In childhood, I mostly did witches and ghosts, colonial, and the odd princess, once the Carol Burnett washerwoman - mom's idea, but I was cool with it. Was a stage once, with a box covered in crepe paper around my head and shoulders, a working curtain over the front opening, and a puppet to hold the bag. My favorite by far. Rather cozy on a late October Detroit night. Very traditional trick-or-treating around the block, most of which gave out candy. Never felt afraid that night, despite the dark, perhaps just because everyone was out. Friendly atmosphere. Being alone in the dark is much more frightening.
I've since been a Refugee from a Sleep Lab, in pjs with wires stuck to my head. A fortune teller, with all my bellydance gear on. And a ghost samurai, with my hakama from when I took naginata, my hair made all white. Oh, and I had a second hand sheath dress, black, coupled with a black veil, and I went as the Widow Jackie. Mostly my own clothes, themed to suit. In the OR, temporary tattoos on my throat. I'd like to do more, but there is so little point.
There were a group of half a dozen young folks in black spandex pants, spike hair, chains, high tops, hanging near the grocery store entrance. I was a bit afraid to go past them, such extreme punk is pretty rare, and very hard core, until I remembered what day it is. They pulled it off very well, almost as if they are punks, and went retro for today. Spoke to a few in passing, seemed like a nice bunch.
A physical therapist last year put his long hair in a french braid, with ribbon, shaved his mustache, wore a pastel flowered long sleeve dress with lace collar and cuffs. He was a Mormon Sister Wife. Very believable, until you really looked at his face. In this state, understood immediately.
I never go as a nurse, or a soldier.
Really mind the "Sexy (Occupation)" costumes, an excuse to dress slutty, as D says. I think that the best costumes address, in some way, our anxieties or our secrets. Are we brave enough? Are we misfits? Can we let the world see our quirks? What is death, or pain, or decay? We each have our own questions. Generic costumes, to include showing off that one has a corset, are a sort of dress-up uniform, risk free, joining in without revealing much, save for skin. Not quite the idea behind Halloween, Samhain, when the rational and irrational meet to dance.
I've long wanted to create a really good sea goddess outfit, convincing and constructed, one with fronds and wrecked ships.