Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Casablanca Waiter Halloween Costume (2013)

Good morning!

For day two of my Halloween-week posts, I'll show you how we turned Matthew from "guy-without-a-costume" to "Hollywood extra of the golden age" in five steps or less. Folks, it CAN be done! I sent Matthew to the grocery store the Saturday afternoon, pre-party, and he came back home to a half dressed, frazzled Gold Dust Woman.

Matthew: ((walking in the door, buoyantly)) Hey, I got a different kind of salsa, you know it doesn't taste the same since they changed it that one time--
Me: ((stamping around in platform boots, while affixing hot rollers to hair, panicked)) We have six ravens in this house! Six! Any idea where any one of them may be?!
Matthew: ((gingerly sets new salsa on kitchen counter, with touching innocence)) No?
Me: Aaaaaack! [Cathy style, starts rampaging through Matthew's closet with 30 minutes until the party]

Don't worry though, because THIS suddenly occurred to me:

It looks even swankier when paired with the leopard print couch!!
I really out-do myself in hoarding weird vintage clothes, men's and women's both. Backstory: I was going to dress Matthew up as a shriner (remember my great fez?)-- come to find out, it is sorely looked upon for non-shriners to wear masonic garb (my bad). I thought maybe Matthew could dress as Edgar Allan Poe-- EAP's a favorite of mine, plus heck, Matthew looks a little like him...but I was unable to locate any of the umpteen ravens I bought in a fit of The Birds decorating mania one year (and too proud to buy another). Saturday morning, at the flea market, I found a fez (with a vinyl carrying case...no joke!) on a $5 table outside the dairy exhibition building, and picked it up thinking I might be able to dress him up as Victor Mature in The Shanghai Gesture, a kind of suave, desert lothario. Finally, we hit upon inspiration...a French Morrocan waiter in an old forties' movie! No, seriously! Matthew's friend Brian texted him to ask if my parents' party was a dress-up thing, and Matthew texted him back the following picture with the caption, "You tell me" :
I drew his moustache in a little crooked, but he's still adorable.
I know you're going "Why would you think forties' waiter first off when seeing a fez like this?", and do you know, I searched the internet up and down to try and explain to Matthew where it was his costume inspiration was coming from. Many, many hits on Wilmer Valderrama later, I was able to find this Australian costume company website's "1920's waiter costume", which I combined here with a photo of the exterior of Rick's Café Americain from Casablanca:
See! I'm not crazy! (N.B.: I may still be crazy)
We used a white Navy dress-uniform jacket (the Navy equivalent of a black-tie uniform) and a cummerbund from some long ago estate sale, a seventies' bow-tie that is a little too John Travolta, but it couldn't be helped, a pair of white gloves, and the fez from the flea market...and voilĂ ! Costume. My husband says to me on the ride over to the party, "I am more than happy to be the canvas. And this is a really great costume!" Crisis averted. Look at the stamp inside the fez:

The same hat on Worthpoint here

Authentic, huh! I thought it was just a very good quality party fez...turns out, it's the real deal from Cairo, probably sometime in the fifties'! The same hat, with the same case, sold on ebay.co.uk in 2011 for $78 USD. GOOD GRIEF! Score.

Here's Matthew and my dad from the party itself-- I love how they look like they're from the same movie, Pappy as a Clark-Gable-in-Mogambo style safarist, and Matthew as a local double agent at the Casbah Club. We grabbed one of my many serving trays for him to use as a prop, and what's more, it came in handy! Soon, Sus, her husband Matt, and I were sipping Coke Zeros and crackin' up about Halloweens past, as Matthew murmured in his best faux French accent, "Mesdames, messieurs, bienvenue to ze Casbah clooob.". Later, we carved pumpkins with the Huberts, and had a ball! It was a great start to whatever else Halloween season 2013 has in store for us!

What's your favorite "last minute" costume? Have any strokes of genius in the midst of a panic? Are you more of a "planning it for months" costumier or a "Um, I'm...uh...a college student?" type fancy dress donner? Let's talk!

That's all for today but more shrieks and scares on the blog tomorrow. I'll see you then!



  1. I love the idea that Coke Zero was being served to Bogie and Becall! I am still only halfway done with my costume. It will hopefully come together

    1. Haha, a modern update on the old glass coke bottles! I warned Matthew about a tray like that filled with drinks-- once, I was trying to "put on the dog" for his visiting family and prepared a whole tray of glasses with ice and lemonade, very pretty presentation, right? Little did I know, as anyone who's been a server before would have, you have to BALANCE. THE TRAY. Or heck, set it down before you start passing out drinks! I almost spilled the kit and kaboodle in his Memaw's lap (at which time, I would have actually just committed hari-kiri, on the spot, without hesitation)-- I didn't, but there was a second that felt like a year where the whole tray shuddered and I took a year off my own life!

      I'm keeping a good thought for your costume, I know it will be great!! :)

  2. Love it! Sometimes the last minute ideas are best as they aren't overdone, simply perfect. And the crooked moustache is actually a cute little detail. Well done!!!

    I once tied a can of coke to a friend's head and put flour under his nose and he went as a 'coke head'. Does that count?

    1. HAHAHAHAHA COKEHEAD. Brilliant. I bet it was a hit, too!

  3. I've been a blog reader, a quiet one, but this post drew me out. How hilarious! What a great fez find and story. So glad it all worked out!

    1. Thanks for reading and for your kind comment, Laurie!! Happy Halloweeeeeen! :)

  4. The waiter thing is just brilliant; so love to see people using their imaginations! A breath of fresh air! I bet you look great together as Stevie and the 20's waiter!

    1. I just love that he lets me come up with these crazy costumes and is fully committed to whatever I come up with after I come up with it. He's a real sport! :)



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