Picture it, 1975, Halloween night. A pudgy curly-haired girl is stuffed into a black cat costume and trick-or-treating with her handsome dad who is sporting a Magnum PI mustache, though not for Halloween, just in general for most of his life. The pair walk up to a house and the dad waits at the end of the walkway, as he has all night, and the chubby kitty skips up to say trick-or-treat and get her candy. As she walks by a scarecrow that is propped up on the porch, it springs to life and reaches out for her. Her heart racing, she runs back to the safety of her dad, and even though the scarecrow tells her he won’t scare her again, she doesn’t go up to that house alone. She makes her dad go up with her to retrieve the misleading and so not true “fun sized” candy bar from the nice lady inside the house, who is now chastising her husband for scaring a little girl, as her dad laughs and laughs. And laughs.
Spoiler alert, that chubby curly-haired black cat was me. Of all the memories I have of trick-or-treating, this is the one that sticks with me. I think that night my life-long love of Halloween and being scared, was truly born.
My dad used to be the one who took me trick-or-treating, or at least every memory I have of going I’m with my dad and my older sister, until I reached the snarky age of, we’ll say 12, since that’s how old my eldest son is now, and decided I wanted to go with my friends and not my dad anymore. Regardless of whether my dad went with me or not, it was understood that all of the Reese’s peanut butter cups were to be given to him for “extra inspection”. A special inspection that took place in his digestive system.
On the above Halloween night, I was dressed in an old ballet costume. One year I dressed like a pink elephant, which was also an old ballet costume. I used to like to wear my old ballet costumes for Halloween. And when roller skating. And when lounging around the house. My favorite part of ballet BY FAR was the costume that we got to wear when it was recital time. I was a cat, an elephant, a piece of popcorn, a lion, a racist interpretation of an Asian person, a stewardess, a bumblebee. You name it, between me and my sister, we probably wore it in a dance recital and then for Halloween.
I also made an incredible Dynagirl, thanks to my mom’s amazing sewing skills and my epic pig tails. I dressed as a witch several times, Marilyn Monroe one year, a hippie, and probably my mom’s personal favorite, one year I took her wedding dress and wore it on Halloween. HOW she didn’t absolutely KILL ME is a testament to the woman’s sainthood.
As I aged, my costumes became stupider and “sexier”. I was a bunny in a pink leotard complete with white puffy tail and ears. I tried to get away with being a “baby doll” and wearing a skimpy nightgown to high school but my mom said helllll naw, so I threw on a plaid jacket of my dad’s and wore that,even
though he asked me not to. I had a real problem with boundaries. That year my friend Dawn and I bought a couple of masks that were bald heads with hair going around the rim and we were “TWO GUYS…DISCOUNT PLUMBING”. Yeah, I don’t know either, but I know we had a lot of fun riding around and just being two guys. Who were discount plumbers.
I made a cute Betty Rubble while my sister was a fantastic Wilma Flintstone. We were accompanied by our Brett, who was a dark-haired Barney Rubble, because they were out of Fred Flintstone costumes. We had an awesome, beer-soaked Halloween night.
My most popular costume as of yet, that wasn’t a winning costume (“I won my work costume contest in 2012″ will be on my tombstone), was when I was 26 and dressed as everyone’s favorite intern, Monica Lewinsky. I had a blue dress that I had artfully splattered with white out, a jaunty beret, stockings with the knees ripped out, a push up bra, and a cigar in my cleavage. I was a class act, all the way. Class with a capital K. I was hit on and proposed to, though not marriage, and it was something I had never really experienced before.
The scary part of Halloween has always been fun for me too. Being scared is healthy. Dressing up like things that scare us allows us to control our fears. Bear in mind I have NO idea if any of this is actually true. Mainly I like playing dress up and eating candy and I am happy to be born in a country that recognizes that fact. One day a year I get to dress up like Medusa at work (and win the company costume contest) or a garden gnome (this year’s costume…that I have had since last November) and the world seems like a happier place. Some clown cuts you off in traffic? No really, some guy dressed as a clown cuts you off in traffic, just give him a wave, and be sure he’s not following you because clowns are terrifying. The vampire in the cafeteria gives you a knowing smile as she buys her tomato juice. The construction workers who tire of me constantly asking where the Indian, Army guy, cop, cowboy, and biker guy is, give me a break on Halloween.
Halloween for me has always been a time to dress up, get candy, and be scared. I never knew that anybody thought of it as anything other than that until my friend Anissa Brockington in elementary school told me that Halloween was the devil’s birthday. All I could think then was “that dude throws a hell of a party”. Maybe not what I was thinking then, but it does pretty much sum up my thoughts on the holiday now.
Dressing up is fun. I’m even okay with the trend of EVERYTHING having a “sexy” counterpart. Items that are not conventionally”sexy” being given a “sexy” costume makeover puzzles me a little bit but hell, to each his own. I’m totally on board with sexy pizza, because PIZZA. The sexy corn is interesting, but somebody in Indiana may really be into sexy corn, and this is the one night his gal can make his sexy corn dream come true. I have no words for the sexy bathtub, but after writing about the existence of dinosaur porn, I assume there is such a thing as fixture porn.
This is part one of my 3-part series on Halloween. Next, that time a chainsaw murderer was concerned with my underpants showing.