Halloween: LiveAuctioneers’ team recalls the costumes that rocked

LiveAuctioneers' Halloween scream team, left to right, standing: Andrew Valente, Jonathan Harford, Torr Duer, Karl Hohn. Foreground: Eddie Fu. Photo by Erwin Hungerbuhler

LiveAuctioneers’ Halloween scream team, left to right, standing: Andrew Valente, Jonathan Harford, Torr Duer, Karl Hohn. Foreground: Eddie Fu. Photo by Erwin Hungerbuhler

NEW YORK – Some childhood memories, like being teased for a bad haircut or not being picked for a sports team, are best forgotten. But one thing no one ever forgets is a favorite Halloween costume.

Today being All Hallows’ Eve, some of the team members at LiveAuctioneers’ Manhattan headquarters came to work in costume. In blasé New York, you have to make a real effort to grab anyone’s attention as you’re walking down the street, but our colleagues in this photo probably managed to muster a few amused gazes on Chelsea’s gallery-lined sidewalks.

Some of those who didn’t dress up in costume today still took the time to tell us about favorite Halloween outfits and traditions they remembered from years back.

Camille Davis of LiveAuctioneers’ marketing department, said: “My mom always sewed my costumes by hand. My very first one was a ghost, complete with a metallic silver sash, and the next year I had a beautiful light blue and white gingham dress, just like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Being a kid, I always wanted the ‘cool’ store-bought costumes that my classmates wore, but I realize now how incredible my mom’s creations were…I definitely want to continue the tradition! Oh, and my other standout memory was that favorite house on our street that gave out full-size candy bars.”

Like practically every other kid since 1928, LiveAuctioneers designer Tiffany Moy was a Disney fan from an early age. “When I was four, I HAD to be Minnie Mouse for Halloween. She was my favorite and I just loved her,” Tiffany said. “My mom and I went out to look for a costume, but they were all creepy or poorly made so she decided to make the costume herself. After a couple hours of sewing, she called for me to come upstairs so I could do a fitting in the red and white polka-dot skirt she had just made. I stood on a bench while she pinned the bottom to fit me perfectly. It was was prettiest Minnie skirt I had ever seen.’

“She also made ears and a tail out of black felt and a matching red and white polka-dot bow. I wore a black blouse and little black patent leather Mary Jane shoes with white ruffled socks. She painted a nose and ‘pretend’ eyelashes on me, and we set out to score as much candy as possible. I still have this costume. It’s one of the few things I have that my mother made.”

Emily Pugh, VP content at LiveAuctioneers, recalled: “I grew up in a home that fostered creativity and using our imaginations. My mother kept a huge ‘dress-up box’ fully stocked year-around, so Halloween wasn’t the only time we dressed up. She put clothing, uniforms, and accessories in there from my grandparents, parents, and vintage items she picked up from time to time so we had a wide range of ‘costumes’ from different time periods. My grandma also contributed an old jewelry box full of costume jewelry that she used to wear (I remember a huge ‘pearl’ bug pin with gold legs, sparkly floral clip-on earrings, and brooches). My younger brother and I absolutely loved to not only dress up as characters but also to get into character. We transformed ourselves into the police (my dad was a policeman), hippies, and my all-time favorite was a group costume that we called ‘elegant elderly.’ My brother, two male family friends and I put on the finest ballgowns, shawls, velvet smoking jackets, wigs, costume jewelry (huge “pearls” and “diamonds”), glasses, top hats, and canes. Fast forward to 20+ years later, and when the four of us get together we still talk about it and address each other by our play names. My brother, who was probably under 10 at the time, liked to wear a pair of round vintage eyeglass frames, a shaggy wig, and cap and pretend that he was John Lennon. My mother also found a gorgeous blue satin vintage ballgown, so I used to pretend that I was Catherine the Great.”

Lucy Warren-Meeks of LiveAuctioneers’ UK marketing department, said, “Halloween is not quite such a big deal in the UK as it is in the USA, but my favorite memory was dressing up as Morticia from ‘The Addams Family’ when I was about 11, and my grandmother letting me borrow her very scary brooch, which was a real bird of prey’s foot clasping a large amethyst. I loved it so much. We went trick or treating down my very quiet cul-de-sac, and all the neighbors played along, pretending not to know who we were and being ‘scared’ of our costumes. We got lots of sweets that night!’

“At home my mother would make blancmange (a sweet, wobbly dessert made from cornstarch and milk) with green food dye, and add gummy worms to it, saying it was witches’ stew. We would bob for apples and play ‘wrap the mummy.’ We’d all be given a toilet paper roll, and the first one to completely wrap up their partner in paper (and use it up completely) was the winner.”

Tom Hoepf, associate editor of Auction Central News, said: “As a boy growing up in rural Ohio, Halloween and trick or treating was foreign to me. That changed when I was a first grader and our school held a Halloween party. The costumes my brother and I wore to that party became part of family lore. My parents raised turkeys in open fields long before the term “free range” became significant. The birds left many beautiful bronze-colored feathers scattered on the ground. After gathering up few dozen of the nicest feathers, Mom sat down at her Singer treadle sewing machine and started making our costumes. We decided we were going to be Indians. Trying on the beautiful Indian costume, which included a full feather headdress, I pondered whether I should have instead dressed up as a cowboy, like my hero, Roy Rogers. But after arriving at the party, my outlook changed. Everyone thought our Indian costumes were cool. The judges thought so too, as we both won top prizes for best costumes. We won again when we dressed up for our town’s Halloween parade. All we have of those costumes are some black and white photos taken with Mom’s Kodak Brownie. During spring cleaning a few years later, she discarded the costumes, along with our American Flyer electric train set. We forgave her long ago for that. Thanks, Mom.”

Chief Technology Officer Jason Burfield recalled: “Besides the awesome costumes, the thing that sticks out most in my mind about Halloween and trick or treat when I was a kid was carrying around a jack-o-lantern candy bucket. Not sure why, but I still love those things — way cooler than the standard plastic bag most kids use these days.”

As for my own favorite Halloween memory, it isn’t actually from childhood; it happened some years ago when I was a rock music journalist. I had a circle of friends who were famous – maybe notorious – for the parties we’d throw at the drop of a hat. The biggest, baddest party of the year was always our semi-legendary Halloween bash. Typically, there were more crashers than invited guests, but for one night a year, that was OK. The more the merrier.

On one particular Halloween night, I remember a steady stream of limos pulling up in front, delivering costumed revelers. The costumes were phenomenal. One of my friends came as a giant striped lollipop, a costume made out of spray-painted Styrofoam by two of our other friends who were department store window dressers. There was just one problem. She couldn’t fit into her car, even without the lollipop over her white leotard. She had to call a friend with a pickup truck and ended up being transported to the party in the back of the truck, flat on her back. Great costume.

That particular year I went as Cleopatra, complete with a gold asp headdress. My best friend came as my servant and followed me everywhere, fanning me with a palm frond. Her boyfriend, who was a football player, came as her servant and followed her around, fanning her with a palm frond. We were quite an entourage.

But to me, the most unforgettable memory about that party was the mystery guests who partied with us for most of the night. Like many others, they never took off their masks. So other than myself, no one else at the party ever knew they had spent Halloween with two of the Rolling Stones. And I never told them, even years later. True story. Happy Halloween!

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LiveAuctioneers' Halloween scream team, left to right, standing: Andrew Valente, Jonathan Harford, Torr Duer, Karl Hohn. Foreground: Eddie Fu. Photo by Erwin Hungerbuhler

LiveAuctioneers’ Halloween scream team, left to right, standing: Andrew Valente, Jonathan Harford, Torr Duer, Karl Hohn. Foreground: Eddie Fu. Photo by Erwin Hungerbuhler