Clothes Craft History STEM Your Gal Friday

Halloween Costumes Inspired by Your Gal Friday

We’re super proud of our student-friendly podcast Your Gal Friday. Launched in 2017, it has released remarkable episodes about gals of history. The show even an award for Best Family Podcast. So we thought why not celebrate the legacy of these gals a little more by giving you some awesome Halloween costuming ideas.

Annie Jump Cannon

Dress as an astronomer who, in a time when women couldn’t vote and were rarely accepted for their scientific minds, classified the stars in a system that is still used today. Learn more about Annie. 

The elements we suggest are a combination of college years and older Annie.

  • Hairstyle: up in messy bun.
  • Clothing: 1930’s style suit with matching skirt or 1890’s Victorian dress.
  • Accessory: Annie’s trademark long pearls she wore later in life.
  • Carrying Accessory: Carry with you a glass plate. Take the glass (or plastic) from a 8×10 frame. Put black duck tape around the edges. Flick black paint on the frame for stars. With a sharpie add numbers and notations like the image above.

Julia Child

Dress as “our lady of the ladle” who peppered our TV screens and our bookshelves to share the love of French cooking. Learn more about Julia. 

The elements we suggest are:

  • Hairstyle: Auburn, short and curly.
  • Clothing: Her blue collared shirt is the most iconic. Pair with a knee-length navy skirt and a navy waist apron. We found a close up on her patch her husband Paul made for her reading “Ecole Des Gourmandes”.
  • Accessory: She many times wore a short string of pearls, though not all the time.
  • Carrying Accessories: carry with you your favorite kitchen item; a ladle, a whisk or Mastering the Art of French Cooking book by Julia Child, Simone Beck, and Louisette Bertholle.

Mary Anderson

Not many know the inventor of the windshield wiper was Mary Anderson, but we adore her! Learn more about Mary. 

We’re partial the older picture of Mary as it’s the one attached more frequently to her. The elements we suggest are:

  • Hairstyle: a loose side braid pulling the hair back.
  • Clothing: we think it’s a floral (maybe red) patterned caftan. We love this easy 3-seam pattern. Complete with a dark flower.
  • Accessory: round wire-rimmed glasses.
  • Carrying Accessory: what would be better for this costume than a windshield wiper.

Susan B. Anthony

Dress as a gal who dedicated her life to women’s rights and fought hard for the right to vote. Learn more about Susan. 

There are children’s costumes available for Susan on Amazon. Also Take Back Halloween is a fantastic resource. The elements we suggest are:

  • Hairstyle: brown or grey hair parted down the middle then back into a bun.
  • Clothing: Susan wore a lot of black dresses with a high collar that was either black or white. At her neck was was commonly a cameo pendant/pin.
  • Accessory: round wire-rimmed glasses for the grey haired Susan.
  • Carrying Accessories: a dollar coin with Susan on it, or a sign reading “Votes for Women.”
  • Bonus idea: Have your BFF dress up as Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Elizabeth wrote Susan’s speeches and the two spent more time together than anyone else.

Ada Lovelace

Dress as the mother of computers. Her work with Charles Babbage was nearly 100 years before the first working computer was completed but she set the groundwork with the world’s first algorithm. Learn more about Ada. 

Pictured right is an incredible costume by a professor of computer science named Alice. She has great images of how she created the costume on her blog. We are in awe of this! Also Take Back Halloween has another Ada option from one of her portraits. The elements we suggest are:

  • Hairstyle: the hairstyle is a tricky one but it’s iconic. On Alice’s Blog she has some tips. There is also the idea of buying the Princess Leia headband buns available on Amazon if you already have brown hair. Yellow flower with double ribbon “headband” in front and black flowers in the back.
  • Clothing: That gown screams to be handmade with loving care however an existing purple dress could be modified with trimmings on the sleeves. The rest of the dress appears to be a sheer black shall attached to the back of her hair running down her back and around her shoulders.
  • Accessory: White gloves.
  • Carrying Accessory: a gold fan.

Jane Addams

Dress as the Mother of Social Work. She founded the template for what is the modern day YMCA or Boys & Girls Club. Her settlement known as Hull House utilized the neighborhood for social and civic change.  She was a pacifist and an activist for peace and in 1931 she was the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Learn more about Jane.

The elements we suggest are:

  • Hairstyle: hair parted in the middle but loosely pulled back to a low bun. 
  • Clothing: High-necked black dress with lacy or puffy sleeves. We found an incredible match on Lightinthebox.

Harriet Tubman

Dress as a remarkable rebel. Born into slavery, she not only escaped but she made 13 rescue missions to save family and friends. In the Civil War she was a nurse, an armed scout and a spy. She was the first woman to lead war-time troops. Learn more about Harriet.

There are children’s costumes available for purchase on Amazon. For an adult version the elements we suggest are:

  • Hairstyle: either covered with a scarf/bandanna or parted down the middle and pulled back.
  • Clothing: Any image above would be wonderful inspiration for your Harriet costume. Option #1 an over-sized, non-shear shawl (possibly even a blanket), with a floor length skirt. The shirt appears to either be white or have a white collar. Option #2 a long coat buttoned to the top, with a stripped skirt. Option #3 a 2 piece dress with buttoned top and long sleeves, the white lace around her neck is called a jabot, and a floor-length skirt.
  • Carrying Accessories: a lantern, and we don’t suggest it but she was known to carry a riffle.

Ella Fitzgerald

Dress as one of the top Jazz singers in history. Named the “First lady of song” she won 13 Grammys and sold more than 40 million albums. She sang songs from the Great American Songbook and made them her own. Learn more about Ella.

The elements we suggest are:

  • Hairstyle: curly, short or up. Ella had some amazing up do’s!
  • Clothing: low neckline dresses and beading were Ella’s go to.
  • Accessory: We love the hat! However also Ella rocked sparking earrings that were either studded or teardrop.
  • Carrying Accessories: a 1940’s style microphone would be a wonderful addition to this costume.

Bessie Coleman

Embody the fearlessness of a gal who in a time when women, African-Americans, and Native Americans were banned from learning how to fly – she did. In her own words, she “refused to accept ‘no’ for an answer” With nail-biting barnstorming aerial stunt performances, this gal kept you on the edge of your seat. An inspiration to many, including astronauts, this gal used the airplane to promote equal rights and civil rights. Learn more about Bessie. 

Take Back Halloween has a great resource for putting together a Bessie Coleman outfit. The elements we suggest are:

  • Hairstyle: it won’t matter if you rock the aviator hat. Amazon has one.
  • Clothing: Bessie wore military style clothing when she flew. Look for a long military jacket with a V-front. White shirt underneath. You can add either a thin white jabot with a pin, or a dark necktie or a dark scarf. Either pants with a lot of room in the thighs or go period authentic and look for military breeches.
  • Accessories: Aviator hat and goggles. She wore a Sam Browne belt (thanks to Take Back Halloween for knowing what that is called!) where it’s a belt around your waist as well as on one shoulder. TBH has some ideas and links. Another accessory is just-below-the-knee lace up boots.
  • Carrying Accessories: print out her pilot’s licence (pictured above) to show off your certification that gals really can fly!

Coco Chanel

Her name has graced perfume, clothing, and handbags since the 1920’s. She freed women from the constraints of the corset and popularized a sporty and casual elegance. Because of her, most women have in their closet a little black dress. This feisty gal created an empire and brand that still exists today. Learn more about Coco. 

The elements we suggest are:

  • Hairstyle: short, wavy, pulled away from the face and dark.
  • Clothing: You can rock a Chanel jacket with a pencil skirt but her long sleeve black dresses were super iconic as well.
  • Accessories: Get all the fake pearls you can find. Coco wore loads of costume jewelry, in fact she’s credited with popularizing it. Load on bracelets on both wrists, the bigger the better. Her earrings were big and sparkly but not usually long or tear-drop. She also wore (and made) hats, lots of options to choose from when it comes to Coco’s love of hats.
  • Carrying Accessories: well a Chanel handbag of course!

Hedy Lamarr

Embody the beauty and brains of a gal Louis B. Mayer coined “the world’s most beautiful woman.” Her patent, with George Antheil, is the blueprint for a technology we all use today;  it’s called Frequency Hopping and it’s used in cell phones, Bluetooth and in Wi-Fi. Learn more about Hedy. 

Take Back Halloween also has a great list of elements to create a Hedy costume. We suggest:

  • Hairstyle: shoulder-length. wavy, parted down the middle and black.
  • Clothing: Hedy was glamour. If you can rock the star-outfit from Ziegfeld Girl we know it would be stunning. She loved to wear low necklines and show off her shoulders. She wore a lot of white gowns but also looked fierce in a low-cut black mermaid dresses.
  • Accessories: She’d sometimes wear big necklaces in a movie role but generally she didn’t. She did rock tear-drop earrings a lot.
  • Carrying Accessories: a cell phone, why? Because her patent made it possible.

Alice Guy Blaché

Dress as the first female filmmaker.  Her innovations include: being the first to tell a story on film, first to use sound, first to feature inter-racial casts, creation the music video, developing a “natural” acting style, and was the first female to run a movie studio which was also the largest pre-Hollywood studio in America. There is so much more to Alice.

The elements we suggest are:

  • Hairstyle: parted to the right and loosely pulled back or in a bun on top.
  • Clothing: Her famous photo on the left is a little trickier to do if you’re not making the dress yourself. However the outfit on the right we found something very similar on Victorian Choice. Add to that a fake-fur wrap and you’ve got history in the making.
  • Accessories: She wore simple earrings of pearls or stones and a short single chain necklace with stones.
  • Carrying Accessories: She used on set a camera like this. The one she is holding in the image on the right is a Le Kinora by Gaumont. A prop could be made out of wood or cardboard for either camera.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s