My Best Halloween Costume Ever: The Box Of Wine

by Jennifer Ball
Originally Published: 
A woman dressed as a box of wine for Halloween

I used to really go crazy for Halloween. When my kids were in elementary school, I’d dress up and go to their little classroom parties. One year, I was Medusa with a huge rubber snake wig. Another year, I went as an old-school classic witch, my face and hands covered in green makeup and accessorized with a very loud cackle. I once dressed up like a clown with a full face of Bozo paint, giant red shoes and a fuzzy rainbow wig.

Don’t even get me started on the kids’ costumes. Four small, willing models? Every October, I turned into the Midwestern female version of Tim Gunn, appraising my work with one hand held up to my mouth, muttering, “We need more gauze here,” and telling myself to make it work.

But the kids got older, as children tend to do, and my opportunities for dressing up diminished. I resorted to handing out candy in the lame Halloween-themed shirts. I missed dressing up, researching and procuring items for costumes and mortifying my offspring.

Therefore, I was completely thrilled when I was invited to a few grown-ups-only Halloween parties last year—one of them with an actual costume contest. I felt the old All Hallows’ Eve adrenaline coursing through my veins as ideas flew through my head.

Megan from Bridesmaids? That would be easy enough. How about a throwback—maybe Mary Katherine Gallagher (Superstar) or Romy and Michele? Or perhaps I would go political? Michele Bachmann, anyone? Sarah Palin is always good.

But nothing really tickled my fancy. The parties drew nearer, and I was getting desperate.

One night, my friend Danielle and I were texting back and forth about costume ideas. She is one of the the most creative people I know, so I figured she’d have some good ideas. Then I got this text from her:

“How about you go as a BOX OF WINE?”

I texted back, “HAHA…” Then, I Googled “Box of Wine Costume.”

She was on to something. There were a few out there, all homemade. Most were (gag) Franzia boxes, but the concept intrigued me and also made me laugh.

I decided to do it: I would be going as a Bota Box, of course, since I practically own stock in that company. Not only is their wine drinkable, but the box is aesthetically pleasing, with muted colors and cool fonts.

If you want to make one, I suggest starting it a week or so in advance. Danielle and I made this one in just over an hour.

Here are the things you’re going to need

  1. A big cardboard box that fits over your body comfortably. Mine was a box that originally housed a toilet.
  2. A roll of brown craft paper. I’m the antithesis of “crafty,” so I don’t know what kind or what weight. Just get a roll of it at Michael’s.=
  3. Clear packing tape. Lots of it).
  4. Duct tape. Doesn’t matter what color—it’s for inside the box).
  5. Markers. Lots and lots of markers. Get those big, fat Sharpies if you can. There’s a lot of black on the box, and I think we went through at least 3 of those huge black Sharpies. The different varietals of Bota Box wines have different colors on the boxes, so you’ll need to check the box—very closely. And it helps if the box is open and tapped, because believe me when I say that making this costume will be more fun if you have a little buzz going.
  6. Heavy duty scissors.
  7. A real box of wine. Yes, a real box of wine with wine in it. You’ll need the box to copy the design, and you’ll need the wine to put inside your costume.

The things you have to do

  • Step One: Cut holes in the box for your head and arms. Easy peasy. But, this was actually kind of a time suck, so start doing this far in advance.
  • Step Two: When the holes are cut, put that box on see if you can move everything comfortably. You most likely won’t be able to sit down while wearing the box, so make sure you’re not wearing uncomfortable heels or anything too fancy. Also, make sure you can move your arms easily. I couldn’t get a glass or food up to my mouth while wearing the box, so I had to rely on the kindness of my friends and straws.
  • Step Three: The most important hole of all: You need to cut a small hole for the spout, because you will be serving wine out of it. Yes, this wine box is fully functional. I’ll get to the mechanics of that later, but when cutting the hole for the spigot, you just have to kind of eyeball it. On the actual Bota Box, the spigot is on the side, but for convenience, we moved it to the front so I could reach it and also because my ample birthing hips took up most of the wiggle room inside the box. Ahem.
  • Step Four: Now you wrap that box in the craft paper just like you would wrap a present. Tape it up well, because believe me, your box will get handled (I forgot to mention: Get ready for box jokes all night long). But make sure you leave the front, sides and back tape-free; the markers will not work over tape.
  • Step Five: Then the artistry begins. We copied the designs on the box pretty much exactly. The front was the most detailed and took the longest. My friend is a master, and if there was a job out there that called for expert wine-box copying, she’d be the Employee of the Year.

I’m sure there are computery/techie ways to do this instead, but that would require knowledge that extends beyond mine (which is limited to right click, save, save again, OMG where did everything go?). Plus, I think the hand-drawn-and-lettered finished product looked more authentic. But I’m biased.

  • Step Six: When the decorating is done, it’s time to install the wine. Take the pouch of wine out of the little box. I had to empty mine a bit, because it was heavy and I didn’t have any duct tape. So if you have to empty it a little, take one for the team and do it.
  • Step Seven: Now, go up inside the costume box and stick the spigot out of the little hole you cut prior to decorating. Make sure that the spigot is going the right way so the wine will pour down. When that’s done, you have to tape the pouch to the inner wall of the costume box. Tape it up really well, because it will get jostled inside of there.

When that’s done, put the box on and test it out. Make sure it works, and heads up, it may drip a little (and here come the double entendres. I told you to get ready for them, didn’t I?). I had to put some tape on the business end of mine before I left for the parties.

You will not be able to sit in the car while wearing this, so make sure you have space to carry it. Also, I am kind of a freak when it comes to the drinking and driving thing, along with the open bottle laws. I actually panicked a little, because I thought if we got pulled over the open-wine thing could be a problem. So you may want to inquire about your local laws. And if you’ve been sampling the wine while making this, like I’ve suggested? Please don’t be the one driving.

One other awesome thing about this costume is that you can wear comfy clothes underneath. It gets hot in there! I’m so sick of all the costume options for women being the sexy version of things: Sexy Nurse! Vixen Vampire! Horny Chef! In my humble opinion, there is nothing sexier than being comfortable, while having wine on tap.

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