Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

October 13, 2009

Halloween Ho! (Not.)

It’s that time again. Halloween, when everything comes out of the shadows — ghouls, ghosts, goblins — with narry a plus-size costume in sight that doesn’t involve bare cleavage and thighs.

Francesca does not wish to use this space to bemoan the days of yore, before Halloween became synonymous with slutty costuming. All she will say is that, in her own circles, people win more points for creativity than for T and A, and she wouldn’t be surprised if that is true for most of you, too, oh ye women of taste and class. That’s all she will say.

So, how to go about creating or buying the superfantastic costume?

Search Your Closet. You probably already have the makings of a costume. Want to be Batgirl? Pull on black pants, knee-high boots, and a close-fitting black top, and make a yellow bat to pin to your chest out of satin or even construction paper. Now all you need is a cape and an eyemask and you are done. Vamp up your makeup to complete the look.  Francesca’s best costume ever involved a fedora, wig, sunglasses and trench coat; the trench coat had a Letter O pinned to the inside, which she offered to sell to people (in yet another Sesame Street reference); watches would have worked, too.

Buy a full costume. There are modest ones to be had, if you search hard enough. Buy early because modest, plus-size costumes sell out quickly. Try One Stop PlusPlus Size Costume Super Center, Plus Size Costume Fashions, Anytime Costumes, Annie’s Costumes, Halloween Adventure (keep scrolling), and Costume Craze.

If you are Apple-shaped, look for costumes that evoke styles of the Middle Ages or Renaissance, such as this Queen Elizabeth dress or this Tavern Wench costume.

Buy Pieces of a Costume. If you cannot afford a full costume, or cannot find one that suits you, another option is to buy pieces separately to mix and match. Francesca, for example, has purchased a witch hat, wig, cape, false eyelashes — all in blue jewel tones —  and witchlike shoe covers, and will do up her makeup with lots of blue glitter. Who cares what she calls it, she loves blue.

Dorothy Ruby Slippers available at One Stop Plus and other vendors

Dorothy Ruby Slippers available at One Stop Plus and other vendors

Here, Francesca urges you to patronize those vendors who  serve the plus-size population year-round: Plus Sized Halloween Costumes is selling Halloween wings, tiaras, masks, fishnets, makeup, etc. , and One Stop Plus, in addition to full costumes, has wigs, Halloween purses, etc. (Francesca loves the Coffin Clutch)

Sew Your Own or hire a seamstress. Francesca still remembers 7th grade, when Rachelle Lamberte came to our costume party dressed as a perfect replica of Disney’s Snow White, wearing a dress her mother had hand-made for her, complete with the stiff white collar behind her head and the red headband with the bow.  The costume was memorable partly because Rachelle had the exact perfect hair — not a wig, her own, real hairstyle — to go with it, and a perfect figure, and a mother who went to the trouble of making that for her, and the rest of us realized that we could never, ever compete.  Indeed, the next year Rachelle embarked on a romantic relationship with a hot 10th-grader, who delivered flowers to her at her locker once a week. In the contest of life, Rachelle Lamberte was the clear winner . . . until Adrienne Chevalier’s chest, along with Adrienne,  transferred to our school and Rachelle sort of faded into the background.

::blink blink::

Oh, I’m sorry. Francesca got carried away. Ahem. The point is, a costume sewn just for you will be memorable.

One more point:

Don’t mock existing populations of people with your costume. It is one thing to wear old-time styles such as poodle skirts or hoop skirts or tie-dyes, or to dress as aspirational professions such as astronauts, doctors, or firepeople. It is another thing to mock ethnic or religious populations. Rule of thumb: how would someone who actually has that identity feel if you walked by them on the street?

If you think it is all in good fun and Francesca should relax, take a look at this costume and imagine how you would feel if this showed up at your Halloween party. See what I mean? (Thanks, Leah G, for the link.)

Finally, an invitation:

Send us pictures of you in your Halloween costume, for us to post! Send them to


  1. Hey, you might want to mention There’s costumes for mostly every person, from sexy to modest.

    Comment by Jennifer — October 13, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

  2. Great ideas, thanks Francesca!

    Comment by Abbe — October 13, 2009 @ 3:26 pm

  3. I’m going as Ursula from The Little Mermaid — black dress is already in wardrobe, purple body paint and white wig are being purchased, wild makeup to be applied by my fabulous roommate, whose idea it was.

    Comment by Jane — October 13, 2009 @ 5:35 pm

  4. Last year I was Cruella DeVil (from 101 Dalmatians). I have a black trenchcoat with white polka dots, and combined that with a black sheath dress, fishnets, and black and white pumps. All I had to purchase was a wig (I bought a black wig, and sprayed half of it with white hair color), an zebra patterned stretch belt, and a fabulous black feathered hair clip.

    I haven’t decided what I might be this year, but now I have some great starting ideas for a look.

    Comment by Grace — October 14, 2009 @ 10:44 am

  5. Professor Minerva McGonagall: emerald green graduation gown over a tweed suit and plaid blouse, cat earrings, witch hat, wand.

    Cowardly Lion: Headband with ears from zoo gift shop, Irish dance wig (volumilous and curly), beige turtleneck and pants, braided yarn tail sewn to seat of pants, medal.

    Tooth Fairy: Dental hygienist scrubs, wings, crown decorated with a cutout paper tooth.

    Comment by Aimiliona — October 14, 2009 @ 2:11 pm

  6. Last year I was Suzy Homemaker–basically any dress with a circle skirt plus an apron and heels, I think these ones from Boojiboo ( add particularly to the effect, but of course I am biased because that is the apron I use all the time.

    The year before I had to work and didn’t have much time to prepare, so I was “party cloudy with a chance of showers” and basically had this blue shirt and headband with cotton balls on it (I used Elmer’s glue so I could wash it off and recover the shirt) and a squirt bottle for the showers.

    My friend Jess is going as Wanda, Waldo’s girlfriend from “Where’s Waldo”

    I have two friends who are still RAs in college that got stuck on duty this year, and they’re going as gumshoe detectives, which is mostly all about the trenchcoats.

    One year I was a kindergarten superhero, which mostly consisted of crazy patterned tights, bright-colored shorts and t-shirt, paper super-logo pinned to my chest, towel cape, and pigtails.

    Kermit the frog was another cute, easy and cheap costume I saw last year–basically wear all green and find yourself a green baseball cap and glue some googly eyes on it. Extra points for carrying a ukelele or writing “it’s not easy being green” on your shirt.

    Comment by Leah — October 14, 2009 @ 2:29 pm

  7. I wore a blue dress with a Q-tip pinned to the shoulder during the Clinton-Monica debacle. Yes, I was a White House intern.

    I wore a bridesmaid’s dress a few years ago, telling people that see! I DID wear it again.

    Comment by class factotum — October 14, 2009 @ 4:08 pm

  8. I worked at a hotel a few years ago, and I had to talk our receptionist out of dressing as a “Mexican Peasant” for Halloween.

    Comment by Rachel of Cyberia — October 14, 2009 @ 10:37 pm

  9. A few years ago I needed a last minute costume so I went as a Trophy Wife. Long ash-blonde wig, big lips. big sunglasses, big boobs, tight jacket, jeans, high heels, big handbag, bling.
    Of course, this being LA, the irony was lost.

    Comment by missm — October 16, 2009 @ 1:24 pm

  10. I saw a group costume a few years ago that was brilliant in its simplicity, and didn’t require slutwear: there was a guy with a bull’s head, and a bunch of people in white shirts, white pants, wearing red neckerchiefs and red sashes.

    Et voila! The running of the bulls in Pamplona!

    Comment by zuzu — October 18, 2009 @ 10:34 am

  11. proffesional service is a must

    Comment by Kendall Macdougall — August 9, 2010 @ 2:15 am

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