this article first appeared on zelda & scout on 10/29/14.
All Hallow’s Eve is nearly upon us, a festive season of masquerades and sugar highs. I don’t know about you, but Halloween always has a tendency to sneak up on me. I start each year with grand ambitions of a great costume — cute but not slutty, clever but not so niche as to be unrelatable (I’m lookin’ at you, Scout) — and yet come the last week of October I’m inevitably left scrambling through my closet for some combo of dress and heels that is vaguely flapper-esque.
This year I was determined to be different, and as I pondered this year’s disguise I came to a realization: Southerners live every day with Halloween flair, full of big drama, big hair, and inhuman levels of calories, so where better to look for costume inspiration than Dixie.
These ten get-ups are sure to make you the hit of any Halloween party. Enjoy, my little gremlins.
Dolly Parton (Sevier County, TN): Big hair, big bling, big…tracts of land. The more sparkles the better. Strut around in your cowboy boots like you own the joint. Karaoke is your jam, so slap on some pink lipstick and belt out a few choruses of “Jolene.” All eyes will be on you (or at least on the thirty-seven tissues you stuffed in your bra).
Boo Radley (Maycomb, AL): Grey shirt, grey pants, grey hair, grey face paint. Not a speck of color to be seen. Stand in the corner staring at people. Shy away from bright lights. Do not speak.
Scarlett O’Hara (Tara, GA): Dress in all black with a cheeky pout. Once you arrive at the party, pull down your host’s curtains and use them to fashion yourself a more festive gown. Speak in a Southern accent so as not to be confused with Maria Von Trapp. Bonus points if you find someone with a Clark Gable mustache to make out with all evening, before storming passionately out.
Hunter S. Thompson (Louisville, KY): For this costume, you will need a Hawaiian shirt, aviator sunglasses, a cigarette, and lots and lots of drugs. Write the whole party off as decadent and depraved and tell people you’re thinking of joining a biker gang instead. Bonus points for a Johnny Depp sidekick.
Abraham Lincoln (Hodgenville, KY): Top off your finest black suit with a stovepipe hat and a lustrous beard. Commandeer the nearest stack of cocktail napkins and scribble down speeches for further use. Do not smile.
Norma Rae (Roanoke Rapids, NC): Put on your best jeans, flannel, and plucky attitude. Make yourself a cardboard sign reading “UNION.” When you arrive at the party, find a chair, climb on it, and hold your sign aloft. Stay there until somebody offers you better working conditions, or a drink.
Mia Hamm (Selma, AL): Get yourself a jersey, a soccer ball, and a Red Sox cap. Adorn yourself with gold medals. Score more than anybody else at the party (until an Abby Wambach shows up).
Jimmy Buffett (Pascagoula, MS): Engulf yourself in the brightest, loudest parrot-print shirt you can get your hands on. Top with sunglasses, leis, a coconut bra, and a giant frozen margarita. Greet the other guests at the door with a hearty “Welcome to Margaritaville,” then spend the rest of the evening trying to start a sing-along.
Paula Deen (Albany, GA): Deck yourself out in your most colorful apron and a big grey wig. Walk around the party dropping sticks of butter in people’s drinks and apologizing for being racist.