Love it or hate it: Costumes

by David Holub

Love itI didn’t discover my love of costumes until I’d been in Durango for a while. There’s something about this place that makes people look for any possible reason to throw a costume on. Before I moved here, I didn’t know anyone with a costume trunk. Now, I know multiple people with entire closets devoted to costumes.

Unlike elsewhere, costumes aren’t just for Halloween in Durango. I’ve seen people in rabbit costumes at art openings, in muscle-man suits on 10-speeds, zombies at concerts. And of course, the weeklong costume parade that is Snowdown.

So it goes, I’ve caught the costume bug living here. There was the early ’80s Little League third base coach costume for Snowdown. For the Imaginario Circus, I wore a striped, multi-colored, jester-like vintage ’70s women’s top, sparkly black tights, a Zorro mask and some tighty undies I covered with duct tape to create what can only be called an amazing nonfunctional adult diaper worn on the outside. I also created an alarming cod piece but chickened out from wearing it. I’m still new to this costume scene after all.

I love costumes for the opportunity to combine different sartorial elements to make a scene or to make someone laugh. I love how costumes let us play as adults, to hide behind fabric and masks and become someone or something else for a night. Costumes allow us the freedom to be unscripted, free and wild, drawing out sides of ourselves too often stymied by slacks and buttondowns. For a short time, we are actors and inhabitants of another skin.

— David HolubHate itI know Durangoans love dressing up more than they love almost anything. (I haven’t entirely figured out why. Is it something in the water?)

But I do not like to dress up or put on costumes. I did as a kid, I think. I went as a pink and purple unicorn with homemade glitter swirls on my body for about three years; the two years before that, I was a tiny dragon with baby teeth in place of fangs; and in the years post-unicorn, I began to get a little bolder, more creative. My best friend and I went trick-or-treating as two halves of the word “rainbow” one year, a peculiar notion we considered terribly clever. I was “rain,” with a blue tulle skirt and clouds and raindrops painted on my face; my friend was “bow,” with garish ribbons in her hair, a pink bow painted on her cheek and a yellow poodle skirt. (Her costume probably made less sense than mine.) But our pairing was a big hit with the bored suburban parents in the neighborhood.

You can disappear inside a costume and become someone else. But I guess as I get older, I just want to be me. There are so many inconveniences with costumes, like if you’re dressed as anything fuzzy, you’ll probably be too hot. Or if you wear a sexy Halloween outfit on an evening out, there’s a good chance you’ll be freezing all night. You can’t put on a coat or hat, because that ruins the veracity of the thing. I’d rather just wear my own garb and be comfortable.

Anya Jaremko-Greenwold


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