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Saloon Girl

When I was eleven and in sixth grade there was a strange limbo between sexy and scary.

Back in 1995 sexy costumes were not like the ones today. The most risqué ones you could find were like a sexy witch. The dress had a more plunging neckline than the regular witch costume, and I think the skirt had longer slit. There were some other sexy (by 1990's standards) costumes, like maybe a pirate with a jagged mini skirt or a French maid. There wasn't much available at places like the mall or the local drug store. You needed to shop at a lingerie store for a sexy costume or make one yourself with a sexy dress/outfit.

When I got my saloon girl costume I had no idea what a saloon girl even was. I picked it out because everything else at the store seemed to be some type of variation of witch costume, and I already had a witch costume. I really wanted horror flesh makeup instead. It looked so ugly and gruesome on the model on the package.

The standard “scary” costume for older girls back then was a whiteface with black lips and scraggly hair. The girls would usually wear a fancy formal dress preferably a billowy one.

My class was part of a haunted house that year. My teacher had drawn out the floor plan for our class, but she forgot me. She told me I could man the door. The layout was really nothing more than a maze of desks. I think building this thing was the class “art project”. The thing that made this haunted house scary was that the students used to touch and grab people.

On the morning of Halloween I was ready to do the whiteface with the black lips. I was really slathering the white face paint on. My mom came and saw me, and said my makeup looked more clown than dead. She made me wash it off.

I went to school as a plain saloon girl I felt embarrassed when the other girls made fun of my saloon girl costume. Some of the girls were trying to look sexy. I wasn't wearing any fishnets. They told me I was wearing the costume wrong because I didn't have fishnets. They believed in the “you gotta dress like the way it looks on the package” idea. The girl on the package of my costume was wearing fishnets, but my mom wouldn't let me have any. The funny thing about that costume was that the picture of the lady on it didn’t have it all pimped out. All she seemed to be wearing that was not included was some lacy fingerless gloves, black fishnets, and some ankle boots. I think my shoes were also criticized.

This one girl came to school as a vampire. She had this strange “makeup” on her face. It didn't look like anything that was store bought; nothing that I had seen before. I’m not sure what it was, but she was scraping it off her face. It sort of looked like oatmeal or something. I kept asking her what it was, but she wouldn't tell me.

At the costume parade I saw all these great costumes and I felt mine was inferior and not scary enough. There were a lot of billowy dresses with lots of tulle, and there were lots and lots of horror flesh applied on faces. It looked even more disgusting in person.  It made me want some horror flesh to wear next year.

Even though I didn't have a scary costume in the haunted house I manned the door in a sarcastic manner.

I learned a lot of helpful Halloween tips that year.

The saloon girl costume did return eventually about three years later in 1998.

If I remember correctly I got the idea for my costume from going Knott’s Scary Farm Halloween Haunt. I think I saw a scary saloon girl type street monster. There were many western themed monsters in the Ghost Town like miners and cowboys.

Halloween happened to fall on a Saturday that year, and since I was a freshman in high school I wasn't sure how Halloween was celebrated there. I should have used my better judgment after experiencing my first spirit week and homecoming. There was a population of my high school that went all out for both homecoming and Halloween. I also didn't understand the emphasis of couples costumes back then. I didn't wear a costume to school. 

I wanted a really good costume for my cousin’s Halloween birthday party.  I saved money because I was reusing an old costume; all my parents needed to buy was some face paint and some fishnets. I finally got to wear this costume with fishnets.  My shoes were not all that authentic. Plenty of saloon girls wore black imitation Doc Marten creepers. But I wasn't concerned about my shoes too much.


For my makeup I did a variation of that “dead whiteface” I blackened my eye sockets and drew scars on my face. I also realized I cannot apply Halloween makeup very well. Well, nobody at the party seemed to care or make fun of that. I ended up applying the makeup too thickly, and it cracked by the end of the night.  They all said I looked like something from the Halloween Haunt.

I was not trick-or-treating in my own neighborhood, so I felt brave because the people there didn't know me. I wasn't self conscious that I was going to run into somebody that I went to school with. I got a good haul! I think trick-or-treating with my cute little cousin helped even if he did get more candy.

That was a really fun Halloween !


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pikachulover Posted on Sep 10, 2014 at 09:37 PM

Sadly the costume doesn't fit anymore. I still have it, but I grew a little too sideways.

I think that was the last Halloween I wore face paint.

I do not know how to apply even regular cosmetics well except for nail polish. I'm a pro at that.

About having to copy the costume thing I don't why that idea stuck at my schools for so long. I mean I can go into any store that sells costumes, and I can hear tweens and older teens saying about how it has to look like it does on the package. Plus women's costumes are usually a rip off anyway.

Hoju Koolander Posted on Sep 10, 2014 at 06:33 PM

I had the same make-up application dilemma when I went as Gene Simmons from KISS to a Halloween party in high school. Keeping the black and white face paint separate was a real chore.

That's awesome that you got so much use out of your Saloon Girl costume. Zombie Saloon Girl would make a good companion to an undead steampunk adventurer.

Vaporman87 Posted on Sep 10, 2014 at 05:00 PM

I was always disappointed by the fact that I could never recreate the image on the front of Halloween Makeup/Costume packaging.

You would think by a certain age, you would come to the realization that no product is EVER faithfully recreated from the packaging or promotional image (fast food... I'm looking at you). But no. We keep believing, and failing. LOL

This year, with my family going as Scooby-Doo and the gang, I've found that I don't WANT to recreate the all-in-one promo/package look. They're dreadful and cheap looking. My wife is gathering our costumes one piece at a time through various outlets (with the exception of Scooby).

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