Question of the week: Muertos and Halloween

Pimping it

It’s that time of the year again (as if you hadn’t already figured out by my recent series on low-budget and low-effort Halloween costumes)…

I’ll be dressing up for Halloween and catching at least one of the many Día de los Muertos events around town. On a more personal note, I’ll be sprucing up my mini-altar which currently has pictures of my grandparents, José Luis Vásquez and Cindy Rabuy (a fellow UCLA student who died in 2003).

La pregunta: How are you celebrating Halloween and/or Día de los Muertos?

If you’re having a party can I come? I like candy, pan dulce and ponche.

Halloween on a budget: Oscar de la Hoya

“Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”
– Cady in Mean Girls

While checking out the recent launch of Machochip (go read it, Alex is one of the editors!), I was reminded about a costume rooted in escándalo I’ve yet to blog about: Oscar “Golden Boy” de la Hoya.

Earlier this fall, photos of the golden boy surfaced all over the gossip blogs. They were a bit embarrassing. I mean, if you consider wearing women’s lingerie and posing like a boxer embarrassing. Still, they’re hilarious, and a great Halloween costume for the man eager for an excuse to dress in drag, the straight guy comfortable with his sexuality and who can walk in stilettos, or the woman who just wants to dress “like a total slut.”

Oscar de la Hoya

  • Skimpy lingerie
  • Fishnet stockings
  • Stilettos
  • Boxing gloves (maybe add some medals or a belt for added effect)

If you’re worried about getting cold, get a boxing robe.

For some inspiration… go here, but not while you’re at work!

Halloween on a budget: El Chapulín Colorado

Why dress up as a boring superhero when you can be a red grasshopper? I realized afterward that putting together a Chapulín Colorado costume may not be as low budget or low effort as some of the other suggestions. Who actually has red tights lying around? Also, I realized that if LA stays as warm as it’s been for the Halloween parties this weekend and Halloween next week, it might be too warm to dress up as el Chapulín Colorado.

El disfraz:

  • Red hoodie sweater (optional: a Chapulín Colorado t-shirt, but you still need to cover your arms)
  • Some yellow fabric (felt would work) to make the heart and CH emblem
  • Bright yellow shorts
  • Red opaque tights
  • Antenitas de vinil, or red antennae with a yellow and red ball on the end (I found a pair at the 99 cents store, but they fit tight since they’re made for kids)
  • Red and yellow sneakers (like these)
  • El chipote chillón (the red and yellow hammer)
  • Steady stream of famous phrases

Since I already have the antennae, shirt, and shoes, I think I’m gonna dress up next Wednesday as el Chapulín Colorado (or la Chapulina Colorada?) in disguise, kinda like guys who wear Superman shirts under their suits and go as Clark Kent. I have another costume I’m working on, but I wouldn’t wear it to school/work.

Center photo by /Nathan Gibbs (blog) used under Creative Commons license.

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.


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.

Monday evening notes

St. Vincent's (Los Angeles) I’m taking a short break from rascuache Halloween costumes to get back to my favorite subject: me.

Anthro Man and the fountain of youth
This morning, while killing some time before I needed to go into the office, I stopped by the grocery store across from campus. As I was checking each aisle, I saw a familar face. He looked at me too.

Wait, was it him? Was it really Anthro Man (yes, I know that’s redundant), the guy I had Anthropolgy 12 with back in Fall ’98? I’d sit with Anthro Man and Y during the boring lectures and we’d study for the exams together. I later learned that Y had a little crush on him too, but it was never competitive.

The crush wore off after the class ended, but whenever I’d see Anthro Man he’d always say hi and we’d briefly catch up. It was like that this morning in Ralph’s. Anthro Man gave me the dazzling smile I first was attracted too. He was as handsome he was when we were freshmen nine years ago.

“Hey, I thought you looked familiar,” he greeted me. “Wow, you look the same… you don’t age.”

After we traded updates on our current work/school situations, I wandered off to buy some frozen lunch. A weird idea came to mind. Maybe I looked the same as I did when I was 18 because of the environment. I haven’t left UCLA since I first arrived over nine years ago. Perhaps the aging process is slowed down on campus. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll finally start looking my age when I get away from the Westwood campus.

Speaking of new crush and nicknames
I don’t really have a nickname for the guy I’m seeing. He has a nickname for me, Flor. The story behind that?

C: I don’t really like when people call me Cynthia.
X: I like the name.
C: Well, you can use it… [in Flower, from Bambi voice] “you can call me Flower if you like.”
X: I like that, I’m gonna call you Flower.
C: As in Flower the skunk? Ew.

Gossip girl
I think my life is sort of like Gossip Girl. On Saturday, I had a weird and very awkward experience at a friend’s wedding Mass. Gabby witnessed the encounter and immediately began text messaging the chisme to friends who were not at the wedding.

Halloween on a budget: Cantinflas

Most of the low-budget costume ideas I’ve written about have been geared toward women (or men who want to dress in drag). Here’s one for the guys: the Mexican comedic genius of Mario Moreno’s immortal character, Cantinflas.

What you’ll need for the costume:

  1. Small, beat up hat
  2. White thermal or henley shirt
  3. Red bandanna
  4. Old belt or even some twine to hold up your pants
  5. Loose, dirty and tattered pants (brown, beige or blue); make sure to wear them low
  6. Beat up old shoes
  7. Cigarette
  8. Scruffy facial hair, but make sure you get the moustache right
  9. Brown scrap of fabric to hang over your left shoulder (tie it in a knot or two)

I’m not sure where you’ll find a small hat, but you can always try a second hand store.

If you need inspiration to see how he speaks, walks or acts check out YouTube videos.

Photo by thevid used under Creative Commons license.

Question of the week: Don’t Call Me During…

I don’t watch as much television as Melanism (24 hours!), but do value his taste. We agree on our love for Lost and mourned the demise of Veronica Mars together. I feel like there’s a void on Tuesday nights without Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars.

So far, I’ve only been able to get into one new show Pushing Daisies. I’m behind on The Office because I settled on watching Grey’s Anatomy instead (the television in the living room belongs to my roommate and she likes GA). I tried getting in to Heroes, but I didn’t watch season 1 and don’t really know what’s going on. I just want to catch up so I know what’s going on when Kristen Bell joins the cast next week.

So, don’t call me (not like many people actually call me) during:
9-10: Desperate Housewives
10-11: Brothers & Sisters (didn’t watch last season after the first couple of episodes, but it’s kept my attention so far)

8-9: Pushing Daisies (sooo quoteable)
I tried watching Gossip Girl just for Kristen Bell’s narration, but it doesn’t hold my attention.

8-9: Ugly Betty
9-10: Grey’s Anatomy or The Office

La pregunta: What are you watching?

Halloween on a budget: Antonio & Mirthala

Antonio & Mirthala

Current events (and scandals!) are always ripe sources for Halloween costumes. As a native of LA, I’m much more interested in what the mayor is doing to improve this city rather than who he’s sleeping with. Still, if you want a risqué couples costume with limited effort (and cost), why not be Antonio Villaraigosa and his girlfriend, former Telemundo political reporter, Mirthala Salinas?

Here’s how to do it:

For Villaraigosa:

  • A dark suit with a red or blue tie
  • Spiffy shoes, make sure to get them boleados (shined)
  • Shave off the goatee and/or mustache (sorry for all those Chicanos attached to their goatees)
  • Short hair, it’ll make your ears look bigger
  • A cheesy smile (emphasis on cheesy)
  • NO wedding ring

For Salinas:

  • Spiffy suit in either a dark or light shade
  • Spiffy shoes
  • Long black hair
  • Simple jewelry
  • Telemundo 52 logo printed 4 times in color. Form a box with some cardstock so that it looks like a television reporter’s microphone (for the mic, I suggest borrowing one from a friend who has a karaoke set).

That’s it.

Other things you might want to think about: add a nametag since two people in suits isn’t much of a costume. You can make this a threesome by having a friend dress up Corina Villaraigosa, the mayor’s ex-wife.

Bonus: hide from immigrants’ rights activists at the party or carry around plans for reforming LAUSD in your pocket.

Next up in the low-budget costume series: Cantinflas

Halloween on a budget: Scarecrow

One year for Halloween, my cousin Victor called my mom asking for help to put together a costume. My mom suggested her patented scarecrow costume. It was easy to put together, you’d be sure not to look like the rest of the kids at your school, and you’d be a favorite of the costume contest judges. Victor won an award that year.

Since then my mom, Lori and I have all dressed up as scarecrows. I know there are plenty of ways to put together such a costume, but I’ll stick to the Mosqueda-style scarecrow and add a few pointers on ways to make it a little less PG-13, scarier or cuter.

What you need:

  1. Straw hat; the more beat-up, the better. We had some straw hats from the father/daughter dance in Girl Scouts. I believe the theme for the dance was line dancing.
  2. Jeans or overalls. We always used jeans since we didn’t have overalls.
  3. Flannel or denim. As you can see, we chose flannel. It’ll keep you a little warmer on a cool night out trick-or-treating.
  4. Scraps of fabric with different patterns. These will be the patches you’ll sew on to your jeans and shirt.
  5. Strips of fabric about 3/4 of an inch thick.
  6. Corn husks for tamales. Sew (or glue, tape, staple) strips of the dried corn husks on to the strips of fabric. Sew the strips to the cuffs of your jeans, collar and cuff of your shirt. You’ll want to make it look like the corn husk stuffing for the scarecrow is coming out of the hat and the patches (see photo). And yeah, straw would be more authentic, but using corn husks is more rascuache.
  7. Orange fabric for a jack-o-lantern mask (optional). You can also try a burlap sack as a mask.
  8. Old-looking shoes.

To make your scarecrow gory, just add some fake blood or carry a bloody prop knife. We all know scarecrows can be pretty creepy.

If you want to show some skin and try a more adult look, opt for a short denim skirt or shorts instead of pants. Wear colorful or striped stockings.

Finally, to make your scarecrow cute, you can add some cute face paint (draw on nose, rosy cheeks) or makeup. I skipped the makeup last time I did the scarecrow costume for Halloween ’98, but I still got a compliment from a UCLA cheerleader. That was pretty cool.

Next up in the low-budget costume series: philandering politician and mistress (hmmm, I wonder who that may be).

Halloween on a budget: La Adelita

La Adelita Adrian as Pancho Villa

For Halloween 2001, I dressed up as La Adelita, or a soldadera. An Adelita was a woman soldier who did things like cook and care for wounded as well as fight in the battles of the Mexican Revolution.

After searching online for photos/artistic renditions of soldaderas, I got some inspiration and started to put together my low-budget costume. Here’s what you need (and where I found my stuff):

  1. White ruffled Mexican blouse (you know, the kind waitresses at Mexican restaurants often wear). I found my blouse in the closet where my mom keeps all of our old folklórico trajes (costumes).
  2. Full-length skirt. I borrowed my flower-patterned skirt from my tía Luisa since the “peasant skirt” wasn’t in fashion yet.
  3. Boots. I borrowed ankle-length boots from my mom or tía Luisa. I can’t remember, it was a long time ago.
  4. Rebozo (shawl). I used a rebozo we had stored away with our folklórico costumes.
  5. Bandolier (bullet belt). I bought mine at a costume shop in Westwood. I’ve seen these on sale for $6.99 online.
  6. Dangly gold earrings. Once again, borrowed from my aunt or mom.
  7. Doll of a Mexican baby (optional). I borrowed this from my roommate.
  8. Morral (a woven Mexican bag). Even though you’re dressed as someone in 1910, you still need something to carry around your car keys and lip gloss.

The only cost associated with this costume was buying the bandolier. I braided my hair in two braids rather than leave it long and flowing in the wind as in this painting. I didn’t wear a hat, but you could add a large straw hat to the outfit. You can make the costume PG-13 by wearing the blouse off the shoulder. It’s only PG-13 since your skirt will still be miles longer than the skirts of your fellow female party-goers.

To make this a couples costume, you can have your date go as Pancho Villa or Emiliano Zapata. Last year, my younger brother dressed up as Pancho Villa. He called himself Pancho Vanilla, silly boy.

Now aren’t these costumes of historic Mexican figures much better than these tacky costumes of “Mexicans”?

Next up in the low-budget costume series: scarecrow.