Sept. 26, 2015
What are you going to be this year?
Don’t feel you have to settle on just one choice, but you’d better get a move on. Time is running out, and as a public-spirited Las Crucen, you have a lot of dressing up to do.
Your costume inspirations might be guided by four crucial choices here in the Mesilla Valley: Occasion. Occasion. Occasion. Occasion.
Actually, if you add in private parties, school and church gatherings, comics conventions, mazes and fun houses, there are even more.
But the big four here continue to be, in order of their appearance, the Zombie Walk Oct. 24, Halloween on Oct. 31, Dia de los Muertos celebrations Oct. 31 through Nov. 2 in Mesilla and the Dona Ana Arts Council’s Renaissance ArtsFair Nov. 7 and 8.
All those cosplay ops may have their own devoted followers, but you’ll be welcome at any or all events.
Especially if you’ve dressed for the occasion.
Some of our favorite local costume emporiums, like the Gen! and La Vieja, may no longer be with us, but with all the theater groups and talented artists in town, there are a lot of rich resources and creativity to draw upon.
And I’ve discovered the commercial permanent and pop-up costume stores are catering more and more to local tastes. I found separate Dia de los Muertos boutiques within ABC Party World and Spirit Halloween this year, for instance, and many of the superstores seem more attuned to our desire for fetching Renaissance and zombie ensembles.
For the last couple of decades, even when we had just two big costume occasions, RenFaire and Halloween, I’ve been in quest of the perfect universal costume for our FTFCS (Full-Tilt Fiesta Costume Season).
For a while, I thought I’d hit on the perfect costume with an epoch-ambivalent long gown with angel wings.
It worked quite nicely for three out of four of our big costume fiestas.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, costume aficionados: Angels are always welcome.
On Halloween, it always felt right to be an angel, whether I was handing out treats at my front door, or journeying off to a special party. (Angelic traveling tip: don’t put on your wings until you arrive at your destination, especially if you’re driving.)
If I added a Renaissance motif or two, some period trim and maybe draped the halo with a flower garland, my angel outfit always seemed suitable for RenFaire strolls around Young Park. And certainly, with or without a Calavera mask or face-painting, it always felt appropriate to be an angel at Dia de los Muertos events, whether I was strolling the Mesilla Plaza, inspecting altars, or joining in the twilight cemetery processions. (The procession is on Nov. 2. Don’t forget your marigolds and noisemakers.) I always felt I was performing a public service, in fact, for kids or newcomers braving what might be their first experiences with all those merry but potentially scary skeletons.
Yet somehow, I could never figure out how to make an angel work for the Zombie Walk. I suppose I could have torn, singed and bloodied the wings and gown. And lurched with the crowd, calling for brains.
But an angel is an angel and a zombie is a zombie. Angels fly, float, play harps and sing and act, well, angelically. Lurching is simply not an angel thing.
Let me know if you’ve come up with the universal, perfect costume for our FTFCS (Full-Tilt Fiesta Costume Season).
In the meantime, get out there and get ready. And don’t get daunted if seems like all the good costumes – or the costumes of your dreams - have been taken.
Inspiration is everywhere, and if you don’t feel your first FTFCS outfit is all you’d hoped, you’ll have several more chances to get it just right, assuming that’s your goal.
But for most of us, especially kids of all ages, it’s all about the adventure of trying on a new identity for an hour or a day, having an adventure and a good time.