Julie Tarp

Julie Tarp
Born and bred in Texas. I'm a Screenwriter with a script currently in Development in La-La Land. Met and fell in love with my husband who is an actual cowboy. We have a 140 head cow/calf operation. He does the hard work, I just write about it.


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OCTOBER 29, 2009 2:00PM

Ode to the Costume Closet

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The costume closet was a place of wonder growing up.  Need a wig?  You got it.  Need a fur stole?  Yep.  Need some skin tight, paint-splattered tights?  We have those too.  It seems as though my mom saved everything that could possibly come in handy some day.  Have an idea and it’s not in the magical closet?  Mom will make it.

   Ah The 80s  Im sooo punk and hardcore

 Apparently, I like this pose.

Now, some things she made were just a hair off the mark.  Remember the super scary Thriller keyboard shirt?  It was a little more flash than fear.  One year, I wanted to be the Pink Panther for Halloween.  Mom got right to work on the costume.  I couldn’t wait.  She worked and worked, sewing at the dining table for weeks.  When it was finished, just in time, I was so excited.  (No, I have no idea why I was excited to be the Pink Panther.I rushed into my room to put on the get-up and realized immediately there was a slight problem.  While it had a fabulously long tail, it also came with bunny ears.  Floppy bunny ears.  I was some sort of mutated version of a rabbit and a cat.  In between my parents’ laughter, I somehow gathered up the courage and made it out the door for a night of trick or treating.  A night filled with, “What are you little girl?”  “The Pink Panther?” I’d reply in question form.  I’m pretty sure I received extra candy that year out of pity for the poor bunny/cat girl.

 Bad kitty

Bad cat…er…bunny!

While I’m almost positive this wasn’t a purposeful mistake, looking back, mom tried to make the best of it.  She said, “See?  You can disarm people into thinking you’re a cute little bunny.  But then, you can turn around and show them you are a mean panther.”  I was too offended at her claims that the Pink Panther was ferocious to hear what she was really telling me – go with the joke.

There are no lengths my mom won’t go to for a joke.  When my aunt who lives in Minnesota was turning 50, my mother wanted to surprise her.  She arranged with my oldest cousin to fly in and he would get her to their cabin in the woods of Wisconsin without anyone knowing.  Oh, just one more thing Roger, “Can you rent me a bear costume?”  “Sure, as long as it’s not for me.”   My smart cousin, Roger, is on to her after all these years.  She makes up all these skit and costume ideas, saying she’s the one doing everything, only to find out that we’re the ones with the starring roles.  “Oh, no, I promise, it’s for me.” Just in case, Roger ordered an XXS costume so she would be the only one to fit in it.

After her sneaky arrival, Roger and my mom managed to get up to the cabin with no problem ahead of my aunt and uncle.  Off she went into the woods, dressed as a bear, in the blazing heat of summer.  She found the perfect spot to hide.  I imagine it was very close to the same place I’d waited years and years earlier for that elusive snipe.  Finally, everyone gathered around the campfire and she went in for the attack - growling and pawing at her target.  S’mores went flying.  Pants were peed.

Now, did she want to see her sister and surprise her on her birthday?  Yes.  But, she could have just as easily hid in a bedroom at the cabin.  Instead, she took time off of work, hopped on a plane, travelled over two thousand mile and waited a total of four hours in 90-something degree weather in a full-on bear costume just to get a laugh.  Even if it’s a small one, it doesn’t matter. 

Saturday Night Live was always a big deal in our house.  Every single one of us loved it.  After all, it was good back then.  In high school, we had to do a book report from a biography.  I chose Gilda Radner, who was as strong of a woman as she was a comedienne.  I wondered if I should go through with it as the other kids were giving their reports – all proper and everything.  In the end, I did.  I pulled out my wig and went for it, doing the whole report as Roseanne Roseannadanna.  I think my friends were just laughing at me because I looked and sounded ridiculous.  But my teacher, at least, got it.  It didn't really matter to me either way.  <i>I</i> was having fun.

Since SNL was a part of our daily lives, one year for Halloween, my parents dressed as the Coneheads for a party.  It’s amazing, although not surprising, we owned all the items required for the costumes. 

Mr and Mrs Conehead

Is that a light saber?

On the way to the party, my mom needed to stop and get some batteries for her camera.  Now, this is Dallas.  On Halloween.  So nothing really surprises people that much.  It’s expected to see people in costumes everywhere.  Even 7-11.  But, I don’t think the guy behind the counter was expecting Prymaat Conehead.  Pacing back and forth, in her best robotic voice she said, “Batteries.  Must have fuel.  Mmm.  Batteries.  Need batteries.”  While she heard someone at the back of the store laugh, the guy at the counter stood with his mouth agape.  “Huh?”  She nodded with her big cone head in the general direction behind him.  “Must have batteries.  Getting low.”  I won’t go into how long it took to get the correct size of said batteries or how many times she walked into the glass door to exit until someone opened it for her while my dad sat in the car rolling his eyes, but she didn’t care.  She went for it.  I’m thankful to have been taught this valuable lesson from her.

Another one I learned?  A little moon goes a long way.


Theres a new moon on the rise


                 Happy Halloween!  Here's to howlin' at the moon!










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Your mom was indeed a funny and talented lady. I bet there was a house full of smiles as you were growing up too.
And many tears of laughter Torman, thanks for stopping by.
This was most excellent. I had a series of sad, sad costumes. I don't think that there's one picture of them.
First off, those are not Guess jeans.

Second, I'm in awe of your mother's embracing of the absurd.
T&D - You're lucky not to have evidence. Sadly, the first shots are just random days - not even Halloween.

JK - If she's quiet, beware - she's plotting something.

I loved that skit! I love physical comedy - when done right. I need to get a set of those old SNL skits. I called Paul and ignorant slut just the other day and he responding by calling me a whore. Ah, youth.
I had a friend who went to a breast cancer charity costume party dressed as a bee. They made a video of it and interviewed several people on why the party was important. Of course they picked on my friend, and there she was on camera discussing the importance of the event with antennae waggling and her wings falling off her back.
You are correct about the jeans. It's horribly embarrassing. But, but this was on a ski trip and she bought them to wear under her ski bib. Because apparently, layers of down just won't cut it. But, add a layer of scotch-guarded denim? You'll never feel a chill.
That picture is OBVIOUSLY photoshopped. Everyone knows that Darth Vader went to Tatooine West High School, and the Coneheads went to Remulac Central. Arch rivals never go trick or treating together.
Madcelt - Ha! Hard to be taken seriously when you have crippled wings and antennae boinging around.
Um, OBVIOUSLY, Sheldon, Beldar kicked Darth's ass in the inter-galactic Space bowl and took his light saber. Duh.
This was fun, right down to the "Plumber's Pants!"
Your mom knew how make Halloween fun. Memories like these are priceless. ~R~
Gary - I decided not to go for the "full moon" shot. I figure that little sliver is blinding enough.

Chuck - I only hope I can be as fabulous when I have kids.
Ha! Sheldon - I just realized that Darth's in the picture! It's so dark, I didn't see. So, I'll rephrase my previous response:

After Beldar kicked Darth's ass in the inter-galactic Space Bowl, he made Darth his bitch and forced him to hang with him. He didn't mind as he had a thing for my mom, which created more problems down the line as you can imagine.
Ah, ute -- too bad it's wasted on the young! That last shot wasn't wasted, tho, it definitely "cracked" me up
As my mom would say, Tom - I'll get you the Elmer's glue. nyuck, nyuck, nyuck...
Your posts are like tonic for my soul! But I don't think you can blackmail someone who's fearless :)
Love the cone heads! We still refer to the parents as the UNITS! As in parental units! FUN!
Aw, Harry - thanks!

Tiger - They are like these things from another planet until some point, no? Thanks for drooping by.
Julie, this is a fabulous post. Love your Mom for her energy and insistence that life is not all sour so let's have a little fun!
I went to a party as Gong Show's "The Unknown Comic" - paper sack, too short pants and all. The hardest part was doing recycled Henny Youngman schtick for hours. Elevator business...too many ups and down.

Now for something completely different...“Every one is a moon, and has a dark side which (s)he never shows to anybody” - Mark Twain
Great post for a great and funny mom!!!

Back in the 70s (long, long ago) I went to an all-girl HS and a group of us went as the Conehead family - your truly was Beldar!
I once dressed up as a 1930s bank robber with wooden tommy gun. On the way to the party I stopped at a 7-11. The moment I entered, I realized I was carrying a machine gun. The look on the clerk's face was priceless!
Love those poses! I had to come here after reading your comment about your mom signing her credit receipt Mary Christmas. Hoped I'd find more funny. Good instinct, I was right! A new favorite!
You mom and my friend Kay sound like they may have best friends. What a lucky girl you are!
Ha, nice nostalgia. We had a "dress up drawer" when I was growing up for year-round playing in various costumes, which were my parent's cast off clothes and also bits of various Halloween costumes -- so we'd also dig thru this each year to put one together. Best "toy" I had in my childhood -- endless hours of fantasy and play-acting!
Oh my god, the part about being Mrs. Conehead in the 7-11 is priceless, even more than being the Bear, which is pretty fn priceless!

I Love Your Mom!
Hehehe. Love this! Ah, what memories. your Mom sounds like a real corker. And congrates on the EP. I've often wondered what that feels like. Highly Rrrrrrrrrrrated!
I love your mom and your costume closet!!! This was exactly what I needed to read after spending 3 hectic hours trying to throw together costumes for my kids. My sons Travelocity gnome costume is probably right up there with your Pink Panther. You should have heard me standing next to him in the mirror convincing him the stuff that I had just hot glued together looked just like the guy in the commercials!
So funny--all of it! Your mom sounds so refreshing in a world filled with over-protective control-freaks! Roseanna Danna Danna--she was my favorite! And I haven't thought of the cone heads in years. My dad was the funniest person I knew and his motto was "Just have fun!" Sounds like your mom had the same idea!
What a great story. My mother was nothing like yours. My loss.
what a great post! I'm still smiling typing this.
Harry - that would be dropping...

Monte - Indeed, my friend.

Stacey - My mom would have loved that!

blue - that's when SNL was good!

John - Hey, that clerk was lucky it wasn't Valentine's Day.

Polly - Glad you got a kick out of her - I do all the time.

Stellaa - Don't encourage her.

Julie - My mom has a really good friend named Kay - hmmmm....

Silky - Weren't we lucky? While I did have all the Barbie stuff and tons of toys, I'd almost always get bored with them and head for that closet.
Connie - I could do about 100 of these posts - she really is hysterical.

Michael - Thanks Mike.

Ma - The Travelocity gnome is a great one! Hope it stayed glued in place!

Karin - Thanks! Yeah, it was pretty fun in my house growing up. We're pretty lucky we have parents that amused us. not a bad thing to instill in a kid, if you ask me.

Emma - :( Don't worry, it wasn't all roses. "Julie, ask Brian (captain of the football team, two years older, friend's brother, super hot) if he'll be Ike Turner."

Thanks monkey!
This is charming and funny and bittersweet and filled with love.
Julie, what a great story and funny photos to go along with it. I had almost forgotten about the Coneheads, from back in the day. Lots of wonderful memories here!
Your Momma was a very brave soul to go into a 7-11 in Dallas on Halloween night.....do these pants make my ass look big? Just curious. Happy Trick & Treatin' to ya!
Rated & Cheers!
Lea - That means a lot coming from you, even though i did kick your ass in the pudding wrestling ring.

D - We must never forget the Coneheads.

Bubba - As your friend, I must be honest - yeah, they kinda do. S'okay, you have time to change. Chin chin!
Looks like bouncy trouncy fun to me, especially the moon. I like moons. Never see enough moons anymore. The world has gone to hell I say. Gone to hell.
I haven't been on for awhile Julie, but this is a great article. I loved the part of your mom and the batteries. So fun. Thanks for the moon.

What scope -- you show not only costumes butt also what's under them!