Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween 1940s Style

Happy Halloween!

This weekend, at the last minute, my husband and I decided to visit the Willowbrook Ballroom. They were having a Halloween Swing Dance with full orchestra. I love the Willowbrook, in Willow Springs, Illinois, with its enormous wooden dance floor and hundreds of tables, so always a place to sit. It opened in 1921, and I think people have been dancing and dining there every since. At these events, they have swing dance lessons for the first hour, and then a band and dj for the rest. Such a lovely night...

We enjoyed snapping a few pics of our favorite costumes. Milt was the Invisible Man (from the H.G. Wells novel and then the late 1930s film adaptation) and I was an old-timey Cigarette Girl (with candy sticks of course). The nice part of our costumes was that we were able to wear our vintage. I am wearing the first vintage dress that I ever bought - a red embroidered dress (that I shortened) from the 1940s. I also have 1940s dance shoes on and vintage rhinestone jewelry. Milt has a vintage sportcoat, fedora, and tie. I made my hat and cigarette box to match old movie photos.

One man asked me how much it was for a pack. I told him they were free and offered him one. He handed them back in disgust, "They aren't real." I said, "Of course not. Why? Do you smoke?" "No!" he said, looked perturbed, and walked away. Not sure I understood that interaction.

Halloween is my husband's favorite holiday because he can come up with creative ideas and wear costumes in public. He loves to dress up as various characters. This time, he walked away with a prize! I am not as fond of costume parties as my husband, but I do have fond memories of this holiday as a child.

My grandma, who we called "Honey", was a wonderful seamstress, so she would make all of my costumes. Halloween still reminds me of those chilly nights, the exhilirating freedom of being outside and loose at that hour, stuffing pillowcases full of chocolate candy bars, running through the darkened streets, avoiding houses with creepy displays, and laughing with my friends.

As an adult, I had a magical, time-travelling sort of night, complete with vintage attire, creative costumes, big band music, and a lovely historic venue.

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