Five Frugal Halloween Costumes for the Unconsciously FTM Teen

[Image description: A hand holds a Duplo pirate with long black hair and something of a Johnny Depp smirk]

Since my teen years, when I started making my costumes myself, I've always been pretty frugal at Halloween; I liked the challenge of putting together costumes with thrift store finds and re-using elements from last year. I've also, in retrospect, been super trans at Halloween. A societally accepted time for crossdressing, Halloween became a rich canvas for the unconscious performance art that is my gender weirdness. The following are costumes I donned at Halloween between the ages of 13 and 17. What do you think was the transest one?

A pirate
There are girl pirate costumes, but this wasn't one. I was a decidedly masc pirate in my tattered pants, red sash, lace-up shirt, vest, and bandana. Very proto-Jack Sparrow before Jack Sparrow (this was circa 1999). Minus trans points because a boy pirate is kind of the unmarked class of pirate. Plus trans points because I was on a pirate kick after writing and performing a Social Studies skit about Mary Read.

Estimated Cost: $15. The shirt and vest were left over from my brother's Halloween costumes of yore. I already happened to own a tattered pair of knee-length cutoffs (being a dirtbag in my everyday life). My red sash came out of my mom's fabric scrap bin. I just bought a cheap "pirate in a bag" for extras like a bandana and eyepatch.

A prince
You have the masculine built right into the name there, and there's an obvious female equivalent that I was conspicuously not being. I think my interest in fairy tale style princes was inspired by Revolutionary Girl Utena.

Estimated cost: $25. I reused several elements from the pirate costume (shirt, vest), and added a cape that was basically just a few yards of blue fabric. The most fun part was a wooden sword which was just a few old pieces of wood lashed together and spray-painted.  I remember my concept included giant shoulder armor which I'm pretty sure I didn't end up doing, although one might easily adapt football or hockey shoulder pads for the purpose.

Haruka (Sailor Uranus)
Well, I mean, technically this is a female character... one who wears a boy’s school uniform and all the main characters think she is a super handsome boy the first time they meet her. It is crucial to note that I didn’t do the classic Sailor Moon sailor suit look, but the boys’ school uniform look (blazer, plaid pants, matching tie), even though it was extremely not recognizable.

Estimated cost: $30. I bought all the pieces of the costume, but they all came from thrift stores. It's surprising how easy it was to find the right colors and patterns of plaid. Sure, none of it fit me, but whatever.

Jareth, the Goblin King
Knock off points for the fact that this is a fun and recognizable character and their being male isn't the ONLY reason I would dress as them. Add +1000 points for the sock down the front of the pants. (It was a joke! A joke commentary on how visible David Bowie's package is in the movie! JUST A FUNNY JOKE NO OTHER REASON)

Estimated cost: $65. I bought an extra special fancy lace shirt and an 80s hair band wig specifically for the costume. I did manage to use clothes I already had for most of the rest (tight gray pants, a black lace-up corset that I happened to already have for my weekly Rocky Horror viewing, black boots. Of course, the only black boots I had were steel-toed workboots which are all wrong for the look. Butch problems.)

A woman
Nobody understood my costume. “What do you mean, you’re a woman? Which woman?” “No specific woman! Just a woman!” “But you are a woman. I mean, in real life.” “I KNOW. It’s IRONIC and POST-MODERN and META.”

Estimated cost: $20. I borrowed the clothes from my brother's girlfriend. I only bought a cheap blond wig and and Wet & Wild-quality garish makeup: red lipstick, blue eye shadow. In retrospect, it was drag.


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