When I was a youngster, Thanksgiving and Christmas were over-the-top events for my family, but other than a large metal bowl of miniature Snickers bars on the front porch, Halloween was usually overlooked. My parents didn’t put much stock into the holiday, and I firmly believe that is why I enjoy it so much today.
Now, I’m going to show you something here that might make you sad, but I’m not looking for your pity. No, I suspect I’m not alone with this experience and that there are others who might be helped to overcome their own Halloween shame by this article, so here goes…
That’s me in the middle. The year was 1977–I was five years old–old enough to know what Halloween was all about, but not old enough to realize the importance of a good Halloween costume.
It was Halloween night and the doorbell rang. It was our neighbor, Julie, dressed up as Jamie-frickin’-Sommers! I always liked Julie, and if we lived there for a few more years, who knows, maybe I’d be married to the Bionic Woman today. I digress. My mom thought Julie was so adorable and asked me if I wanted to dress up too. It. Was. Halloween. Night.
Of course I wanted to dress up! So, off to my parent’s bedroom to see what kind of costume could be devised in three minutes or less. Apparently sad, axe-murdering clowns are easy to throw together. And what was wrong with my brother! He’s a couple years older than me and his costume is almost as pathetic as mine–a Hobo! Really? And I remember that hat he’s wearing–it wasn’t from the costume store–that was a hat he actually wore regularly (and one that was eventually handed down to me to “treasure”).
Now that I’m a parent, when Halloween rolls around, I am the first one at the costume shop looking over the year’s new branded costumes, not wanting my offspring to endure the shame I suffered. I’ve been pushing for Batman and Robin since the day they were born, but so far, we’ve had the Cat in the Hat, Jango Fett, Pokemon, and this year will be Angry Birds and Skylanders. I’m okay with that. I’m sure that when my boys are all grown up, they will thumb through their iPhone photo albums and look back fondly at their childhood Halloween getups–and go on to ignore the holiday outright for their kids.
This year, I actually have two Halloween parties to attend, but the older I get, the wiser my choices in the practicality of costumes. This year, form will be following function, and I will be a somewhat boring Mal Reynolds of Firefly fame. Yes, it’s been done a million times before, and usually badly, but the costume will allow me to repurpose it to be a cowboy with an awesome handlebar mustache for the kids’ party. Sure, giant Frankenstein heads are awesome (2006) but they scare the little ones and make eating and drinking impossible. There is no makeup that will start to run and stain the costumes of everyone around me (1992), and no flowing fabric to ignite on the luminaries that line the driveways of some houses (2008).
Of course the biggest bonus of this costume is that I will be able to hit the punch as hard as I want in an effort to keep down those old Halloween memories buried in the dark recesses of my brain.
This week, the League was asked to write about their most epic Halloween costumes and what they will be this year. I’m not the only one dressing up this year–check out these fine folks: Monster Cafe, Q the Adult, AEIOU and Sometimes Why, the Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang, and more!