Last-Minute Halloween Ideas Inspired by TV’s Toughest Women
I'm a pretty modest dresser for the most part. While I favor the chic or trendy I reserve the sizzle (and jiggle) for special occasions and worthy audiences. And I’m guessing that’s part of a similar reasoning behind the very exposed Halloween costumes that seem most popular these days. The notion that as a society we can be very buttoned up indeed, but come All Hallows Eve, we’re ready to let it all hang out. Which leads me to my big question — when did skimpy replace spooky? On a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel, Melissa McCarthy talked about attending an event at singer Adam Levine’s house (she claimed she received a “pity invitation”) where she dressed up as her Midwestern aunt only to notice that all the female party attendees were wearing variations of bikinis. “Every single woman in a different bikini,” McCarthy told Kimmel. “It was like, ‘What are you?’ ‘I’m a cave girl’ — fur bikini. ‘I’m a medic’ — just two crosses and a stethoscope around her waist.”
Halloween still seems to be the day when many women seem to try to wear as little as possible. And somehow it doesn’t feel that sexy anymore.
Dr. Angela Corbo, who teaches in the Gender and Women’s Studies Program at Widener University, says “while some of this can be innocent and fun, the word “sexy” is often interchanged for the “sl*t” word.” (asterisk is all hers). Dora Lau a plus size lingerie designer and CEO of Curvy Couture said “Dressing up in a sexy way on Halloween is fun,” but she also firmly believes that “Women should also feel confident and sexy everyday by embracing their curves and feeling sexy for themselves, not only for someone else. They say confidence is the sexiest thing a woman can wear!” True. But as Corbo reminds us, most of these costumes are available in smaller sizes “ The expectation for thin, fit, and tan perfect bodies are reinforced in our culture where many already have a skewed perception of body image and self-worth.”
Some days are all about fun. And perhaps dressing up skimpily is your thing on Halloween, and if it is- I salute you. But if you’re looking for your own inspiration beyond the truncated and over exposed, may I present a short list of some of the more inspiring women on current TV programs? They’re always dressed to the nines and some are literally dressed to kill.
The Clone: I know you don’t want to dress like everyone else (hint: ditch the bikini as costume), but what if you looked just like everybody else? On Orphan Black, gifted actress Tatiana Maslany plays a host of women with identical faces and DNA, with completely different personalities, capabilities and true super powers. A lot like you or me, I suspect. And the best part is that you can dress up like a housewife, a corporate cog, a grifter or…Or any variation on strong women you already know and love.
The Zombie Killer: In just five short seasons, Carol Peletier from The Walking Dead has morphed from a meek abused wife and grieving mother, to a post-apocalyptic Rambo, saving lives and learning to live on her own. Eulyn Womble, the costume designer for The Walking Dead offered the easiest way to get your own Carol look this Halloween – simply smear your face with a mud mask of some sort (to mimic the look of zombie innards worn to repel said walking dead), wrap a blanket or poncho around yourself Clint Eastwood style and wear a pair of tough looking boots. Womble tells me that so popular and inspiring are Carol’s boots on the show have their own hashtag – #TeamCarolBoots.
The Fixer: Even Shonda Rhimes, the prolific producer and creator of Scandal, has been known to mock her most famous character Olivia Pope, DC fixer and fine wine devotee. But why not dress as Kerry Washington’s alter ego, who has shaken up the definition of both power and power dressing on nighttime TV? (albeit in a soapy sorta way). If you’re too lazy to create your own power wardrobe, clothing chain The Limited recently launched a Scandal collection in partnership with the show and costume designer Lyn Paolo. Just pair with your favorite oversize goblet of wine, some popcorn and the hot presidential partner of your choice and you’re good to go.
The Whore: Before you take me to task, please realize that it was inevitable that an actual prostitute might have to be included in the round up. But Eva Toole, on Hell On Wheels represents a different kind of economic power. There have been many scholarly publications declaring that prostitutes in the old west and specifically during the Gold Rush enjoyed a level of freedom and earning power unmatched globally. And in case you ever wondered, Eva’s chin tattoos are actually based on a real character. According to the Hell On Wheels website, Eva is in part inspired by Olive Oatman, a pioneer girl kidnapped and enslaved by the Yavapais tribe. Bonus points, all those gorgeous corsets, boots and full skirts are sexy and tell a tale. (See below for a makeup tutorial on how to achieve Eva’s facial tattoos from Mehron makeup artist Michela Wariebi:).
The Flapper: Phryne Fisher, the “Lady Detective” of the Miss Fisher Mysteries (available to stream on Acorn TV) is probably the best dressed woman on TV you’ve never heard of. With her sleek Lulu Brooks inspired black bob and clever cloches, she represents the best of pre-prohibition style. Even the women of Boardwalk Empire can’t compete with her “modern woman” wardrobe of trousers and shoes that are chic, but always made for both walking and sleuthing. (click for a tutorial on how to achieve your own Miss Fisher makeup look).
And you know, you don’t have to wait for Halloween to channel the most glamorous or badass women on TV. Alegria shoes began as a comfort brand for chefs and nurses and others who spend a lot of time on their feet. And I have to tell you, every single time I slip on my pair of Hazel shoes with a beaded t-strap, I feel like dancing, and I definitely have a Miss Fisher spring in my step.
So here’s the thing, whether you let loose once a year and let your inner Nicki Minaj out to play, or you choose it as a time to show the world that you really do fancy yourself a witch, it’s your choice. And in a world where retailers think that you just might be in the market for a sexy Ebola containment uniform costume (Could I make this up?) or an adult Rosie the Riveter costume, I hope that you prove them wrong.
Halloween makeup tips from Mehron makeup artist Michela Wariebi:
Eva – Hell on Wheels
Even out skin tone by applying Mehron HD Celebre Pro Foundation in a tone that most closely matches your natural skin tone. Create the illusion of a natural flush on the cheeks by tapping cheek cream in Pink Coral into the cheeks. Set the entire face with Mehron HD Celebre Pro Loose or Pressed Powder to set[Step 2] EYES
Use a fluffy brush to apply Natural Wheat eyeshadow from the E.Y.E Palette over the entire eyelid, blending towards the brow bone. Apply the same shadow directly under the lower lash line. Use the same brush to apply a bit of white to the middle of the eyelid. Line your upper lash line with the Mehron E.Y.E. Pencil in Chocolate. Smudge out line using Cinnamon from the E.Y.E. Palette. Apply Mascara.[Step 3] TATTOOS
Use a small detail brush, dip into water and then into the water-activated Paradise Makeup AQ in Black. Starting in the area directly under your lower lip, outline a thick vertical bar, approximately ¼ inch thick, between your lower lip and ending right after the curve of your chin. Fill in your outline. Draw two additional lines of the same size on each side of the initial line, leaving about ½ inch of space between each line. Continue to dip your brush into water to keep the Paradise Make AQ in its creamy water activated state. Set and intensify with the black shadow from the E.Y.E Palette.[Step 4] TATTOOS
Using the outside corners of your mouth as guides, draw two additional vertical lines, one on each side of your mouth, starting approximately ¼ inch away from each outside corner of your mouth. These two lines will end right after the curve of your jawline. Starting slightly lower than the top of each outer lines, draw triangular shapes on each line with the base attached to the outside of the line and the tops of the triangles pointing away from your mouth. Set and intensify with the black shadow from the E.Y.E Palette.[Step 5] MOUTH
Use the same Cheek cream used on the face, Pink Coral, and use your fingers to tap a bit of color on to the lips similar to the natural finish created on the cheeks.[Step 6]
Set with Barrier Spray to set and secure your makeup for the night.
Miss Fisher Makeup Tips:[Step 1]
Use Mehron Velvet Finish Primer to prep skin for the perfect smooth and silky finish that lasts all night. Even out skin tone using Mehron Celebre Pro HD Foundation in a tone closest to your natural skin tone. Contour the hollows of the cheeks, forehead and nose with another shade of foundation 2-3 shades deeper than your natural shade. Blend out lines. Set face with Celebre Pro HD Loose or Pressed Powder. Emphasize deeper contour areas with deeper shades of Pressed Powder.[Step 2]
Define your eye shape using a fluffy blending brush to apply Fawn from the E.Y.E. Palette into the outer corners of your eyes, blending into your natural crease. Apply Natural Wheat eyeshadow from the E.Y.E. Palette all over the eyelid, blending into the crease, creating a gradient. Tap Precious Gems powder in Citrine, only to the middle of your eyelid and a bit into the inner corners and slightly onto the inner corner of the lower lash line. [Step 3]
Use the E.Y.E. pencil in Dark Brown to line your entire upper lash line and the majority of your lower lash line, leaving the innermost part of the lower lash line unlined. Smudge out the Dark Brown liner with Espresso from the E.Y.E. Palette. Smudge a little black directly next to the lash line only on the outer corners of the eyes. Apply Mascara. [Step 4]
Add color to the cheeks using Contour from the Cheek Powder Palette followed by Tropicoral. Add a beautiful highlight to the cheekbones by applying Precious Gems Powder in Cintrine to the highest point of the cheekbones. [Step 5]
Line and then fill lips with Brick lip liner. Top with Lip Cream in Big Apple for the perfect classic red lip. [Step 6]
Spray and secure your makeup with Barrier Spray to ensure a flawless finish all night.
Rachel Weingarten is a noted and quoted style expert, personal brand consultant, and former makeup . She’s the author of three nonfiction books including Ancient Prayer, which was published on 9/22/14. Tweet with her @rachelcw or like her page on Facebook. Need help style-stalking your favorite look? Write to Rachel at email@example.com
Rachel's new book Ancient Prayer: Channeling Your Faith 365 Days of the Year is available exclusively at all Barnes and Noble stores nationwide and online at BN.com.