Saturday, October 25, 2014

Halloween Costumes for Retirees recently featured a post on Halloween costumes based on pop culture. The same day their home page quoted blogger PJ Gach: “Jumpsuits were made by the devil with the sole purpose of not letting women pee.” The confluence of these ideas made me realize that retirees need guidelines for choosing Halloween attire. Here they are, along with some accessories ideas, just in time for you to adjust the getup you’ve planned for this year’s trick-or-treating.

The first guideline is that, unlike jumpsuits, your costume must let you pee. One way an outfit can accommodate this is to enable you to get in and out of it easily. Look for lots of Velcro, like a straight jacket. Or something loose and flowy on the bottom, like a fortune teller’s caftan. Another way is to have some highly absorbent material built in, like SpongeBob SquarePants with pants made of actual sponges.

Another important guideline is to wear comfortable, flat footwear. Running shoes or slippers are best, so choose attire that makes sense with those. You can just wear a polyester jogging suit or your ratty old bathrobe. Easy peasy.

A simple and cheap costume for a retiree is an alarm clock. It’s a great way to remind your friends who are still working that you get to sleep in. Mark the clock face “alarm” and set the time to 10 am. On your back, wear an empty cardboard box marked “battery compartment.” Leave it open, showing just the space with the plus and minus signs for two AAs. Not only can you sleep in, you don’t even need a functioning alarm clock.

If you’ll be taking your grandchildren trick-or-treating at night, you’ll want special accessories to keep you safe. Night vision goggles or extra large eyeglasses are a must, which makes a Ghost Buster costume a great choice. A high-powered lantern is also important—one with 360 degree coverage. You can affix it to a hard hat and go as a coal miner. Or mount the lantern in a red wagon, plop in your grandchild costumed as a Dalmation puppy, and dress as Cruella de Vil.

Another option for nighttime protection is the Badass Biker outfit. Start with some hideous false teeth. Then get a heavy chain belt (made from a real chain from a hardware store). Buy a beat up moto jacket (short for motorcycle—I’m so cool) at Savers. Top it off with a generous application of yellow and black police crime scene tape. This should scare off potential muggers along your trick-or-treating route.

Not going outdoors for Halloween? If house parties are more your style, you’ll have a wider range of options. Forget about anything from the movie Frozen. We’re way too old for that. We can, however, go as a modified version of the Ice Bucket Challenge. Begin with a clear plastic shower curtain liner worn as a poncho. Add a standard bucket, but fill it with acrylic cubes. The last thing you need is someone pouring ice cold water on you. Unless you’re wearing SpongeBob panties.

For a trendy but affordable costume, create an enormous version of Pharrell Williams’ hat. Use one of those huge brown paper bags—the ones you stuff leaves into. Cut openings for your eyes, nose and mouth. Also armholes. Then attach a roll of corrugated paper around the opening at knee level to make a narrow brim. You might want to visit Pharrell’s hat on Facebook to be sure you have the proportions right. Yes, his hat has it’s own FB page.

Those who are tired of the alarmist responses to the Ebola scare can make a political statement by going as Chicken Little. Take a large bag of poly fluff (the stuffing in throw pillows, aka toss pillows in New England) and glue clumps of it to an old jogging suit. Intersperse these with pieces of blue construction paper, cut into random shapes. As you wander around the Halloween party, shout: “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” as you look up toward the ceiling. Enough said.

Here’s a fun idea that retirees can appreciate. Pick up an inexpensive set of doctor’s scrubs and dye them orange. Then get a bottle of dark blue ink at an art shop and pour generous amounts on the scrubs at the elbow, upper arms and thigh areas. When guests ask, tell them you’re dressed as “Orange Is the New Black and Blue.” Or maybe: “Black and Blue Is the New Orange.” Whatever.

As you can see, there are many low-cost and easy-to-create Halloween costumes that make sense for retirees this year. I hope you have fun putting them together, and even more fun wearing them. Be sure to post pictures on your Facebook page.

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