27 October 2012

Hallowe'en Costumes

So your parents want you to go to an All Saints party instead of a Hallowe’en party – or at least dress up as a saint when you go out trick-or-treating – and you think this is incredibly boring, right?

Fear not, children.  Have you read a martyrology lately?  Do you know how a goodly number of our heroes and heroines of the Faith died or what their attributes are in artistic depictions?  If you think no costume is complete without blood and gore and innards showing, dress up as one of these saints:

Saint Denis
A lot of saints were decapitated.  Some, like Saint Denis, are depicted carrying their heads.  If you were really looking forward to being the Headless Horseman or the Headless Zombie or whatever is in vogue these days (Mrs. Rudd does not keep up with such things), make a few changes to your costume, put a bishop’s miter on your ‘head’ – complete with blood on the neck; there were no unbloody beheadings – and voila!  Saint Denis.

This also works for Saints John Fisher and Thomas More, if you have a hankering to look like something from “The Tudors”.  And if you can’t manage the totally headless look, use makeup to make a slash around your neck, complete with dripping blood.

Saint Erasmus
Even better is going as Saint Erasmus.  He was martyred by having his intestines wound around a windlass.  Find or make a long appendage which looks like intestines (large or small or both) and attach them to a hole in your costume somewhere near your belly button (add a nice amount of blood as well.  There were no unbloody eviscerations).  If the intestines are long enough, you can throw them over your shoulders and around your neck like a stole.  Erasmus was also a bishop, so make yourself a miter (and in spite of the picture here, don’t go out in your underwear.)

Saint Peter Martyr
If you can find or make one of those headpieces sometimes called “Splitting Headache” (a sword or an ax through the head), you can dress as the Dominican Saint Peter Martyr.  White tunic, black cloak or cowl, lots of blood dripping from the top of the head, and maybe a bit of brain slipping out.

(Assuming here that you know how to make a simple tunic – an old sheet or length of cloth, fold over widthwise, cut it into a ‘T’ shape, sew the sides and sleeves (leaving the openings for your arms, of course), cut a hole at the top for your head to fit through, hem as needed.)

Saint Lawrence
Saint Lawrence of Rome was barbecued.  Highly unlikely that he was wearing clothes at the time, but that might be a little chilly for Hallowe’en, so get togged up in a toga or tunic, paint grill lines fore and aft for that charbroiled look (not forgetting your face), and if you can find make-up that looks like burned skin, so much the better.

Young ladies who want to look reasonably elegant while still producing an ick factor can go as Saint Agnes, Saint Catherine, etc.  A tunic and a wide piece of cloth worn as a stole will work here.

Saint Agnes
The young girl Saint Agnes was beheaded (although she didn’t walk around with it like Saint Denis).  Create a slashed neck with blood drips, and carry a stuffed lamb. 

Or wear a lot of green and maybe a shamrock or two (to give people a hint), to portray the Irish (and headless) Saint Dymphna.  She was the daughter of a king, so a crown with shamrocks might do the trick.

Saint Catherine
Saint Catherine of Alexandria was also beheaded, so the same costume (in rich cloth) and slashed neck works for her.  As a patron of philosophers, she carries a book; as a noble woman, she wears a diadem.  Carry her attribute – a small Catherine Wheel (a spiked wheel) – or attach it to your headpiece.

(Those with Renaissance Faire costumes can go as Blessed Margaret Plantagenet Pole.  Don’t be surprised if everyone thinks you’re Anne Boleyn and wonders when she was canonized.)

Saint Apollonia
For Saint Apollonia (who was tortured by having her teeth broken and yanked out – no anesthetic), buy (or carve from Styrofoam) a large tooth shape, and attach it to a pair of pliers.  Blacken the rest of your teeth, and have gobbets of blood dripping out of your mouth and down your chin.

Saint Lucy
The noble lady Saint Lucy carries around her eyeballs.  Tradition is not sure if she was tortured by having her eyes plucked out, or whether she did it herself to make a suitor stop pestering her.  Tradition says that her eyeballs grew back in any case.  Anyway, she was a beautiful woman, and was eventually killed by a sword or dagger thrust to the throat.  Paint on a small neck gash (can you attach what looks like a dagger to your throat?), have blood dripping down your cheeks from your eyes, and either buy or make a couple of eyeballs which you can attach to a small plate.  If you really want to make young kids consider you with awe, make your eyeballs from peanut butter balls dipped in melted white chocolate; use decorating gel to make the iris and a small chocolate chip for the pupil.  Then when you get tired of carting around your eyes, eat them in front of others.  Vanilla wafer cookies covered with white icing and decorated also works.

That is all that your hostess can think of right now [there is one of those messy and unwelcome visitors named Sandy on her way, and Mrs. Rudd is battening down hatches], but if you check out a martyrology or a book of saints, you can get ideas of your own. 

(Of course, your parents may require you to recite the life and death of your saint before you leave the house.  Be prepared.)