Halloween on a budget: Old School Chola

For Halloween 2000, my friends (the Ratas) hosted a 1980s themed party. I dressed up as Punky Brewster. My roommates went as metalheads or punks. Another friend dressed up as an old school chola. It was scary.

Really.

She greeted everyone when they knocked at the door of the Ratas’ apartment with a harsh “whaddaya want?” All the party guests were thrown off by the chola in front of us, until she laughed and we realized it was our friend.

1980s style chola

  • Pendleton shirt over a white t-shirt or ribbed tank
  • Baggy Dickies (khaki colored) held up with a black letter belt
  • Nike Cortez or other old school sneakers
  • Long, permed hair; tease up your bangs (the higher, the better; use AquaNet liberally)
  • Dark makeup, heavy on the eyeliner and lipliner
  • Gold script name on a necklace or a small cross
  • The three dots or a tear drop
  • Bonus: a new name (e.g., la Sad Girl, Smiley or Shy One)

The chola costume can be done pretty well, but I’d be careful where you go. In the case I mentioned above, the party was on the Westside and was attended by a bunch of college students. If you’re wondering whether or not the costume is a good idea, it’s probably best to leave it at home.

Lastly, to get in to character, I suggest watching Mi Vida Loca and listening to Art Laboe play oldies on your local station.

Photo by Pantavila used under Creative Commons license.

14 thoughts on “Halloween on a budget: Old School Chola

  1. Denise C.

    “Where you from, esa?” Oooooh oohoooh ooh! I dressed up as a chola for Halloween last year. Heehee. Good times. When I was growing up, I was warned that cholas were bad, the way they dressed were bad, the way they spoke was bad, even the little black bracelets they wore were bad. According to my mom, anyway. Maybe that is why I find them so interesting! I have to say, getting all suited up as a chola, with the war paint, DIckies, pendleton, aqua net, the whole nine yards…it really messes with your mind. I really wanted to go out and beat someone’s ass….as least jump someone in a gang or somethin’! ;)

    Reply
  2. Browne

    When I first moved to LA in the late 80s from Canada as a little Browne (went from living in the car with my mom in some hick town in canada to living with my dad in hollywood, i think i was in shock) the first group of girls I ran into where cholas. I have no idea how I started hanging out with them (possibly we were all shoplifting at the same store, but I will not confirm nor deny that) but I remember the friendship ended owing to I hung out with a variety of people, they told me I had to pick a side. I told them I didn’t want to, so we couldn’t hang out anymore, but if I ever needed help in regards to things that they could help with they were my girls.

    I have no idea what happened to them or why they hung out with me.

    I think it was surreal experience for all of us.

    Browne

    Reply
  3. esa snoopy

    damn i remember back in those days damn foo i would be all kicking it with the firme ass homies getting drunk not giving a fuck claming my shit & representing i was down with them then my homeboy got shot that foo was my homie why does shit gotta go down like that i worry about my kids in cletcha all the time

    Reply
  4. Andrea

    your missing something else: A tatto like the virgin de Guadalupe or a cross or a low rider tatto. ( it would be best to get one of these from the little 25 cent machines from food city or something))

    Reply
  5. LAYAYAESCA SHIT

    THAT WAS FUKEN SICK. MY MOMS FROM THE HOOD ESA . AND WUT SHE TOLD ME TO DO IS RESPECT THE CALIFORNIA HOOD AND THE MEXICAN HOOD.
    IN MY HOUSE WE R ALL ABOUT DA HOOD.

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Lotería Chicana » Blog Archive » 31, Westwood & most popular posts

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