In My Family, Halloween Means One Thing: Latex

The Project Runway star and mother of six on her annual visit to a fetish shop.


I had to cancel all of my appointments today because I put in pair of freaky contact lenses last night for a Halloween party, and I can't get them out. These lenses white out my eyes entirely except for a small black spot in the center, which I see through. They are a very clever design; imagine a white donut painted on a contact lens, and the effect is ultra creepy.

I can see perfectly with them in, and they are completely comfortable, but because I only wear them once a year, it’s very hard for me to put them in and take them out. After many years they are still in surprisingly good condition because I carefully store them in their little case and check that the fluid hasn’t evaporated. The problem is I just can’t get used to touching my eyeball. I had to go up to my neighbor’s apartment and have her put them in, amid much blinking and tearing, but I couldn’t go up there at 1am when I returned home and ask her to extract them from my head, so I slept in them and tried to get them out this morning, to no avail. Finding them uncomfortably disconcerting, most people avert their eyes when I speak to them so a business meeting is out of the question. In fact that morning, trying to get my kids off to school, my twelve year old said, “Mom, really, I’ll make my own breakfast, I can’t look at you.”

Each boy, armed with a handful of silicone, rubs me down until I shine like a brand new sex toy in a Times Square window (before Disney took over Times Square).

I use these contacts every Halloween because I wear a variation of the same costume every year; my husband is always a mad scientist, and I go as his creation. My husband looks like a mad scientist every day of the year, right out of central casting with his tattered tweeds and bushy mustache and eyebrows, so all he needs is a lab coat and a slight upward coaxing of his white Einstein shock of hair. My get-up is more complicated. In addition to the contacts it always involves an elaborate wig and some version of a latex dress, because much like a favorite dish at Thanksgiving, for me it wouldn’t be Halloween without latex. My dress this year is black, knee length and backless, with long sleeves and buckles at the neck and waist. I bought it at a fetish shop in the east village, one of the last New York neighborhoods that haven’t been sanitized of its sex shops.

Wearing latex is quite ritualistic. These garments are quite difficult to get into, and there is an entire process needed to make it happen. First you need to cover your body with baby powder, and powder the inside of the garment as well. Then you step into it and sort of roll it up, hoping you get it in the proper place, because it is very difficult to reposition. Once you have the garment on, it is covered in the baby powder both inside and out, so it essentially has to be polished. My boys do this job, and are always happy to help. Each boy, armed with a handful of silicone, rubs me down until I shine like a brand new sex toy in a Times Square window (before Disney took over Times Square). I can only wonder what lasting affects this activity will have on their sexuality, but I figure they will end up in therapy for one reason or another anyway. We take Halloween very seriously in this family, so to my boys; their mother dressing like Frankenstein’s Dominatrix is par for the course.

Feeling fortunate to be invited to this fancy party to benefit Central Park, I felt my husband and I really stood out in a room full of Sarah Palins; Sarah and the Moose, Sarah and John McCain, Sarah as a beauty queen, and an entire passel of pigs in lipstick. I stood nearly six and a half feet tall, thanks to my platform shoes and a two-foot tall albino Afro finished off with a top hat. Just imagine how great I looked, this creepy Amazon scientist’s masterpiece in a second skin rubber dress, wearing six inch Jimmy Choo’s with ominous white eyes and hair, being led around by my creator. But as we moved throughout the crowd during the evening, the only comment heard whispered many times was, “I think that’s his real hair!”