Think Outside the Box!

Author & Model, April Piazza. Images by DjN Photography, Steel City Retro, and Untamed Photography. Hair & Makeup by Lynn Montone and Phee Rousell.

No one likes “boxed costumes.”

This is the term my friends and I use for those tacky, shottily-made outfits sold at Halloween outlets and Spencer’s. (They’re usually sold in bags, but I digress.) You know the ones I’m talking about: for anywhere between $50-$150, you get approximately 3 feet of material – the so-called “dress” – with some bedazzling a fourth grader would be capable of doing. You then get to call yourself a “sexy”…whatever: soldier, cop, ref, baseball player, etc. If you’re a guy, you get to be a box laden with sexual innuendos that’s sure to get you laid & let everyone know what a wit you are: a kissing booth, condom wrapper, or a breathalyzer with the hose conveniently located at the crotch…or everyone’s favorite, a dick in a box.

We hate boxed costumes because they lack originality, and one of the best parts about Halloween is getting to use the creative part of your brain. That’s something not many of us get to do in our careers, and thusly, our day-to-day lives! This year, SCR wants you to “think outside the box” when it comes to getting your costume together, and there are two easy and inexpensive places to do so: The Attic and Salvation Army!

Shopping at the Salvation Army as a middle-schooler with my much cooler older sister was really my first foray into vintage clothes shopping. We were in search of an authentic 1960s hippie costume the first time I ever went with her to what we lovingly called “The SalVal.” I got exactly what I wanted! I was able to find well-worn bell bottomed blue jeans, complete with a rainbow patch, and a big, flowy Bohemian shirt that I still rock today. I threw a daisy chain in my hair, put on some love beads, and was good to go!

Image by Steel City Retro

This year, I found a real show-stopper. Dubbed “The Little House Wedding Dress,” this beaut was hanging on the wall at the Quakertown SalVal, and I knew I had to have it the moment I laid eyes on it. In exquisite condition, this 1970s wedding dress looks like it belongs on the prairies of an earlier decade, with the Waltons or Laura Ingalls Wilder. The lace detail on the bodice and hem, as well as the buttons & bows, are reminiscent of the Victorian Era, and give this dress a special air of innocence.

Image by SCR
Image by DjN Photography
Hair by Phee of Eskandalo!
Image by SCR
Image by DjN Photography
Hair by Phee of Eskandalo!

I wish I knew the history of this dress, and the story of the bride who wore it. I can only speculate, and the same goes for how much she paid for it originally…but I picked it up for $18.99. For Halloween, it could be worn straight forward for it’s original intent…or it could trashed for an old-time zombie or corpse bride!

My good friend, Doug Nevick, owner of DjN Photography, helped capture the elegance of this dress in a sunlit shoot in Lower Saucon Valley. When it comes to photographing brides, Doug knows what he’s doing. Click on DjN’s hyperlink to see more of his stunning work! After you book him for your engagement session, get in touch with the wunderkind who did the romantically-tousled ‘do for this shoot: Phee Rousell! You can find her at Bethlehem’s Eskandalo! salon. Whether it’s a cut, color, up-do, or anything in between, Phee’s got you covered.

I’ve been shopping at The Attic off and on for the past two years that I’ve lived in the Lehigh Valley. In the last year especially, I’ve seen a good deal of vintage clothing come into the store in pretty amazing shape. I peruse the dresses most often ( I love the idea of putting on one garment, because I am not only lazy, but efficient!), and it can often be hard to find retro items that will fit me. I’m 5’2″ and curvaceous, so something is usually off: the butt area is too tight, the hem is far too long, the neckline is unbecoming, etc…

Image by Untamed Photography
Hair & Makeup by Lynn Montone
Image by Untamed Photography
Hair & Makeup by Lynn Montone

This robe & gown lounge set by Vanity Fair fit like a dream, and the yards of notice-me-NOW leopard print in satin were right up my alley. I immediately envisioned it as part of a pinup or old Hollywood photoshoot AND as a Halloween costume: pinup, kitty cat…drag queen? It’d be appropriate for any of those, and easily done with the right accessories. Even better, each piece was a measly $4.95. Meow.

Pinup model and entrepreneur, Lynn Montone, gets ALL the credit for the images above: the lady not only did my hair and makeup, but is the owner of Untamed Photography! She specializes in creating the perfect pinup look and backdrop for any interested betty at a great price. She also has many other kinds of packages in her repertoire. Click on the hyperlink to see what she can do for you!

The Attic and Salvation Army are great spots to find authentic, affordable vintage pieces any time of the year, but on Halloween, nowhere else can do it better for less. Both stores group their costume pieces on labeled racks right in the front, where they’re both noticeable and accessible. While you’re there, don’t forget about accessories…but DO forget the insanely gaudy, over-priced items you’re leaving behind at the Halloween outlets. You’ll find jewelry, hats, gloves, footwear, and much more at both the Attic and Salvation Army to spice up a look that’s definitely outside the box.

Have a safe and happy Halloween, with love from SCR!

Once again, we can’t say enough about our phenomenal contributors to October’s article. An immensely huge thanks to all those that contributed their time and talent:

Article Resources

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