail resident James Bosme’s best costume was a tabletop, with his head as the entree of choice – complete with plastic grapes. According to his sister Jill, whom he spoke to via cell phone, his worst costume attempt was a green-faced ghost guy with a pumpkin.
“This year, I’m going to be something with an afro,” said the curly-haired man. “Maybe Fletch.”
Vail residents Danielle and Daniel Renner tied the knot last year on Halloween.
“We figured no matter what, we’d always have a fun time on our anniversary,” said Danielle.
Daniel opted to be Homer Simpson, beer gut and all, while Danielle went for an over-the-top multi-colored wig.
After they got married, the couple realized they had met on Halloween. She was a “messed up farmer clown” and he was a transvestite.
“I don’t know what that says about our relationship,” said Danielle.
Her grandfather used to make all of her costumes, including a lion, a hamburger and a lobster. But there was something extra special about the chicken.
“He made it so you could lay eggs,” she said. “There was a flap in the butt that opened, and you could pass an egg through it.”
“Before the war, a sheik was a good costume,” said Kirk Rosenvold of Vail. “You just grab a towel, a bandana and wear some shades.”
Samantha Wright, owner of The Trunk, the new bead and vintage clothing shop in Eagle-Vail, has been making custom costumes for years. Horror and gore, the ’70s and rockabilly top the popularity list for adults, while animal costumes are a big hit with the kids. She likes to make children’s costumes out of towels, including ladybugs, hippopotamuses and alligators, so they can use them again.
“Make sure your costume is comfortable, cool, and stay away from itchy fabrics,” said the experienced seamstress. “Make sure you have enough batteries if you’re supposed to light up, and don’t drink too much in a dangerous costume.”
Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 949-0555, ext. 618.