So why did I, a born and raised New Yorker, decide to dress up as the ultimate "California Gurl" for Halloween?
The idea took root back in June while I was watching Perry's performance at the MTV Video Movie Awards. As she belted out lyrics about daisy dukes, bikinis on top and melting popsicles (full disclosure: I couldn't stand "California Gurls" the first 100 times I heard it, but it has since grown on me) wearing the type of cut-out hot pink halter top body suit that only pop stars have access to, tiny sparkly shorts and platforms, I was struck by her amazing confidence. I'm generally comfortable in my own skin, and I love my sense of style, but if you put me in teeny tiny clothes in front of thousands of people (or really any people), I would make a beeline for the nearest exit.
In the past I hadn't paid much attention to Perry's stage presence, but she was really putting it all out up there. As I sat on my couch admiring her chutzpah, I realized that I wanted to know what it feels like to be that girl, if only for one night. But, I thought, I could never muster up the courage to walk the streets of New York City in the sort of short-short, low-cut, frosting-enhanced ensembles that Perry struts on stage. Or could I?
**Note: The video below may contain some images that may not be suitable for children.**
Fast forward a few weeks later to when I ran my Halloween costume idea by a friend. Her first reaction was somewhere in between shock and utter confusion. "But you're nothing like her," she said. I don't remember exactly what I was wearing that day, but I'm pretty sure it involved a cardigan. I pulled it close around myself in an attempt to hide my terrible idea.
My friend was right. I'm not one to draw attention to myself, especially in the form of sexy clothes. But if there's any night of the year when you can decide to be any one you want to, it's Halloween. And with my friend's blessing ("It's going to be so fun!"), I started planning my costume.
I had one small problem. How on earth was I going to construct such an elaborate costume? Since I have no sewing skills whatsoever (hello, what's a bobbin?), I enlisted Holidash contributor and founder of Petit Elefant Allison Czarnecki to make me the ultimate Katy Perry costume: the cupcake bikini top she wears in the "California Gurls" video. Yes, that's right. A cupcake bikini top.
I sent Allison photos and explained the modifications we would have to make because while Perry's costume in the video is pretty awesome, it's not really appropriate for an October evening in New York City. Or for someone who said goodbye to their bikini body somewhere around Labor Day 2008.
Now that the crux of my costume was in Allison's capable hands, it was up to me to piece together the rest of it, which I assumed would be pretty simple ... until I realized that it's nearly impossible to track down a pair of light blue bedazzled denim shorts. I settled on a plain denim pair from Old Navy that I decorated with glittery fabric paint from a craft store.
Next up was Perry's blue heart-shaped head piece, which I constructed out of glittered blue foam board and attached to a headband I already had (my girlie style pays off!). The wig was the easiest part, thanks to a funky New York City chain store called Ricky's, which is stocked with crazy wigs (and so much more) and located on nearly every street corner in downtown Manhattan.
When Allison's package containing my cupcake bikini arrived, I was as excited as a kid on Christmas morning (a sentence I surely never thought I would write). Then I opened it and thought, "What the hell have I gotten myself into?" Allison's needlework was impeccable. She nailed the details, and even included a nude tank top to hide my midriff and prevent my cherries from freezing off. Thanks, Allison.
But as I smiled down at this amazing creation, the reason why it had been created weighed heavily. I had to be photographed wearing it ... and then wear it in public. Even my boss, who had known the plan for a while, couldn't believe I was going to go through with it once she saw it. "Are you really going to wear that?" she asked. It was enough to make me ditch the whole idea and recycle one of my more conservative go-to costumes from years past: Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy. But I stood firm.
I'll admit I felt embarrassed wearing a cupcake bra in our office while we shot the photos that accompany this article. More than a few of my fellow employees shot me puzzled looks. I'm betting they didn't recognize me or were surprised that someone would put on such an elaborate getup at work. Or just wondering who the heck was walking around our offices in a Katy Perry ensemble. But after a few shots, I started to step outside of my comfort zone.
Now the big leap: wearing my crazy costume in public on Oct. 31. Truth is, I'm really excited to do it. It's Halloween. When else will I be able to walk around with faux pastry treats on my shirt and get away with it?
So back to the original question: Why am I dressing up like Katy Perry for Halloween? I think a better question is, why not? Just don't expect me to start working fireworks catsuits, or any other sexy looks, into my wardrobe. Katy, my lady, I'll leave the sparkles, sequins and cleavage to you. After all, it's turtleneck season!
Margaret Bristol is the editor of Holidash. She's already thinking about what she is going to be for Halloween next year.
Get more Halloween costume ideas from Holidash and check out these Halloween drinks and party ideas. Plus, see how Lemondrop readers will be dressing up for Halloween this year.