Forget the “ghost with the most!” Civil servants are the REAL spooks in town, and none so popular as former 1939 beauty queen and Netherworld receptionist supreme, MISS ARGENTINA! Oh you don’t know what I’m talking about? *sigh* You probably haven’t even read through the manual completely yet….
Attention K-Mart shoppers! Without further delay, I present to you my handmade, 2013 Miss Argentina costume. I have got to say that this was THE BEST and most fun (not to mention time consuming) costume I’ve done to date! I have been a fan of the movie Beetlejuice since I was a mere toddler (long before that Robin Thicke/Miley Cyrus fiasco…ugh) I’m proud to say that I even own a copy of the soundtrack, which I can listen to and play out the movie in my head because I’m .just.that.good! (or that much of a nerd) .
Now despite Miss Argentina’s short screen time, her character always stood out to me. I remember being really little and thinking she was so pretty in my own oddball way. All of these factors are essentially what lead me to recreating her this year, but not only did I want to dress up as her for Halloween…I wanted to do her character justice! I take my costumes very seriously and study every detail with extreme precision; a real blessing and a curse at times since I’m by no means a professional. An example of my attention to detail with this costume is the date ‘1939.’ VERY few Miss Argentina costumes out there have this date included on the sash because they only know of her behind-the-desk scene. Grab an HD copy, slow-mo/pause, and you will see her full self taking the Maitlands into Juno’s office later on in the movie. Yeah! That’s right! Needless to say, I’m THRILLED with the way this costume turned out and hated to take it off!
Now down to the nitty-gritty. I found the dress at a vintage store and it fit me like a glove, it even had the paisley design on it! A few minor alterations were made and it was on to the cape. I lucked out at my local fabric store and found tulle pretty much identical to the kind she wears in the movie. I’ve never really sewn before all of this so it was a real learning experience as I went. I bent and shaped some wire that I purchased into the pedal like cape around her neck. I then cut the tulle to the shape of the wire, sewed the two pieces together to create a pillowcase-like opening, slide the wire inside, and shut it up. The wire didn’t hold its shape to the fabric like I wanted, so I went around the whole thing and tacked the fabric to the wire every couple inches so the shape would be solid.
Next was just sewing a longer section of tulle to the back. Overall the cape was the most time consuming and difficult part of this whole costume. For the sash I simply bought some thick white ribbon at the fabric store. I used the same ribbon to create the lettering which I attached with fabric glue. For the lettering I found a font that I liked online (resembled bones in a way) printed out select letters, traced them onto the ribbon and spent 2 hours carefully cutting each letter out with the only exact knife I had…a box cutter. (Box cutter -1 My Thumb-0)
I’m not good with hair or wigs for that matter, so I had someone shape and design a red wig for me, and I was very pleased with how it turned out. The handbook for the Recently Deceased is simply an old book, glued shut with a graphic wrap around it that’s been weathered to look old and dirty.
Lastly for the makeup, I bought several sample palettes beforehand to test out the different greens and get the right shade. I ended up using Wolfe FX face paint in Sea Green and it turned out perfect. I used a translucent powder over top to give it some hold. This stuff REALLY lasts. I didn’t have a problem with it coming off minus the places where my dress/cape rubbed. By the end of the night it still looked fresh. Everything else was just various purple eye shadows. I went all out on the makeup and didn’t get tights or anything of the sort to do a half job. I painted my ENTIRE BODY, even around my little toes which were freshly painted a fire engine red. Overall the painting process took about 7 hours. As for the infamous slit wrists, I used Tinsley Transfer 3D latex adhesives. These things looked great! Very realistic.
I was fearful that people might not recognize the character, given her short screen time, which is why I brought the book with me, but it was an ABSOLUTE HIT at the costume party I attended. Pulling out the book after taking people back to their childhoods was just an added bonus for everyone. I have never had my picture taken that many times in my life, and it was so nice to see faces light up and hear screams of “MISS ARGENTINA!” from across the room. I ended up taking home the prize of “Most Original” that night, but more so, I took home the satisfaction of knowing that my costume and a beloved character from a movie I hold dear to my heart made so many people happy. I hope I did Miss Argentina proud! “If I knew then, what I know now.…I WOULD HAVE DONE THIS COSTUME YEARS AGO!!”