As I mentioned, I've been spending more and more time at the Goodwill lately, scouring for Halloween bargains. Particularly I think this location does a good job of hauling in TONS of costume inspiring pieces:
553 Fairview Ave. N
St. Paul, MN 55104
(I've called it the "University Avenue store", though its technically set back off the main street and the address is Fairview).
One thing I noticed a ton of on their racks were these:
Robes. Choir robes/graduation robes/clergy robes, they had them in all colors and finishes. And cheap. So I thought I might step away from the NOLA costume ideas, and rack my brain for a few costumes you could create around this easy piece.
Buy the robe, and take 10 minutes to make up an easy little graduation cap - cover a square piece of cardboard in black (or whatever color robe you decided on) fabric - hot glue works well. Cut a strip just larger than the circumference of your head and secure it in a circle as the cap. Glue on a button & tassel, and you're done.
Jazz it up:
- spell out something obnoxious on your hat (Hi Mom!)
- classic streaker - there's always one guy who decides to go "au natural" under his robe - create the look with an open robe and nude bodysuit underneath.
- set yourself in a different time period - try some big 80's bangs and a side ponytail, jelly bracelets, acid washed jeans tucked into your neon slouch socks, high top sneakers, and add a "Class of 1985 rules!" sticker across your back
- Pick your clique - accessorize with nerd glasses & buck teeth, goth makeup & baggy pants, drama mask and feather boa, etc.
- Politicize it - strap a crushing load of student debt to your back (maybe just a huge backpack that says "STUDENT LOANS." Maybe with blood for emphasis), a "will work for food" sign on your back and a copy of the want ads with lots of red circles and XXs, wear your robe open with the bare minimum cloths underneath and a "will dance for tuition" sign.
- Go (un)dead - zombie or vampire twists are easy to add to any costume, just pick up the appropriate makeup kit at a Walgreens or Target.
2. God-Fearing Folk
- start with a black robe and add a white collar (strip of cardboard) to become a Catholic priest, or drape a sash over your shoulders (vestments? something like that?) with religious symbols to be a minister. Carry a bible (or a black dictionary, or heck, put a paper cover on your copy of "New Moon" and write BIBLE across the spine).
- black robe, white dickie or bib (or you could even cut off the top of a white t-shirt to make the collar), and a habit made of a rectangle of black fabric secured to a white bandanna or knit cap makes you a nun. Best if worn with a stern look, and possibly carry a ruler for rapping knuckles.
- choir singer - carry a book of hymns. Spontaneously sing back the last line of what anyone says to you. (Be prepared to be tossed out of your party early.)
- Mary & Joseph - start with a light blue or brown/gold robe, add a few loops of fabric draped across your body or over your arms and tie at the waist with rope or twine. A chunk of fabric, or in a pinch even a pillowcase can make your head scarf. Mary is a good costume for a pregnant mama, or she could gently swaddle the baby Jesus (doll wrapped in a receiving blanket).
Jazz it up - too many options, and too much room for politics and offense to even get me started. Of course there are the classics - pregnant nun, "excited" priest...but you probably don't have to look too far to come up with a million more statements you can make with a few accessories. I'll let you delve into them on your own.
A black robe easily doubles as a judge's robe (which would look way less stupid than the folks above), and you've always wanted an excuse to carry around and bang a gavel.
Here's a great tutorial on making a barrister's wig out of a Christmas tree skirt, or if you'd rather, create it out of tampons, toilet paper rolls, also here, or most costume shops carry them as well.
Jazz it up:
- protest a particular ruling...though the only ones that I come up with are too offensive to post. Maybe look at some political cartoons for research. Or just add a devil tail peeking out the back, or envelopes of cash bulging out of your robe. Wrap yourself in red electrical tape to protest the inefficiencies of the judicial system.
- Judge Judy - she would require a different wig, but same general idea.
4. Miscellaneous and Whackadoo
Angel - white robe, tinsel halo, and paper wings, just like in your kindergarten Christmas pageant.
The "other" afterlife - It's probably wrong, but I kind of love the idea of a vampire nun or zombie choir singer.
Grandma - let's face it, a choir robe is just a mumu before the loud pattern. Remedy that with some fabric paint or iron on appliques, put your hair in curlers and smear a mud mask over your face.
Greek God/Goddess - if you've ever tried to make a bed sheet toga, you know its harder than it would appear. But if you start with a big flowy garment, its a little easier - get a white gown, lop off one sleeve, and wrap gold braided cord around your midsection to "tailor" it to your body. Add a crown of gold leaves and gladiator sandals.
Harry Potter's school uniform - A black robe can be adorned with minimal trim & a Gryffindor emblem to become a Hogwart's cloak.
Speaking of Wizards, create an old school Merlin - long blue robe, paint or iron on white stars, and use cardboard to create the iconic pointy hat. Long white beards can be purchased at any costume shop, or make one out of fiberfill or cotton balls.