5 Maine-centric Halloween costumes (for under $15)
Be the The Portland ObservatoryShe’s a survivor, that Portland Observatory. While other maritime signal towers have receded into maritime signal history, our stoic and warmly painted observatory stands her ground. A note of clarification: She’s not a lighthouse. The Portland Observatory communicated to incoming ships with flags, which is why flags are essential to this costume. A white hat makes an excellent cupola and a mauve-colored dress (or something close to it) make up the rest of the ensemble. Costume tip: Dip sponges in black fabric paint to create the windows. It’s faster and will ensure consistently sized windows.
The costume components1. White knit hat: $5.38 (included gloves) at Goodwill 2. Flags: We borrowed an American flag and printed the Maine state flag on printer paper, using a wooden skewer as the flagpole. 3. Mauve-colored dress: $7.99 at Goodwill
Be the North Pond HermitChristopher Knight spent nearly 30 years living alone in the central Maine wilderness. He thrived in his remote camp thanks to his creative use of tarps and a natural talent for burglary. Dubbed the North Pond Hermit, Knight made headlines earlier this year when he was captured, arrested and charged with burglary and theft. This Halloween nod to hermit life is easily put together with a brown tarp, a pair of eyeglasses, and some essential hermit tools like water jugs, flashlights, a map of North Pond and a screwdriver (great for breaking into other people’s camps). You may already have most of these items lying around the house. Or you can break into your neighbor’s house and simply steal them. Better yet, just ask if you can borrow them. Costume tip: Don’t steal stuff. Just don’t.
The costume components1. Brown tarp: $8.49 at True Value 2. Black trash bag: Look under your sink. Or your friend’s sink. 3. Eyeglasses: $2.68 at Goodwill 4. Map of North Pond: I created a quick map on the computer and printed it at home. 5. Water jug, flashlight, screwdriver: Use whatever you already have around the house.
Be the South Portland Oil TanksIf you’ve driven I-295 through South Portland in the last two years, you’ve likely spotted a few painted oil tanks that stand out from their blank and bland counterparts at the Sprague Energy Tank Farm. Those tanks, painted light blue with a modern-looking pattern of black, orange, royal blue, and yellow, are part of the Art All Around public art project. The pattern – designed by Jaime Gili – also looks faintly like a sweatshirt I wore in the 80s. So it makes sense that a light blue sweatshirt (or sweater) be the base of this costume. Costume tip: I found a few photos of the tanks online and used those as a guide when painting the sweater. And painting a sweater is a pain. Sponges make the work a little easier, or using fabric paint that allows you to deliver the paint in finer lines.
The costume components1. Blue sweater: $4.99 at Goodwill 2. Paint: $1.99 each color at True Value
Be the Time & Temperature BuildingIt was originally called the Chapman Building, but you know it as the Time & Temperature building, probably on account of the flashing sign on the roof that dependably tells Portlanders the current time and temperature…and to Call Joe. While it’s difficult to replicate the building’s true beauty, a khaki-colored shirt and pants and some fabric paint can at least give the effect of a building. Costume tips: Use a sponge dipped in paint to make windows. And for the all-important sign, pick up an LED worklight at Reny’s or just about any hardware store. I printed the word “BOO” in a dotted font and wrapped it around the light to give it an authentic Time & Temperature Building look.
The costume components1. Khaki-colored shirt: $2.25 at Goodwill 2. Khaki-colored pants: $4.99 at Goodwill 3. LED lamp: $5.99 at Reny’s
Be the Marden's LadyYour money goes way fah at Marden’s! Birdie Googins, best known as her gig as the Marden’s Lady, inspired two undeniable Maine truths: Clothes should be loud and we should have bought it when we saw it at Marden’s. While Marden’s and Googins have parted commercial ways, most locals will never forget the Marden’s Lady and her colorful and loveable enthusiasm for bargain shopping. Putting a costume together is simple: Just look for boldly colored clothes and a wide-brimmed hat. Costume tip: Pick up a white gift at a dollar store, write Marden’s on it with marker, and voila! You now have an inexpensive costume-defining piece and a place to put a sandwich, a bottle of Peeper Ale, and other Halloween essentials.
The costume componentsWide-brim hat: $2.69 at Goodwill Colorful scarf: $2.69 at Goodwill Brightly colored shirt: $4.99 at Goodwill White gift bag: $1.00 at Dollar Tree (The Marden's Lady would probably want me to mention that some of these components can also likely be found at Marden's, where the bargains are wicked good!)
This Halloween, you can dress as “Twerk Teddy,” wearing the same crack-eyed teddy bear leotard that Miley Cyrus wore during her VMA performance. Or you can use this trick-or-treat, smell-my-feet holiday to revel in Maine pride (even better, do it on the cheap). We’ve come up with five Maine-based Halloween costume ideas that are easy to put together with a few items from Goodwill, some fabric paint, and a head-mounted LED worklight. Take one of these ideas and run with it, all the way to the fancy neighborhood that gives out full-sized candy bars. Or let these ideas inspire your own made-in-Maine creative genius.
Take your costume to the Ghoulwill Ball
Goodwill’s annual Ghoulwill Ball is on Saturday. There will be dancing, a cash bar, and a photo booth. And there will be costumes. Lots of them. To celebrate all the creative costuming, the night includes a few costume contests for categories like Best Group Theme, People’s Choice, and Most Creative Use of Goodwill Finds. Winners get $150 gift cards from VISA or Goodwill NNE. And the Grand Prize winner gets a $250 Goodwill NNE gift card. Either way, the event is the ideal time to show off your genius Halloween skills. And if you’re, say, not all that creative, take a look at some of the great costume’s from Ghoulball’s past. Steal an idea, or use them as a launchpad to come up with your own amazing idea. Like Zombie Popeye! Or Clockwork Orange Ninjas!
Tickets are $15 or $25 for two: www.eventbrite.com/event/7905231761