A Smurfy Package

by Melanie Hooyenga

Halloween is one of the few holidays where creativity is encouraged and pointing and laughing by others is not only considered to be a good thing, it's the ultimate goal. Having been the center of more than my share of jokes (tripping over thin air tends to draw attention) I get a thrill in that breath of a moment between first glance and the spark of understanding that crosses a person's face when they behold my creation.

Armed with the skills acquired in an eighth-grade home economics class, I've turned myself into a flamingo (two pink feather boas and a box of safety pins that didn't stay closed nearly as well as advertised), Wilma Flintstone (red beehive wig, white Styrofoam balls, and a dress I literally sewed myself into), Little Sprout (felt, nylons, felt, felt, and more green paint than will ever come in contact with my face again), and a blow-up doll (best comment from a fellow partygoer: How'd you get out from under my bed?), but the costume that drew more snickering than I anticipated goes back to my college days:


Between my long blond hair, somewhat capable sewing skills, and a plethora of bright blue clothing at my disposal, I figured I could whip together a costume after class and still make it to happy hour on time.

The hat was easy: white knit cap with enough extra material on top to list gently to one side. Earrings? White plastic shower rings ripped from my roommate's bathroom. Add a pair of blue leggings, white socks, and god-awful white pumps I borrowed from some fashion-disaster down the hall and all I had left was the dress.

This is where my creativity shined.

After cutting the sleeves of a men's undershirt, I pondered the flimsy shirt pooled on the table. The lack of shape and quasi-transparent material seemed a stretch from the overly-starched dress sported by the Smurfette in my youth.

Solution? A wire hanger, unraveled and sewn into the hem of the shirt. The metal hoop kept the "dress" from clinging to my legs and hid the fact that if you looked closely you could probably see my Smurfs.

I headed to the party arm-in-arm with my roommate, ready to dazzle the drunks at my boyfriend's fraternity party, certain they would all be amazed by my ability to turn a few items from my closet into a cartoon masterpiece. Things went as expected for the first hour — me charming and gracious while accepting glowing praise — but then one boy stumped me.

"Where are the other two?" he asked.

"What other two?"

"The other two condoms. Three-pack, right?"

Yes folks, in the dark, black-lit basement, all people could see were my white "rimmed" dress and floppy hat, complete with a reservoir tip.

Never one to let a miscommunication ruin my evening, I strutted my stuff, lamented the early demise of my partners, and managed to win best costume.

Melanie Hooyenga is a salsa dancing graphic designer writing her way to publication. When not chasing her Miniature Schnauzer in circles around the living room, she’s dodging woodland creatures who insist on swooping in front of her car. She’s still looking for a costume idea and asks that you send suggestions to @melaniehoo.

Find Melanie on a regular basis at Hoosblog.


  1. OMG!! ROFL!!! Love how you turned it around FTW! Lucky we know how to laugh at ourselves first. You rock!

  2. Who am I if I can't laugh at myself, then invite others to join in? ;)

  3. At least you were well protected in that costume! :)

  4. that is seriously tee hee worthy...


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