The Evolution of My Halloween Costumes

More than Christmas and my own birthday, Halloween is my favorite yearly celebration. When I was a kid, Halloween wasn’t a big thing in the Philippines. I remember dressing as Batgirl and my sister, Superwoman, when we were kids in 1990. We attended someone’s birthday that happened to fall on October 31, but we were the only ones dressed in costume. The other kids looked at us like we were crazy. Trick or treating was such a foreign idea, especially in Cavite City where we lived.

When it hit mainstream in my college years, I began exploring the city for Halloween parties. I’ve gone from Malate to house parties at World Trade Center to small parties out of town. I had my days of buying tiaras and wings from SM Department Store, thinking I was so creative until I entered Big Fish events and spotted dozens of other winged fairies who bought everything last-minute from SM Department Store.

Halloween 2004, back when I thought that wearing a tiara with my regular outfit counted as a costume. That's my sister on the right.

Halloween 2004, back when I thought that wearing a tiara with my regular outfit counted as a costume. That’s my sister on the right.

Me (left) as Hermione Granger, my sister Karen as Little Red Riding Hood, and my friend Cha as a geisha in 2005 in Malate, Manila

2005: I (left) was Hermione Granger, my sister Karen was Little Red Riding Hood, and my friend Cha was a geisha. Karen wasn’t prepared, so my friend James said, “I have an extra costume in the car!” We dressed her up in the middle of the street and partied at World Trade Center. When we moved to Malate, Manila, my sister screamed, “I can’t take this costume anymore! It’s too hot!” She took it off in the middle of Malate and said, “Finally I can breathe.” Ah, memories.

Halloween 2007 with my friends Monica and Raffy at a bar in Pasig

Halloween 2007 with my friends Monica and Raffy at a bar in Pasig

I had my kinareer days where I purchased yards of cloths and embellishments and enlisted the services of the neighborhood mananahi (seamstress), so that she could make me something different from the sea of sexy devils I know I’d encounter in every Halloween party.

I had last-minute parties where I grabbed whatever I could from my mother’s box of costumes just so I could get in the “No costume, no entry” bars. I remember when my friends and I tried to convince the bouncer that wearing a hat or cat ears with our regular clothes counted as a costume. When I became a beauty editor, I started experimenting with more ghoulish looks.

Then I was torn between good and evil!

Then I was torn between good and evil!

Sexy bee (because you can sexify anything for Halloween), circa 2007

Sexy (ish) bee (because you can sexify anything for Halloween), circa 2007

My old dress reminded me of Minnie Mouse's apron, so I was Minnie in 2009.

My old dress reminded me of Minnie Mouse’s apron, so I became Minnie in 2009.

Harajuku Girl at Embassy, 2008. As one friend put it, "But you dress like this all the time!"

Harajuku Girl at Embassy, 2008. As one friend put it, “But you dress like this all the time!” The dinosaur isn’t mine.

When my budget was depleted, I learned to creatively put together whatever I could find in my closet—outdated clothes, animal ears from last year’s party, weird outfits I never used, and old accessories from my college days. As my friend Char once said, “There’s always something for Halloween deep in your closet. Just look.”

Don't ask me anything about football. All I know is that Kaká of Brazil is hot. This customized #8 uniform was my tribute to him in 2010.

Don’t ask me anything about football. All I know is that Kaká of Brazil is hot. This customized #8 uniform was my tribute to him in 2010.

Fifi the French Maid, getting ready for Republiq, Resort's World Manila

Fifi the French maid, getting ready to hit Republiq at Resort’s World Manila

Arggh! Shiver me timbers! (2013)

Argh! Shiver me timbers! (2013)

Another old friend once joked, “It’s not a Halloween costume if you have to explain what it is!” to which I added, “It’s worse if they don’t get it even after you’ve explained it.”

My favorite costume is Princess Merida back in 2013. I was struggling with clinical depression, had gained weight, and had just marked the first year since the death of a loved one. I was getting irked at people’s unsolicited advice to “Be brave,” so I took it literally and dressed as the girl from Pixar’s Brave.

Princess Merida of "Brave" (2013)

Princess Merida of “Brave” (2013)

I practiced my Sugar Skull makeup skills in 2014. Location: a friend's garden in Magallanes Village, Makati.

I practiced my Sugar Skull makeup skills in 2014. Location: a friend’s garden in Magallanes Village, Makati.

That’s the thing about Halloween. No matter how ostentatious or cliché a person’s costume is—sexy devil, slutty nurse, slutty anything, or obscure character from a fictional book—there’s always a story behind it.

What will you come as this year? Me, I’m going to do what I once told myself to never do—dress as a character from a ’90s movie that needs to be explained before you get it.



7 Comments

  1. Just wow. I never wore a costume for Halloween so I really admire your creativity. 😀 Di kasi uso samin ang trick or treat, etc. Pinakagusto ko yung pirate costume mo and brave. 🙂 Good thing you overcame your depression already. Can’t wait for your costumre this year. 🙂

  2. Angie Garcia wrote:

    At the end of every Halloween party each year, I promised myself I would make instead of looking around for last-minute costumes with stuff you can find in the closet. At first it seemed like hassle but it’s only been in recent years where I enjoyed the whole process of it. I mean it’s only once a year where you get to dress up!

    Love the different costumes throughout the years! Favorite also is the Brave costume and the story behind it 🙂

  3. Brendabre wrote:

    Merida for the win! It’s one of my fave Disney princess. And, that’s what I’m thinking last time, to try retro costume like in the ’60’s. I admire their fashion look and waiting for the come back..hehe

  4. Reminded me of my childhood halloweens. I used to always be a mermaid ( it’s my dream to be one) or cinderella or a fab ballerina. Hahaha, Brave suits you well bcause of your curly hair! So cute ❤️ Really hope to see your costume for this year! 🙂

  5. Kate wrote:

    Thank you, ladies! In case you dress up this Halloween, please tag me on Instagram. I’d love to see what you came up with. 😉

  6. Jackie wrote:

    The Pricess Merida custome suits you Kate! ?

  7. shine shine wrote:

    woow! amazing your always dress well every halloween event. It seems a very awesome memories to cherish. And the costumes you chose all suits with you miss kate. I just admired your ideas. Cant wait for your costume dis nov..hapi halloween miss kate?

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