Halloween, Margot Tenenbaum, and Steve Zissou

Posted on
Jan 23, 2012

Last week, I found out there was a trailer for Wes Anderson’s new movie, Moonrise Kingdom. I haven’t watched it yet. Not because I’m not interested – I am. I just like having it there, waiting for me. Knowing I can enjoy it whenever I want. It’s something I occasionally do with cupcakes. I sit and look at them. I enjoy having them there. It’s almost better than actually eating them.


Anderson is a polarizing figure for a lot of people. Even I, from my perch of adoring fandom, am able to see he’s not perfect. The sentimentality of The Life Aquatic felt forced. Darjeeling Limited was unnecessarily misogynistic. But most of the time, he strikes the right cord, and makes me believe that life is meant to be full of sepia tones and musical vignettes and narration by Alec Baldwin.

This adoration of Wes Anderson has colored my life for the last decade. The Royal Tenenbaums was the first movie Rand and I watched together in a theater. He gave me the DVD as a gift when I graduated from college. References to that movie worked their way into my wedding vows (no, I’m not kidding. Then again, at some point I was merely rambling, so lots of things worked their way into my wedding vows. Whole Foods. Brownies. Truck drivers. Indiana Jones. Those of you who were there know. Those of you who weren’t can imagine). In fact, when Rand first grew a beard, years ago, it was anticipation of a Halloween costume never realized: Steve Zissou.

The beard stuck. And every October since, I thought that maybe, maybe, I would finally make that costume. My husband would finally dress up as Zissou, and I would dress up as Margot Tenenbaum, and we’d walk side-by-side on a chilly, sepia-toned fall evening. And Peter Sarstedt would play. And some disembodied narrator would tell me it was time to kiss him.

Sometime in September, when most reasonable souls are not thinking about Halloween, I decided that this would be the year. I bought clothes from thrift stores, eBay, and Etsy. I purchased clothing dye and inadvertently turned my hands blue. I pricked my fingers at least a dozen times trying to sew trim on Rand’s costume.

I enlisted my mother’s help to tailor a dress, because my hips are not now nor will never be the size of Gwyneth Paltrow’s. (Mom did this without comment about my vast posterior, and for that, I am thankful.)

In the end, I was left with two handmade (but no less impressive for it, say I) costumes, and a slight problem. We would be in Barcelona and London in the weeks that preceded Halloween, arriving in New York on the morning of the 30th. So I mailed them to NYC ahead of us, and on Halloween morning, they were waiting.

This was the result of my labors:

Since I am not tall, not svelte, nor blonde, I figured the only way I could really be Margot was to act like her. Aided by severe jetlag, I spent most of the night looking bored, shrugging, and being completely indifferent to my surroundings.

Some people got it. Like my dear friend Monique here, whose eyes really are that glacial blue-grey.

"How long have you been a smoker?" "22 years."

Those that knew me laughed, because reserved and quiet and miserable is not my natural state.

Others were concerned. One colleague of my husband’s asked me repeatedly what was wrong, and gave me a comforting hug in an attempt to cheer me up (I broke character long enough to tell him I was fine. And to hug him back.)

I resisted the urge to smile. Even when I caught Gilligan and the Skipper making out.

Or when we bumped into Burt and Dolly.

Though to be fair, it was actually more that we bumped into Turd Ferguson and Dolly.


All through the night I didn’t smile. Until I couldn’t really hold it back any longer.

I don’t believe I can be blamed for the dissolution of my resolve. It’s all his fault. It always is.

And so I smiled, and was reminded that I don’t live in a Wes Anderson film. My world is not sepia-toned. It has no narration other than the blog posts I’m constantly writing and rewriting in my head. And I’d make a terrible Margot.

But every now and then, music plays, and my life becomes the stuff of movies.


P.S. – A special thanks to David of Zwickerhill Photography, who took the first photo of Rand and me that you see on this post. He’s a genuinely talented and sweet guy, and if you’re in the northeast and need a photographer, I would recommend him. 

P.P.S. – All cigarettes featured in this post are of the candy variety. 

Leave a Comment

  • Wow, you coulda convinced me in those first few pictures! This is a fantastic costume idea, by the way. Kudos!

  • Pair costumes are always fun! I’m glad some people got your costume.

  • Marie-Claude

    I love it!
    There should be an Wes Anderson app on iphones that could play the music or get you a narrator on your daily chores Alec Baldwin style

  • Geraldine, you guys had the BEST Halloween costumes! I was so impressed with your miserable state of mind, since you’re usually full of smiles and cheer! Hope you treated yourself to a butterscotch sundae and a few packs of candy cigs for a job well done.

    Oh, and side note: After the party, I totally tried to scale the red staircase behind you in the photo with Bob, but a security guard in a rent-a-golf-cart stopped me! However, a street dog with extra fixins made my failed efforts a little less disappointing. “Son of a bitch, I’m sick of these dolphins.”

  • Emily

    Wow you even got the fake finger in there. Kudos!

  • Meg B

    Ha I was so Margot Tenenbaum about five years ago. I met and kissed my future husband at that party. He was Hunter S. Thompason. Love your costumes, you two are adorable!

    • Everywhereist

      I can’t tell you how much joy picturing the two of you canoodling on Halloween night gives me. 🙂

  • señor sexbrows

    I have it on good authority that the ever-versatile G also had to endure several obnoxious attempts to purposefully break her character at the hands of a drunk and disorderly SEO guy. If his costume was “Awesome First Impression Guy,” he NAILED it. Hats off for staying in character through that ordeal. 😉

  • Hi Everywhereist,
    Anything that references Wes Anderson (*fanboy alert*) is ace in my book but I wanted to comment on the opening bit -about liking to wait, knowing its there. A most admirable quality -even if its for something as everyday as a cupcake- in this age of instant gratification. I wish I could do that, find joy in knowing and not necessarily devouring. And the costumes look brilliant.

    Oh, and Meg B/Margot Tenenbaum who hooked up with Hunter S. Thompson : I cannot imagine a more endearing romance.

  • Bhavya

    I didn’t think you guys could be more awesome than you already are. But apparently I am wrong.

  • Lemia


    I was margot for my 25th birthday in 2007. The Royal Tenenbaums are my heart and one of the reasons I went to film school.

    • Everywhereist

      Omg – Lemia, you look AMAZING. You have got the attitude down. 🙂

  • Sarah

    How did you make the fake finger? I am dying to know!

    • Everywhereist

      I just used a piece of felt, which I sewed into a a type of finger cover, and embroidered wood grain lines on it. You could also use contact paper that is designed to look like wood, and make a sort of finger cover from that.

  • Shal

    Found your blog while I was searching for some travel-related question, and now I’ve been reading through all your hilarious posts. Thank you for making my so-often-so-boring job survivable!!

    I’m finally commenting to tell you that last month, in July, I decided we should throw a Halloween party this year…and started planning! I’ve already received my first package of decorations in the mail : ) It’s NEVER to early to start dreaming about Halloween!

    Interesting side note – my husband grew up not celebrating. His first-ever Halloween costume was our first year dating. I was in Europe, doing a semester abroad (which involved, mostly, gelato eating!), but I got to see him dressed up as a pirate over Skype : )

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