Finding Happiness In Playing Dress Up

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Lisa is a freelance writer, consultant and life coach. She has her BA in English and Creative Writing from Princeton and her MPA from Harvard. Lisa recently finished the first draft of her book manuscript, Burning Down the House. Her dream is to publish this first book and teach the world how to discover their hidden joy. Her post day is Tuesday.
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Finding Happiness In Playing Dress Up: Dress Up Jewels

For someone like me, who has loved make-up, high heels, and dressing up ever since I was a little girl playing with my Grand-mom’s shoes and faux pearls, Halloween is the perfect holiday for self-expression and fun. It’s the one day of the year when society gives us full permission to dress up any way we want and to have fun playing a role.

This Halloween, I had a great reason to dress up. We had an open house in my downtown commercial building in Troy, New York, featuring DJ friends of mine.

There was free wine, vegan Halloween-themed cupcakes (decorated with ghosts, wolverines and mummies!), cheese and crackers, grapes, special effects disco lights, and a photo booth. Guests could pose and get a photo sheet with three fun pics, also for free.

We encouraged people to dress up, and happily most people did. It was a night to remember.

Finding Happiness in Creating A Costume!

I knew I was going to dress up, and had some ideas in mind. However, I recently moved into a new apartment, am still in the process of unpacking, and could not find some of my costumes and wigs.

So the hippie flower girl costume I had in mind, with a colorful little mini-dress; big round white sunglasses; long, flowing day-glow orange wig; and white vinyl platform books was out.

I wasn’t sure what to be, and was busy getting ready for my event. I stopped at the Costumer, the region’s biggest costume supplier, to pick up some “fog juice” and fake cobwebs.

And I gave myself 1/2 hour to tackle the costume problem. What would I be?

I had a budget of $100 or less for my costume. There were of course the usual “sexy police office,” “sexy nurse,” sexy witch” etc. costumes.

I didn’t really feel like being a French maid or a Greek Goddess. I wanted something more creative and unusual.  So I ended up inventing a costume, piecemeal. I started out by trying on a tutu of all things, and just adored it.

Ballerina? No, not interesting enough for me. I started adding to the tutu.

I topped it with a green plaid mini-kilt that floated on top of the tutu, like a miniature version of an old-fashioned hoop skirt with tulle. I decided I probably needed wings. And a wig.

I found a long, curly, lime green wig and also fell in love with that. And I added a pair of chartreuse, translucent, glittery fairy wings. The final touch was a pair of furry lime green boot covers/leg warmers.

Here is my Little Irish Fairy costume:

Finding Happiness In Playing Dress Up: Me as a Little Irish Fairy

Even though it wasn’t a standard costume, and was my invention, people seemed to love it and also “got it.” A few commented that a kilt is technically Scottish, which is true!

I got great reactions at the grocery store where I went to pick up ice and plastic cups for my event. Surprisingly, although it was Halloween, almost no one else in the store was dressed up.

So everyone smiled and commented on my costume. In the line for the cash register, I accidentally bumped into the woman next to me with my wings.

I apologized, and said,

“I usually only wear my wings when I am home alone, so I’m not used to navigating with them on in public! So sorry!”

She laughed. It was fun being a fairy, and flitting through public places in my green wings.

Finding Happiness in Joining All The Other Superheroes! 

At my party, the other costumes included Wonder Woman, Andy Warhol (a superhero of art!), a couple in traditional Chinese attire, a geisha, a flapper, and a few people in bathrobes and/or curlers. People were dressed up and most importantly were smiling, laughing, dancing and having fun.

It is a total joy to see my building so alive with music and dance, and filled with a spirit of happiness. It reminded me of what I’d like to see in the building over the longer term, which is vibrant uses that will bring the community in to enjoy a gorgeous historic space and bring joy to those who enter.

We were doing it! The building was alive and filled with happy energy.

How can one go wrong, really, where there is dancing, disco lights, a photo booth and plenty of chocolate? I was thrilled with the turnout and the overall feeling at the event.

Finding Happiness In Playing Dress Up: It was easy being green

And I found myself loving having green hair! I think I’ve always secretly really wanted long, curly hair, and I do generally love being a redhead.

But I felt surprisingly pretty and happy to be sporting leprechaun green hair. I thought, I could totally use this wig on bad hair days!

I loved wearing wings most of all, even though it does take some practice to not bump into people constantly while wearing them! I also got to answer the question: Can I swing dance while wearing fairy wings?

I am happy to report that thanks to my awesome lead, my DJ friend Dancin’ Dave, why yes. Yes I can swing dance while wearing wings!

This bodes well for my hopeful future as a swing dancing angel. Hey, one must be prepared for all possible paths!

Finding Happiness in Everyday Magic!

Honestly, if I thought I could get away with it, I’d probably wear fairy wings and green hair much more often! I love dressing up, I love fun, I love magic, and I love making people smile.

It’s great fun to do the unexpected, and wearing wings around on an ordinary day would surprise people! I will have to try this out again sometime in the future – grocery shopping as a fairy when it’s not even Halloween!

I’m so thankful to everyone who came out to my event and who put the time and energy into dressing up, which made it twice as much fun. I’m so fortunate to own a space that can be the location for fun events that give people a chance to connect, dance, pose for silly pics, and enjoy wine and chocolate.

One can never have too much fun, and it makes me happy that my building is a fun place for people to gather.

Here’s to more costume parties, dancing, love and joy in my new space! May it bring good energy and a smile to all of those who enter.

Lisa Powell Graham
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