A History of My Unusual Halloween Costumes

Happy Halloween, friends! I’ve had a super fun and utterly bizarre Halloweekend, which started with a conference center by the harbor full of 5,000 pumpkins, and ended with an 17th century organ concert in the dark (and maybe after that we went swimming in the lake at midnight. Who knows). Since this is my last Halloween for the foreseeable future, I decided to really go for it; Halloween is not popular in the Netherlands, so once I move in January I won’t have many more chances to dress up for a cold October night!

In honor of my last Halloween for a while, I thought it would be fun to share some of my past costumes and the funny stories behind them!

Age 4: DIY Duck


My mom sewed this wonderful duck costume for me when I was in pre-school. I don’t have many memories of that Halloween, but there is a story about this costume that I remember pretty well (in part because it’s been told to me time and time again). A few weeks or months after Halloween that year, I had trouble sleeping one night and decided to put on my duck costume, and a tiara I fastened out of twisty foam toys. Hoping my parents would hear me and come upstairs, I said “quack, quack” over and over, but they couldn’t hear me. I started to cry, and though I don’t remember if they found me or if I went to go get them, eventually I got the attention I wanted and everything was fine. I find it really funny that, while I don’t remember Halloween itself, I do remember being the tearful duck queen.

Age 5: Unintentionally Sad Clown


By the time I was 5, most of my friends were completely crazy about princesses. I desperately wanted to be a princess that Halloween, but my mom had other (more creative) plans and made me a clown costume. There were tears involved, but by now, they are mostly my mother’s: yesterday, when I made the above photo my profile picture, she commented this:


My poor mom. Between this and the American Girl crisis, she has a lot to regret.

(Now I offer the disclaimer that childhood was wonderful and I’m only teasing. Relax, mom! I love you).

Age 9: Coffee-Delivering Angel

I don’t have a picture of this costume available, but I remember that my mom sewed a white robe for me and I made myself a golden sash. I had a little light-up halo, which my dad wore as a joke and can be seen in this photo.


I would later sometimes put on the halo and bring my dad coffee in the mornings as a surprise.

Age 10: Reality TV-Inspired Punk


My dad found the above t-shirt in a Target on a family shopping trip. Because we didn’t have cable TV, we didn’t know that Punk’d was a TV show, and thought that it was a TV for punks. Enter the costume idea and two tubes of blue gel hair dye, which were apparently not enough to spike my hair!

Age 11: Queen Elizabeth, the Last Halloween Queen


The last Halloween that I really dressed up for was in my sixth grade year, when I went as Queen Elizabeth, the last Tudor monarch. I was really inspired by Queen Elizabeth at that time, and also got a print of a painting of her as a gift that year. This is the first (and last) costume that we ever store-bought instead of making it ourselves. This costume was followed by a twelve-year lapse in costumes, UNTIL…

Age 23: Susan B. Anthony

Since it’s my last Halloween in the states for a while, and my first costume in over a decade, I spent quite a lot of time planning my costume this year. Did I want to be my Disney princess equivalent? (Rapunzel, for those curious.) My favorite children’s book character? (Amy from The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye.) Or in this historic election year, did I want to be the famed champion for women’s rights, a famous American female trailblazer, a mover and shaker in politics: Susan B. Anthony?!



Yes, I really did dress like Susan B. Anthony for Halloween. Why wear a miniskirt when you could wear 17 yards of black cotton? (Plus, I can always re-use this dress for the next time I’m invited to a funeral in 1893.)

Sara Laughed

Author: Sara Laughed

I'm Sara, a writer, programmer, and American in the Netherlands. This blog is about my life, discoveries, and mistakes. Follow along, and thank you for stopping by!

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