I lost my job this year, so I didn’t have much in the way of “disposable” funds, but I still wanted to attend a Halloween costume party at my women’s group. Even when the wallet isn’t flat, I prefer to make my own costumes, rather than purchasing them, but this year I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on materials or props.
So I decided to shop my own closets, drawers, storage bins, etc., to see what I had. Then I went to the internet, hoping for some inspiration. Bingo! I realized that I had nearly everything needed to put together a Frida Kahlo costume. I was an Art Major in college and always had a fascination with Frida. I was so excited. This wouldn’t be just a Halloween costume. I was going to invoke her spirit.
I have a couple of blouses with a traditional Mexican look, but they didn’t fit, due to my “quarantine fifteen” weight gain that I haven’t dealt with. Oh boy. Now I was wondering if anything in my stash would fit.
I have a lovely blouse and skirt set that my aunt bought during her trip to Mexico many years ago, but I wore it only once. I kept it because I think it’s beautiful and a lovely memory of her, but I had no occasion to wear it – until now. It has some stretch, so it fit!
However, the skirt is too short – Frida wore floor length skirts to hide her legs – but I also have a long, white summer skirt with a ruffle at the bottom. It fit and looked perfect worn under the Mexican skirt. I added a shawl that someone gave me a few years ago, and that took care of the garments. Now on to the accessories and props!
I have a few pieces of fashion (costume) jewelry that seemed appropriate for Frida’s style. She wore large pieces that were part of her traditional Mexican look:
- Multi-strand beaded necklace
- Multi-strand beaded bracelet
- Two large rings (one had been purchased as a joke ring to commemorate the royal wedding of William and Kate)
- Large dangling Halloween earrings that my husband bought just for fun, but they’re not obviously “Halloween” until you get close. I thought their general look meshed with Frida’s style.
But the elements that I think made the whole thing work were the hair and makeup. Once I did those, I felt like I was channeling Frida.
Frida had long hair that she parted in the middle and braided, often pinning the braids to the top of her head and adding flowers. My hair isn’t long enough for that, so I made fake braids from old pantyhose. The color didn’t really match my own hair, but it was in the same color family, so it blended in. A tight braid with colorful ribbons (that coordinated with my outfit) disguised this prop’s true origin. People were really surprised when I told them my hair braids were pantyhose!
I attached the braids to a headband from the dollar store and then hot-glued some flowers. Initially, I tried sewing them on for more stability, but it turned into a major pain. So I loaded up the hot glue to be sure everything stayed in place throughout the evening. Between this head gear and pinning up my own hair, I had A LOT of hairpins holding everything in place. Glad I didn’t go near any magnets!
The element that everyone associates with Frida is her thick unibrow. She had a strong sense of self and didn’t care one bit what anyone thought about her eyebrows. She was not going to pluck them. I did my best to duplicate them with my gel liner pencil. My husband was impressed. I received a lot of comments that I “really nailed it”.
I completed the makeup with red lipstick and liner pencil from my stash that I also used as cheek rouge a la the 1940s.
The artist palette is just a photo that I printed and pasted onto a used file folder, adding a small paint brush that I already had. I also added name tag in Spanish (Hola, Me llamo Frida Kahlo) in case anyone needed a hint, LOL.
When I walked into my women’s group, I wasn’t just dressed like Frida, I WAS Frida. I looked so different that a couple of people said that, just for just a second, they didn’t realize it was me and thought I was a new member.
I won the prize for “most beautiful costume”!
And I did it on a dime. I think this was my least expensive costume ever. Since I had most of the elements already, the total cost was just a few dollars at Dollar Tree for flowers, ribbons and a headband.