Wicked Halloween Costume Ideas, Enchanting Tricks & Delicious Treats

Headless Ghosts of the 1700s

by Bonnie and Beth Abelew
(Plainview, NY)

Aladdin and Phoenix as the Gray Gentleman and the Luminous Lady

Aladdin and Phoenix as the Gray Gentleman and the Luminous Lady

This photo is of our dogs Aladdin and Phoenix dressed up as Headless Ghosts of the 1700s. When first starting to work on this, we began by thinking about what we could do for costumes that would be a little different.

We decided to try to create an illusion that would make it appear as if one dog was headless and holding his head in his arms.

We weren't sure at first what sort of headless character to create. We were thinking about Marie Antoinette, but we wanted something our other dog could be paired with.

We eventually decided to go with old-fashioned colonial looking ghosts. We've always liked those old-fashioned ghosts with the long gray outfits and interesting old hair styles.

So, even though both our dogs were boys, we decided to do one male and one female ghost.

Then we got the idea that the other ghost could be chopping off the head of the first ghost. We felt like that would make a more interesting scene. We also decided to create a story to go with our picture. We wanted to give the ghosts interesting spooky names, like ghosts we've heard of, such as the Lady in White.

So, we came up with The Gray Gentleman for the male ghost and The Luminous Lady, for the female ghost. We like alliteration.

We also wanted to give them a history, and explain what was happening in the scene. We wrote a legend up to go with the characters we'd created. We wanted something that sounded Halloweeny and explained the story of how the ghost lost his head, and why the girl ghost cut it off.

This is the story we created:

Have you ever heard the legend of the ghosts of the Luminous Lady and the Gray Gentleman?

This young couple was courting back in the 1700's, but their parents did not approve. They agreed to sneak off one night late in October and elope.

They decided to meet by the waterfall at midnight.

When the Lady got there, however, the Gentleman told her he had changed his mind. The Lady became enraged and pushed the gentleman away from her. He began to lose his balance and grabbed onto the Lady, and they both toppled into the waterfall and they drowned in the strong currents.

To this day, the Lady is always spotted glowing with rage every All Hallow's Eve, and so her ghost is called the Luminous Lady.

Every year at midnight the Lady becomes so angry with the Gentleman for pulling her into the water that she takes out a sword and swipes off his head. The Gray Gentleman then carries his head until the following evening, when he is able to reattach it.

We'll explain a little about how we created the costumes.

We based both costumes off of old ghost costume pieces. For the headless ghost, we measured the spot at which a hole needed to be cut so that the dog wearing it could put his head through while he was in a sitting position.

We needed something for the neck and shoulders, so we got a mannequin torso on ebay made out of white plastic. We wanted it to look ghostly, and not just like plain plastic, so we dry-brushed it with gray paint to create a shadowy look, and then added red paint to be the blood dripping from the neck.

For the hands, we attached long silver gloves to the sleeves of the jacket, and stuffed them with stuffing to give them a more realistic look.

We then attached one glove under the hole for the head, and the other to the wig the dog would be wearing. That way, when the dog stuck his head in and put on the wig, the hands appeared to be holding up his head.

For the female ghost, we cut up the dress with a jagged edge to fit better, since the dress was very long and intended for an adult human. It was a sleeveless dress, so we used a white long sleeved shirt underneath, which we stuffed up to make it look like it had shoulders, as well as also stuffing another pair of gloves.

We attached a plastic sword, which we painted to look bloody, to one of the hands. The dog then just had to put on the shirt and dress, and we added a tall old fashioned gray wig.

The dog who was the female ghost was sitting up on a cube for the picture, so it looked like the height difference made sense.

We then hung a black tablecloth for a backdrop. We also a hung another long thin strip of black tablecloth running along the bottom. This covered the paws of the dog who was sitting on the floor, as well as the cube the other dog was sitting on.

We then pulled the dress and jacket over the tablecloth piece, to help maintain the illusion. This made it look like the ghosts were floating.

We worked very hard on these costumes and set-up and we hope everyone enjoys the picture!

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