What (Not) to Wear

dia-de-los-muertos-mexican-make-up-13It is the year for many of my friends (and, sadly, me also) to turn a significant age with a zero on the end. My birthday isn’t until a little later in the year so I have time to consider how I will celebrate, or not.

But the first of the costume party invitations has crossed my path and I’m considering, for once, going all out.

The theme is Day of the Dead, and our hostess sent us pictures of the kinds of looks that would be in keeping with the theme. 

I happen to know someone who is pursuing a career in film and television makeup, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to ask her to put her talents to use on me. Can you imagine me in a get-up like that? Keep an eye out on Facebook. I’ll post the photos. Even better, Husband says he will get made up too.

Now, every year for the cocktail party at the Romance Writers of Australia conference, there is a theme and every year, dressing up seems to be the last thing on my mind when I’m going to a writers’ conference. I’m there to connect with readers, to learn something from the wonderful presenters, to see my friends, to chat with my editor and others about the business of writing. I never remember the costume.

Last year, I made a small effort. The theme was the ocean so I threw on an pale grey silk shirt and some pearls and called myself an oyster. It was pretty subtle. In fact, the only people who knew I was in costume were the people I told!

In the heady days of my youth, I’ve dressed up as a flapper, in a Priscilla Queen of the Desert theme, an Austin Powers go-go dancer, I’ve worn a sheet to toga parties, Carnivale masks, thongs and a flanno to bogan parties, and put on a Morticia wig and white makeup for Halloween. I’m looking forward to slipping back into that craziness, if only for an evening.

So what about you? Do you like dressing up in costume? What’s the most memorable costume party you attended? If you came to a party as your favourite book character, who would that be, and what would you wear?



  • Jane says:

    Hello Christina,
    I hate dressing up in costume. I don’t even dress up for Halloween unless I’m going to a party. One of my best was my fallen angel costume. I love Hercule Poirot, so I guess I’ll dress up in nice 3 piece suit with a waxed mustache.

    • Jane, congrats on the rooster!

      I know, I’m not usually one for dressing up, these days but for once, I’m looking forward to it.

      Love the idea of Hercule! I went to a Christie play, A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED recently and one of the audience members was dressed up as Poirot. He had a red brocade smoking jacket and everything.

  • Helen says:


    I love seeing people dressed up for costume parties and I have been to a couple of the RWA ones and all I can say is wow on the imaginations of Authors and their costumes I loved them but I did not dress up I just admired LOL I really don’t have much of an imagination for this kind of thing so I leave it to everyone else and just keep smiling at them.

    Have Fun

  • Christina, that sounds like huge fun. I look forward to the photos! Laughing at you being a subtle oyster. I suppose that’s the essence of an oyster, it stays in its shell – although it also produces beautiful pearls so it’s worth hunting down! Hmm, not sure about the metaphor!

    I used to love dressing up when I was a kid but these days, it just seems to be an extra layer of something to think about when I’ve already got so much to think about. And don’t I feel old when I say that?

    Looking forward to celebrating your 20th birthday!

    • Snork! 20th? I wish!

      Thank you for the compliment about the oyster–I think!

      And yes, I agree, there’s so much else to think about when going to a conference, particularly this year as I’m giving a workshop.

  • Amy Conley says:

    I have NEVER been to a costume party. I don’t what I might go as even. Of course it would depend on the theme. I LOVE the picture from the “Day of the Dead”. It looks like something I would do.

    • Amy, you should try dressing up. It really is very liberating in a way. I think another reason I don’t often do it at conference is that I like to be professional at conferences. Except when I’m on the dance floor, of course!

  • Shannon says:

    My favorite costume was an alien on a visit, not a conquest. I made a blue iridescent gown with silver trim and found a wig the was tie dye colored, I put on blue face paint with silver eye shadow.

    Since then, I haven’t had the time or inclination to come up with a big costume. I use my abaya from Saudi Arabia and witches hat for a witch on Halloween. Not very creative.

    I look forward to the pictures!

    • Shannon, I love the sound of the alien on a visit!

      Actually, I usually find that going to a lot of trouble is a big part of the party fun, but if I didn’t know someone who does film and TV makeup, I would not be doing the whole face thing. I am definitely not talented in that way.

  • Mozette says:

    Man… I’ve been to costume parties… plenty of them… and I love them!

    I once went to a costume party as a journalist… I had newspaper clippings pinned to my jacket and looked like I was out for a story. 😛

    Then, I went to a French Party where I went as a French Maid… oh la la! 😉

    Mum and Dad went to a ‘P’ party… these parties are fun – the ones where you go as something starting with a letter… Mum went as a Prostitute and Dad went as a Pimp… and they looked great!

    More recently, I went to a birthday party dressed as my hero…. that was Dr Who… so I grabbed a cool jacket, tied a key around my neck, grabbed my Sonic Screwdriver and Invisible Papers (yes I actually have these two things) and walked around the party demanding … to see the galactic superior of this supposed gathering where everything and everyone isn’t who they say they are, and yet, they are in the place they are supposed to be…. but wait, sir! Why do you look like her? What? You can’t be her… you are saying your Mother is your hero? Well…. (I pull out the Sonic Screwdriver push the button to make it go all buzzy and run it up and down my brother the birthday boy)… I suppose that could be right, but then, it could be wrong too…. what? Where’s the Tardis? Well, it’s recharging at the park down the road… it’s not visible… it’ll come the find me once it is.’ I went on like this all night…. it was exhausting to be The Doctor… i never want to go as him again! o.O

    • Haha, Mozette, that’s hilarious! I know we have one RWA member who goes as Charlie Chaplin and stays in character–which is to be entirely silent the whole time!

  • Cassondra says:

    I think it’s age, Christina. I used to love love LOVE dressing up, and wished more people would do so. Around here, you have to use some kind of serious threatening to get people out and into costume if they’re over age 12. That’s a loss I think. Maybe in bigger cities this happens more.

    Steve and I once dressed up as black cats for a party and that was fun. I made a long tail for each of us and we wore cute fuzzy ears. Did the face paint, the whole shebang.

    When I go to a reader conference where there’s a costume party I always have trouble. Mostly because if I’m flying there, I have to come up with a way to schlepp the costume across the country, then back home. I’m amazed at some of the costumes I see at those. I wonder, “how did they get those wings from Seattle to Florida intact!

    • “how did they get those wings from Seattle to Florida intact!”

      LOL, Cassondra. I hear you on that. I know someone who schlepped an entire Queen of England Jubilee costume with the poofy silver-white dress, wig, tiara and everything on the plane — she paid a fortune in excess baggage. She also won the prize.

      Love the idea of you in a catsuit. With your figure, it would look fantastic!

  • catslady says:

    I’ve dressed up for Halloween as a witch many times (had the right hair lol). But my most memorable party was when I dressed in my husband’s Sea Bee uniform and he dressed as me – was hilarious. He wore a skirt and fishnet stockings and had a wig and I did his make-up.

    • Too funny, Catslady! My husband had a ‘Back to School’ theme at his work once and went in my old school uniform. We had to buy it for him second hand as he couldn’t fit into mine (I’m happy to say!) Hilarious!

  • Alyn says:

    I never liked wearing costumes. It required dressing up! And yes, I am that lazy. I went to a costume party once as myself. I know, boring. I’ve been a clown a few times when I was younger but that was the only costume we had that fit me. If I could, I’d dress up in a knight’s armor, minus the helmet! Some of my favorite characters from books are female knights.