A Victorian Look for your Vintage Halloween Costume
If you aren’t totally broke this Halloween, here are a couple ideas using an inexpensive thrift store wedding dress! With a little imagination and some layering with some other clothes, you can make a $50 ugly 80s or 90s wedding dress look like an amazing Victorian Halloween costume.
Idea #1: Victorian Ghost
Get the oh-so-beautiful wedding dress from the thrift store and maybe a white 1970s long sleeve high neck shirt to go underneath to button it up at the neck. The dress will have a sheen to it, so either use some whitish-grey spray paint to make it look older or use a dulling spray to kill the sheen.
You can use the white hair spray they sell in basic Halloween stores and white makeup with a hint of grey for the face. Do some dark around the eyes to look “dead”. The key to making sure you don’t just look like a ghost bride is the hair. You can do a quick Victorian look by curling your hair with a small 1/2 inch curling iron and then pin half of it up on top of your head. If you can get a hold of a white hat, you will avoid the bride assumption also. You can even just get a little costume hat and spray paint it white.
Idea #2: Victorian Bat (Or anything else you can wear a black dress for…a witch, a spider, a cat)
This party planning expert named Karen Allen, who I think has the coolest job ever (next to being a cosmetologist), had this great tip of using fabric dye to dye a wedding dress black to create a Victorian looking dress. Using black dye may seem a little intimidating, but a big plastic bin from Target makes a great bath for dying black clothes. You can see more about Karen’s great party ideas at www.karaspartyideas.com.
Something to understand about many adult Halloween costumes in the late 19th century and early 20th century is that the costumes could be more like themes rather than trying to mimic a character. Instead of dressing up to look exactly like something, you could just take nuances of it and add it to your everyday clothes. Pumpkins, cats, owls, webs, witches, moons, stars, anything that was a spooky reminder of what Halloween represented could be used to decorate yourself.
This example comes from a series of books published in the early 20th century. These Bogie Books, by the Dennison Manufacturing Company had ideas for costumes, decorations, and other Halloween needs. You can buy reprints of these great vintage holiday books from Bramcost Publications, the leader in reproducing vintage costuming books and material. Here are some of them available for sale today!
- 1913 Dennison’s Bogie Book — A Guide for Vintage Decorating and Entertaining at Halloween and Thanksgiving
- 1916 Dennison’s Bogie Book — A Guide for Vintage Decorating and Entertaining at Halloween and Thanksgiving
- 1920 Dennison’s Bogie Book — A Guide for Vintage Decorating and Entertaining at Halloween and Thanksgiving
- 1921 Dennison’s Bogie Book — A Guide for Vintage Decorating and Entertaining at Halloween and Thanksgiving
- 1925 Dennison’s Bogie Book — A Guide for Vintage Decorating and Entertaining at Halloween and Thanksgiving