There are lots of terrible, offensive Halloween costumes on sale this year, as usual. While you’re figuring out a feminist costume this week, get inspired by some clever costumes by the feminist filmmaker Cheryl Furjanic, who has won awards for her documentaries and her costumes.
Cheryl Furjanic‘s Back on Board: Greg Louganis, a new documentary feature about the gay, HIV+ Olympic champion is getting great buzz and won the audience award at Outfest. Furjanic’s previous feature documentary, Sync or Swim, about swimmers trying to get onto the all women’s synchronized swim team for the Olympics received numerous awards including a Billie Award for Journalism from the Women’s Sports Foundation. She also recently signed on as the Consulting Producer for the documentary Reel in the Closet.
But that’s not all! Furjanic’s Halloween costumes are a refreshing alternative to the “sexy [insert animal or profession]” available at a store near you. And, like her films, they’ve won awards, from the now closed Brooklyn lesbian bar Cattyshack. RIP.
I asked the New York-based Furjanic about her “process,” and she explained,
For as long as I can remember I’ve always loved Halloween. But sometime around middle school something shifted. My grandmother had given me a book of creative costumes that you could make yourself. That gave me an insight into costume construction and I started making costumes from the book. People responded really well to them and I just kept going. I outgrew the book at some point and spent a bunch of years making bizarre and/or elaborate costumes (I once dressed as Hanson, the entire boy band).
At some point I came up with the idea to dress as an idiom or a play on words and things kind of took off from there. The living room of my apartment is my costume workshop. It’s a real scene with foam and tape and glue everywhere. Sometimes friends come over to hang out (or help) while I’m building. Often we’ll all make our costumes together and then go out together. The best part for me is walking around the city and having people guess what I’m dressed as. And my friends are always eager to find out what I’m going to be that year.
When I asked Furjanic if she had ever felt pressure to wear “sexy” or “pretty” costumes, she responded, “Depends on your definition of pretty/sexy. I’ve absolutely never felt pressure to dress in a revealing costume. But I find smarts and a sense of humor to be pretty sexy. So my version is a clever costume where I can’t fit through doorways and have trouble sitting down.”
Check out some of Furjanic’s costumes below. See if you can guess what they are. I put the captions under the photos so don’t cheat!
1. THE MALE GAZE
2. HELL IN A HAND BASKET
3. THE STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL’S BACK
5. A FISH OUT OF WATER
6. A FORK IN THE ROAD
7. A FLY ON THE WALL
8. CHICK MAGNET
New Yorkers! Back on Board will premiere in NYC on November 16th at DOCNYC. Furjanic and Louganis will both be there.