It seems where Halloween costumes are concerned I have never been able to get it quite right. Yesterday’s pilgrimage of looking for costumes for Chuck and me (The Elusive Halloween Costume), only to later find out the party we were going to had a theme (unrelated to what I had just bought), brought me back to various times in my life revolving around Halloween where I stuck out like a sore thumb.
Childhood was easy; costumes with plastic masks were the norm, as I roamed the streets with other trick-or-treat comrades. Kids dressed up for Halloween, and I kept at it until I was about 12. No trick or treating or parties after that, for me anyway, in my teens, although at age 19 I did make a pretty cute playboy bunny at a house party.
It was the transition into my 20’s where things started to get awkward. How was I to know that no one else was going to dress up for the midterm we took in Graphic Design class at San Jose State just because it fell on Halloween? As I strolled across campus in the clown outfit with psychedelic afro and rubber nose, I should have known something was awry, as no one else dressed up. Thinking, “Art students are different, wait until I get to class,” I marched on, only to be greeted with snickers (and not the candy), rolled eyes, and maybe some actual laughter from my street-clothed class. Seriously? 30 people, and I was the only one who dressed up?
What else could I do but sit down and take the midterm? I hated San Diego State. Well, that may be a stretch; perhaps more profound, and what I didn’t realize at the time was that the sleeping gypsy I had harbored for so many years was awakening, and she was asking me what the hell I was doing in San Jose, anyway
Two years later I was living in L.A. During my 5 years at one particular job, Halloween was planned and costumes were encouraged. I did get the costume thing right during that tome; the variety and originality I chose was never too over-the-top, but still fun and festive.
My personal favorite was where I bought half a dozen blond short wigs from a second-hand store Aaardvark on Melrose, sewed them together and spray-painted the whole thing orange, using my roommate’s gumball machine as a model. I placed a big “Fergie Bow” on the front. I already had the funky, fun skirt and jacket — also from Aaarvark — and boots. I think I was trying to emulate one of the B-52’s, but didn’t really care about nailing it.
The following year, same job, I dressed as Cleopatra.
Years later, after our move to San Diego, I was working for a community newspaper and the day before Halloween I asked if anyone was dressing up. The response was lukewarm, but a handful of people said they would. So Halloween morning, I stroll in wearing a tasteful French Maid outfit to a room full of fuddy duddies. Thanks, guys. Once again, what could I do but sit down at my desk and do my job? It was still a cool place to work.
Embarrassment aside, I look back on those times and realize that they were simply signs of my incessant march to a different drummer.
To this day, monotony, predictability and unoriginality bore me, not only in other people, but also in myself. The world is full of lemmings, sheeple, or whatever you choose to call those who refuse to venture outside the box because they are too concerned about what the rest of the world may think.
So, that said, why should I be bothered that Chuck and I will be going to a Western-themed Halloween party, dressed as The Mad Hatter and The Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland? I plan to have a fabulous time.