Halloween: It’s not just for children

Checking in with some adults about their favorite costumes.


Some people, myself included, take Halloween very seriously (in the sense of serious fun). Here are some pics of me and a couple of other dress-up junkies from Halloweens past.

Stacy and Genevieve Wise
Stacy Wise almost never has to buy anything to put together a costume. She can generally find what she needs in her own closet. “I’ve always liked to dress up,” she says. “I used to wear my mom’s full-length slips and go-go boots, and climb trees.”
Once she had kids, Halloween provided Wise with the perfect opportunity to indulge in her passion for costumes. And it seems like daughter Genevieve has inherited her mom’s interest in dress-up. The two generally go to the Ag Hall on Halloween and do the Haunted Hayride before trick-or-treating on William Street in Vineyard Haven. This year, in order to comply with COVID protocols, the mother-daughter team plan to stick to the traditional and dress as vampires — wearing face masks with fangs.
Morticia and Wednesday Addams: “I’ve been a Charles Addams fan since way back in the day. My daughter now loves the movies. She was so funny. She insisted on keeping a serious face. She goes to theater camp in the summer. She said, ‘Mommy, I’m having so much fun, but I don’t want to break character.’”
“We both love Harry Potter. Here I’m Bellatrix Lestrange and she’s Luna Lovegood.”

Keren Tonnesen
“Dressing up is a way of life for me — on a daily basis,” says artist and designer Keren Tonnesen of Vital Signs. Tonnesen recalls that when she lived in New York in the 1970s and ran a roller-skating discotheque, she would stop in a local thrift shop every night to buy costume pieces to wear the next day at work. She’s also an avid collector of vintage clothes, which she wears on a regular basis. Tonnesen has saved just about every interesting article of clothing she has ever purchased, and now has a huge stash of costumes to share with friends on Halloween.
Flapper: “I bought this dress online, and I’m wearing authentic 1920 shoes with it.”
Egyptian: “This year I went Egyptian. The dress is new, but the necklace is one that my father brought back from Africa years ago.”
“I did this costume well before Day of the Dead stuff became so popular. I won the first prize for makeup at the Artist’s Ball that year.”
“I like just combining things to create some sort of wild character. I’ve had this lampshade-shaped dress with fringe on the bottom since the ’90s, and the hat is actually a bag that I wore upside down.
Just months before COVID hit, I dressed as a plague doctor. Who knew how prescient that costume would be?” (with Scott Crawford)

Gwyn McAllister
I’ve always had a thing for Halloween. When I was a kid, I pretty much stuck to dressing as a ghost (with my glasses worn outside of the sheet). Not very original, I know. For the past few years, I’ve been able to spend the holiday in NYC, walking around checking out the costumes in Union Square and the Lower East Side. I’ve gotten far more creative in my costume choices since junior high (although I did do a ghost costume last year).
Sad Clown Ballerina: “I don’t know what the inspiration was for this one. I never wanted to be a ballerina, but I thought this is how someone would look if their childhood dreams never came true. (The jacket wasn’t part of the costume, but it kind of added another element.)”
Devil Bunny Zombie: “I’ve always liked mixing up different characters, and this was sort of a Halloween-Easter mashup. I couldn’t find anyone to go out with me that year, so I asked a stranger on the train to take my picture.”
Jackie O’Lantern: “This costume won me a gift certificate to my favorite antique store in New York. Basically, no one got it unless I explained it to them, but personally, I like that sort of cryptic costume.”
“I had something else planned for last year, but right around that time Trump referred to New York City as a ‘ghost town’ during the presidential debate, so I returned to my childhood roots and bought myself a sheet. (Glasses inside the costume this time.)”