I always get a little nostalgic around Halloween.
Up until I was 30 years old, I worked in New York City making costumes for a living. So every year around this time, when I see everyone so excited about getting “dressed up” and getting their costumes together, it takes me back to the days when costuming was such a big part of my life. I would have been fired from so many movies and shows if they had known how often I “borrowed” costumes to wear out for a night on the town.
One thing New York and New Orleans have in common is that people love to get dressed up. Having access to Broadway and movie caliber costumes meant it was fairly easy for me to get into any club. Nobody held the rope up when you walked in wearing a set of 10-foot articulating angel wings (thanks Angels in America), or an anatomically correct, full body wolf costume with coordinating motorcycle cap and jacket (thanks Stephen Sondheim).
It was difficult to navigate the subway sometimes, or walk the street in 9-inch platform shoes, or to get a cab to stop when you were dressed as a Disney villain. I remember having to ride in the front seat of the cab one time while my friend Jacques had to lie down across the back seat because his wig was too tall. I sort of remember spending New Year’s Eve at the Roxy dressed as – well I am not actually sure what it was – but it was big and flashy and earned me a great place on the dance floor because it poked a lot of people when they got too close.
Making my way home at the end of the night was just about the only downside. Stepping out of an after hours club into 8am rush hour traffic on Sixth Avenue dressed as some 7-foot (including heels) incarnation of Madonna with a crooked wig and smeared makeup can be quite a jolt. My favorite thing about that – just like in New Orleans – was that no one thought a thing of it. Just another day in the Big Apple/Easy.