Halloween 2012: Moonrise Kingdom

Posted on
Nov 1, 2012

It’s November 1st, and like any forward-thinking lunatic, I’m contemplating next year’s Halloween costumes. I only have 364 days to go.

We take Halloween rather seriously in our house. My mother is to blame. I don’t quite know when she learned about the tradition of dressing up for the holiday (I seriously doubt it had been exported to Europe back in the late 70s, when my brother was wee, so it must have been after she moved to the states and I was born), but I can imagine her hearing the word “costume” and getting that charmingly crazy look on her face that I know too well.

And so, on one October that I was too small to remember, a brilliant madness began, and continued throughout my childhood. My mother would make elaborate costumes, and do my hair, and wonderful things like this would happen:

My brother and I, circa 1984.

As I got older, my enthusiasm for Halloween started to wane. I briefly became one of those gals who wore tight dresses and animal ears and declared myself a cat or a bat or something else equally unimaginative. I feel shame admitting it now, though I suspect that it’s a phase we all go through: we have to tell ourselves that we are above dressing up and pretending. That we’ve somehow outgrown eating candy we pilfered from strangers.

For a while, I lost the spirit of Halloween. Which for me, a gal with a long legacy of elaborate costumes and candy-eating, was somehow far sadder than if I had lost the Christmas spirit. (I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s because candy canes never have, and never will, trump a Reese’s peanut butter cup).

Then I met Rand. And things started to change.

This was a boy who was willing to sweetly request I make him a Fred Flintstone costume, and then bravely walk to work while wearing it.

I’d spent years pretending that I was too cool for Halloween, when, really, I should have been asking: Am I cool enough for Halloween?

Was I brave enough to, as a full-grown adult, wear a ridiculous costume out in public? Did I have the strength of character to be able to wander down the street, knowing that people would stare and point and occasionally ask to take our photo? Could I handle being ugly, or scary, or strange?

Turns out that I most certainly could. In Rand’s company, I could do all of those things. And a tradition started of the two of us dressing up on October 31st.

There was one catch, though. Rand loves Halloween, and he loves costumes, but he was and is staunchly opposed to wearing makeup, masks, and wigs (I, thankfully, am not). So whatever costume I make for him must be simply that – a costume. These parameters have made things slightly more challenging, but no less fun.

Two years ago I made us Star Trek uniforms (from the original series). Rand was supposed to be Scotty, but he ended up as a red-shirted ensign (because I ran out of gold ric-rac). Fear not: he made it through the night.

Last year, he finally went as Steve Zissou from Life Aquatic, a costume he’d been contemplating for years. Indeed, that was why he grew out a beard in the first place, on an October day many years ago. He was considering a costume; the beard stuck.

I was Margot Tenenbaum, from The Royal Tenenbaums.

And while we hadn’t planned on paying homage to Wes Anderson on two consecutive Halloweens, after we went to Moonrise Kingdom, and saw that the main character, Sam, looked remarkably like Rand did as a little boy, we couldn’t resist. Heck, Sam even had a little brown-haired girlfriend.

Since I am unemployed and endowed with plenty of free time, I started working on Rand’s costume. My goal this year was not to dye any clothing (since I’ve stained my hands blue for two consecutive Halloweens doing just that).

I’m happy to say I succeeded. I found a shirt and shorts at the thrift store that were miraculously the same shade of olive green, and set about adding trim and merit badges to them for Rand’s costume.

I remained faithful to the film for some of the badges …

And took some artistic liberty with others. (This is Roger Mozbot, the mascot for Rand’s company.)

I bought him a raccoon tail hat, and some knee-high socks, and a canteen …


Here we are in character (i.e., overcome with ennui) as Sam and Suzy.

For only the second time in seven years, Rand is sans-beard. So now it’s basically like I’m making out with a stranger.

Which is just a weensy bit spooky. But I’m sure I’ll get over it.

Leave a Comment

  • Katie

    I love the effort you put into your outfits! I only wish I could find the same enthusiasm but whilst I might not go for the skimpy dress, cat ears look, I do find myself opting for the easiest and least creative option I can find. Now if someone wants to give me a suggestion for an outfit for a ‘nintendo- pokemon themed’ party next week I’m all ears

  • squintykorean

    LOVE the homage to Wes Anderson!

    You are my favorite blog and your Moonrise Kingdom costumes are great!

  • ERMAHGERD, you two are my fave! Seriously, I wish my Halloween costumes were 1/197th as awesome as yours. I was wondering about the Roger patch (specifically, where I could purchase one), and of course it’s homemade. I saw many a Khaki Scout this week, but yours is by far the best. BRAVO guys!

  • I feel as if my life has been made complete. Best. Halloween. costumes. ever.

  • Lindsay

    You two looked great! Impressive!

  • What kind of bird are YOU?

  • You are so, so, so nice to make costumes. (I waited until Oct 30, told my kids to make costumes out of whatever they could find around the house, and passed it off as a creative enrichment exercise.) The badges are great. I want to go and make myself badges now. I could start earning cupcake badges and candy badges. My shirt would be a visual representation of all I’ve accomplished.

  • My boyfriend and I were totally Sam and Suzy, and shaved his beard for the first time in months, as well!!! I love your costumes 🙂


    • Everywhereist

      You two look adorable! And man – Rand and your bf could be siblings. 🙂

  • Sam

    Awesome! My Mom made our family costumes each year, even when I was in high school. Yes, I was the red M&M when I was 16! I’m not afraid to admit it. We actually won several contests over the years. Now that my wife and I have our own son, there has not been a Halloween that we did not dress up. I’ve worn tights more than I care to admit, but because my Mom instilled the spirit in me, its something I will do for a long time to come. Not every 4-year old Green Lantern has Batman to pull his wagon around the neighborhood!

  • I love Halloween but somehow I’ve stopped dressing up myself. I guess living in suburbia kind of killed that.

    I do torture my dogs though….http://cardiganshirecorgis.blogspot.com/2012/10/happy-halloween.html

  • Just watched that movie at the weekend, and the similarity is uncanny. Rand has perfected the slight hang dog yet optimistic look! Love the blog.

  • Anisa

    Great costumes. Kudos to you for making your own. My husband and I make our own costumes too.
    (usually at the last minute!) You did a wonderful job on them. And I like the fact that Rand shaved off his beard for his. My husband has done this too for a Halloween costume.
    We just love Halloween and enjoy going out walking the streets dressed up. Always good for a laugh.
    I, like you, am already thinking about my costume for next year.
    Halloween isn’t over yet for us though. Our trick or treat night was postponed until Saturday due to hurricane Sandy.

  • Irene

    You and your brother look great! I think that you and Rand need to recreate that moment. Rand would make an awesome Jedi and you would look adorable with two bagels on your ears. I love reading your blog, thank you for sharing.

  • Wow!! Really good costumes! And excellent expressions to match. =)

  • Glad I’m not the only one obsessed with Reese’s peanut butter cups.
    It’s awesome to have an SO who’s willing to go all out with you, nothing like shared embarrassment to bring a couple closer together.

  • I’d love to see Rand in a Fred Flinstone outfit!

  • My husband is so jealous of your costumes! When we left the theater after Moonrise Kingdom, he said we should be Sam & Suzy for Halloween. Ever since, he has had them as his desktop background so he could see them daily and dream about Halloween.

    But alas, we did not dress up. I’m not as good of a wife as you. Congratulations on an awesome costume…love the ennui!

  • You two are so awesome it’s ridiculous. I first saw these costumes via a tweet from Rand. I couldn’t work out what was so out of place then it finally hit me; it was first time I have seen Rand not wearing a plaid shirt. Now I read your post and I didn’t even notice that he had shaved his beard. Yes, we dudes can be an unattentive lot when it comes to hair.

  • ebe

    Simply genius. That is just so good! And I love the pink dress just on it’s own.

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