Heels & Picks: ‘E’ for Effort (and Erin)

Nov. 4, 2015 | 0 Comments


BY ERIN SMITH / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Fall has always been my favorite season. I know, women always say that, pass the yoga pants.

As some of you may know, I grew up in Canada, where the shortened fall days turn to stained glass sunsets of orange and red, as the sun goes down through the trees.


The author and her boyfriend on Halloween.

My longtime home here in Hawaii always has all the right features – jack-o’-lanterns, costumes and pumpkin spice everything (seriously, enough with the pumpkin spice.) There’s no crisp fall air, but I’ll wear a leather jacket anyways and suffer through the heat.

My move to Kailua from Kihei three years ago brought about more of a fall than I had experienced yet in Hawaii life. Kihei remains hot and sunny nearly constantly, whereas Kailua has rainy days and hoodie weather mixed in with the beach days. It’s good for cuddling up in our beach cottage – my boyfriend, our two dogs and me.

I’ve never been one of those people who are terribly great at Halloween costumes. Much of my time on Maui I relied on friends who were costume enthusiasts – the kind who would make new ones each year, and I would pilfer their closet for a costume on Halloween. (Yes. That day.)

This year a mini trade-off happened in our cottage. I bought my boyfriend a Batman mask and T-shirt with a cape attached that I found at a pop-up costume shop in town, and he bought me leg holsters and guns online that are the pivotal component of any good Lara Croft impersonation.

Let’s be honest, other than the guns, all you need to channel your inner Lara are shorts, a boring tank top, boots and a braid. Still with the lazy girl costumes, over here.

As the sun sets on another Halloween in Hawaii, I’d like to run you through of some of my favorite costumes over the years. Mom, who dug through some old photo albums in Ontario to nab these haute looks, brought some of these moments to you.


The author as Red Riding Hood at 2 years old.


I think this costume is from when I was 2 years old. My face looks similar in terms of features, but I’d like to think I’ve gotten better at applying blush.

This costume is just smart for a 2-year-old in Canada at Halloween – often it is cold and you need some kind of bundled-up gear to make it through a night of trick or treating.

I remember one year, our dog ate an entire bag of candy that one of us left out (I have three siblings). Judging from what I just saw when our dog Maisy ate two bags of Skittles when no one was home, I think that bag of candy made the family dog feel pretty bad for several days that year.

The author as a bundled up ballerina in Canada with her brother Liam and neighbor.


Hmmm, still not so good with the blush. Oh well, little Erin, that skill comes in time.

I remember this year because I had a tutu and tights, but I had to wear a sweatshirt, leggings and a sweater on top of it all because it was so cold. I had to unzip the sweater at each house to show my costume and I was hella pissed about that and giving my mom a hard time. Sorry, Mom.

Flanking me in this photo is my younger, ringlet-laden superhero brother Liam and our neighbor in Smurfdom, Robynne.


The author, her sister and a friend.


Flash-forward a significant number of years to the Hallowballoo Festival in Honolulu, I’m thinking maybe 2010. In the photo above you’ll see my sister Darcie and I done up with our friend who was responsible for the fab Day of the Dead makeup — she did this look for all of The Throwdowns’ band members, plus my sister. We performed at Aloha Tower opening for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, as well as in Chinatown.

As we played our usual high-octane set, our makeup melted off our faces and we were a mess by the end. Now that’s Halloween rock ‘n’ roll.

A close second to this Halloween moment is from the year before when The Throwdowns’ opened for Bad Brains on Maui. Rather than dressing up as a cohesive unit, we went as, ahem, a pharaoh (Ola), a cowboy with a sharpie moustache (Kimo), Joe Dirt (Ian) and a light-on-the-clothing version of Dorothy from Wizard of Oz (me).

Of course, I borrowed the Dorothy costume from a girlfriend. We were hilariously ridiculous. But the show raged.

The Erin Smith Band — Josh Guerra, Erin Smith, Matt McPherson, Cassie Fillhart and Gunso Kawai — at Hallowballoo 2014.


This gem of an idea came up last year, again for Hallowballoo. My new solo band performed on a fantastic street stage in Chinatown and this was our costume of choice.

I feel like our bassist Gunso really committed with the kitten T-shirt, as did Josh with his hunched shoulders. I have yet to see a photo, but I do know Josh went this year as some kind of 1970s leisure suit man. Or at least that’s how he explained away his epic moustache at band rehearsal last week.

The author on a regular day.


This costume was something I wore… to the grocery store. And it wasn’t Halloween.

Okay, I am a bit eccentric in the clothes department and sometimes I wear things like this on a regular day. You’ll be able find me for the next week or so at every post-Halloween costume sale on Oahu. Happy Halloween everyone!
Erin Smith is a singer and guitarist who performs as a solo artist and with Maui-based Na Hoku Hanohano Award-nominated band The Throwdowns. Born in Canada, she moved to Hawaii in 2004 and now resides in Kailua. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

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