Halloweird: One Girl's Ongoing Quest For Creative CostumesDana Krangel

A good spy never gets caught.

There are two kinds of parents. The kind that will buy their kid any Halloween costume they want off the shelf and the kind that absolutely refuse to and opt to go the homemade route. Both have their pros and cons, both lead to glorious pillow cases full of Snickers and Starbursts. But only one means a higher probability of an entire life of creative, original costumes and a sense of personal accomplishment.

If you think Halloween is an excuse to dress up as a sexy hippie/devil/Albert Einstein, then this post is not for you. If instead, you see Halloween as a time to get your creative on, please continue.

My mom subscribed to the ‘make a costume with what we have’ philosophy– the same mother who would

I got to wear pajamas to school!

I got to wear pajamas to school!

later draw a goatee on my face when I insisted on being Fred Durst in 8th grade (come on, act like you didn’t have a Limp Bizkit phase). This forced practice of originality stuck with me and has led to some pretty weird costumes. But hey, at least they were my weird costumes and not just a purchase at Target away.

My costume flow really hit in middle school. By 9th grade, Limp Bizkit were so last year and I thought to myself “Self, how can I wear pajamas for an entire day?” Answer: Be a ‘Morning Person’ for Halloween.

By this point, I caught the costume bug and have been attempting to one up myself every year. Some costumes are simpler than others. Like the time I spray painted a cereal box black, attached it to the back of my shirt and went as a ‘refrigerator magnet’. Or the time I made a “Go Ceilings!” shirt and went as a ‘ceiling fan’.

Some costumes were a little more outside the box like two years ago when I decided to be Cash Cab. I wore all black and yellow and ran around asking people trivia questions all night with the occasional “Red light challengeeeee” chant.

Instant classic.

Instant classic.

But one costume has risen above them all. I have forever been immortalized on the internet as the Gum on the Bottom of a Shoe girl. Draping myself in bubble gum pink and attaching a shoe to my hood (by way of drilling holes through the shoe and sweater and tying them together) has turned out to by one of my smartest decisions to date. The costume not only oozes cleverness but apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought so. In the years since originally rocking this costume in 2006, Gum on the Bottom of a Shoe has been featured on WTFcostumes.com, the Huffington Post and even a little website called HelloGiggles.

A good spy never gets caught.

A good spy never gets caught.

Last year, I paid homage to one of my favorite childhood characters and knocked my Harriet the Spy costume so far out of the park that even Michelle Trachtenberg gave her stamp of approval via Twitter.. As part of a lifelong journey of being ‘that girl’ at the Halloween party, I continue to look past the Mario and Luigis of the world to create something completely my own. As for this year’s costume creation, I am not ready to reveal it to the masses quite yet. But I can say it is pop culture nerdiness at its finest and the most difficult part will be finding a snow shovel in South Florida.

As another Halloween draws near, we all start to get nostalgic about costumes past and nervous about how this year’s creation will measure up. While we all get prepped for another ‘what are you going to be?’ conversation, we want to know: What was your most original Halloween costume? Show off in the comments!

Images via Krangelstock

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  1. I wish I could think of fun and clever ideas like these! I usually go with whatever thing I’m obsessing over at the moment. This year I’ll be Amy Pond and my boyfriend will be Eleven ^_^ Not original, but I’ll still enjoy it!

  2. One year, I went as “not ready yet” and had half my body in pajamas, half in day clothes, and did half of my face in make up and half of my hair done. I even had a slipper on one foot.

  3. I made a fairly elaborate evening gown out of newspaper and went as the evening news one year. It was a little too high concept for most folks (uh, paper bag princess?), but I thought I was hilarious.

  4. I really want to be “the other mother” from Coraline, but afraid people will think I’m a freak with buttons stuck to my eyes with sticky strips.

  5. My friend Keri is the best though. She dressed in a tshirt with Ceilings written on it and a Go Ceilings headband. She was a Ceiling Fan.

  6. I thought I was pretty cool one year when I dressed as Abby from NCIS. I even bought a lab coat.
    My friend, also named Sarah, shows up at my party in the same costume. She didn’t even watch NCIS but people told her she reminded them of Abby so that’s what she went with.

  7. I went as “Road Kill”… basically a dead cat, and I stencil painted tyre prints painted across my stomach and tail.

  8. Slice of bread on my back, slice of bread on my front, wrapped some clingfilm round to hold in place and voila… I was a sandwich! :-P

  9. One year, I went as Balogna. The back was a large square piece of cardboard coloured yellow, and the front is a plastic circle with dark pink coloured felt underneath and a “label” that says “Fulla Balogna”. The expiry date on the upper corner (on the cardboard) said October 31st of that year.

  10. Of course your creative, your a “Dana”. We Dana are all very creative =)

  11. I grew up in Canada so my Halloween costumes had to fit over a snow suit. My three favourite were:

    1.) Tube of toothpaste (my mom sewed two bed sheets together and my sister, the artist, replicated the design of a Colgate toothpaste tube. I wore a red cap as the lid. It was amazing)
    2.) Floss (A large box painted white, same sister also replicated the design of real dental floss. Used a white shoe string as a piece of floss hanging out)

    I don’t know why I picked dental products. I must have been an ironic middle school kid. Only downside was that sometimes people would give me apples instead of candy!

    And last but not least…

    3.) The missing face on the milk carton (giant refrigerator box with top flaps glued together. Cut out square where my face would be and made two arm holes. Same artist sister replicated a real milk carton design, down to the nutritional information. This one was a winner)

    • This is crazy! I have never known anyone else who dressed as a tube of toothpaste for Halloween. In 4th grade, I was a tube of toothpaste and I went trick or treating with two friends who were dental floss and a toothbrush. My costume was made out of a shower curtain, and I wore a lampshade on my head.

  12. I once went as Snoopy as the World War I Flying Ace. I wore white sweatpants and a white hoodie with black felt spots glued onto the front and back and ears glued onto the hood, a red scarf, and an aviator cap with goggles on my forehead. I even painted my nose black, but I forgot the tail!

  13. I have had some pretty sweet costumes in my day but I honestly think my recent one with my corgi, Pancake, definitely is my favorite. We went as Mr. Frederickson and Russell from the movie UP to a local dog Halloween festival!

  14. I was once a chimney sweep in like 7th grade! It was priceless–and pretty spot-on, I must say! haha

  15. 9th grade: I was pants, created by making back and front posters and tying them over my shoulders. 10th: I was 2 peas in a pod with my best friend, painting our faces green and wearing half pea-pod headbands we had made. 11th: I was a special delivery, wearing over-sized cardboard boxes with holes cut for the arms and head. 12th: a Kodak moment–best friend and I dressed nice and continuously posed inside a giant frame we had made with cardboard.

  16. One time my friends and I dressed up as a living room. Two were the couches, one a floor lamp, one the coffee table and I was the TV. We went to a party and one of us would shout “To positions” and we would for the living room. Since I was the TV (basically inside a TV), I pretended to be an anchor or a actress all night. Dorky, but so much fun!

  17. One year I went as a tipped over bowl of spaghetti. I wore all red, glued brown Pom poms to my clothes, and threw a bunch of yellow yarn and a bowl on my head.

    Another year my boyfriend and I made an “Adventure Book”, made pilot helmets out of those winter hats with the ears and pool goggles, and went as Young Carl and Ellie from Up.

    Two years ago I went as big bird. I made a skirt out of yellow feathered boa, got orange legging and tied pink ribbon in various places on my legs, and then made big bird eyes and attached them to feathers and a headband

  18. I was a hugging booth once because I didn’t want to be a kissing booth. I spray painted a giant cardboard box, made a hole in the front, and called it good.

    I was also Flava Flav when that was popular.

  19. This year I am writing “Life” on a black shirt and giving random people lemons.

  20. A couple years ago, I got invited to a Halloween party with my friend. Since I’d never really celebrated, I didn’t have a costume. My friend had an old Snow White costume, so since everyone always says I look like Snow White when I have bangs (which I did at the time), I decided to rock it…as Zombie Snow White. I figured, she technically died…so why not just be undead instead of having a prince come save me? Instant hit. ;)