Chicago Halloween

I met one of my best friends, Amber, when we were paired together randomly as roommates exactly one week before the first semester started my junior year of college. I spent most of the five hour drive to school worrying that we’d hate each other. After talking to her for five minutes (and seeing her closet, which is the stuff of legends), I knew we had nothing to worry about. After graduation I moved back to Detroit, but Halloween in Chicago is our tradition.

We both love to dress up, and Halloween allows us all the creative license we want with what we wear out that night. The sky is the limit, and we are always inspired by the 2001 movie Moulin Rouge! (if you haven’t seen it, go watch it right now!) My costume is based on the main character, Satine, who was played flawlessly by Nicole Kidman. I pulled from two of her most iconic outfits: the glittering, beaded masterpiece that she wears as she performs “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend,” and the gorgeous black lingerie she wears in the scene where she tries to seduce the Duke/Christian.

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Photos property of Twentieth Century Fox Corporation.

Amber’s costume is based on the music video for “Lady Marmalade,” one of the most iconic songs from the movie’s soundtrack. The video is as extravagant as the movie itself, and features Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya, Pink, and Missy Elliott. It’s filled with incredible cabaret-themed lingerie and lots of glitter.

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Photo property of Interscope Records/ Fox Music.

Both of our costumes are made entirely from things we already owned. A corset was definitely in order for my Satine costume. Mine is the real deal –it is a steel-boned longline corset. If you’re planning on buying one, do your research, take your measurements, and read the reviews! Corsets can be difficult to fit. Beneath the corset I wore an old black leotard and a simple black garter belt for my stockings. I added a long swath of black tulle, tucked under the edges of the corset, to add a little more volume to the costume. Then I added black heels, long black opera gloves, a top hat, and lots of diamond jewelry. On the way to the party, I wore a long black evening coat over the whole thing. I’d be lying if I said this costume was comfortable, but it was worth it –I felt amazing in it!

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Amber wore a beautiful sheer black peplum corset with gold embroidery. Her corset had garters attached to hold her stockings up. She added to it by attaching a bustle of black feathers to the back –she made it herself from a long feather boa! Her shoes were an old pair of character shoes from her days of high school theater. She gave them several coats of glitter spray paint to make them sparkle. She finished her look with ruched satin opera gloves and diamond jewelry as well, including in her hair –a nod to Christina Aguilera’s voluminous hair and diamond headpiece from the music video. To top it all off, she added tiny rhinestones around her eyes.

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Amber chooses the party we attend each year. She picked a winner this year –a fabulous haunted hotel party at the IO Godfrey Rooftop Lounge at the Godfrey Hotel. The view was incredible –we were surrounded by the glittery Chicago skyline. The floor below was a series of “haunted” hotel rooms you could walk through. Unfortunately, the Godfrey did a fantastic job of creating a haunted hotel, and we were totally creeped out, so we spent most of our time up at the rooftop lounge, where there was plenty of champagne and no ghosts!


All in all, it was an amazing night. After that, we went home, spent what seemed like an ungodly amount of time trying to get back out of these costumes and into our pajamas. Halloween is over and we’re back to dressing more like ourselves and less like 19th century courtesans…but we can’t wait for next year.

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A lot of the pieces were found in old costume boxes or are from past seasons, so most of the links are for items that are really similar!