Before I begin, let me just say: I LOVE that Halloween is on a Sunday this year. LOVE. IT. Christine O'Donnell might deny her witchiness, but if you ask me, she planned it.
HALLOWEEN! The celebration of All Hallow's Eve, Samhain, All Souls Day, El Dia de los Muertos (which, while technically Nov.1st, still celebrates the dead, so it counts). Do you remember waiting months, weeks, and days for Halloween? Do you remember planning out your costume in intricate detail? That familiar scent of fall mixed high fructose corn syrup? The anticipation of going to school looking like something other than a nerdy kid, and maybe (depending on the year), getting to wear *gasp!* MAKEUP?! Do you remember the thrill of watching "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" on public access TV??????? (Okay, maybe that last one was just me...)
I DO. I loved the anticipation of Halloween, though not necessarily Halloween itself. I loved planning my costumes every year, racking my brain for better, more creative ideas than anyone else. I loved trick or treating, I loved the candy. What I didn't love was all the scariness attached to it. I *HATED* being scared, and this is coming from a child who was scared all the time, whether it was Halloween or no. I still get scared easily. I don't do scary movies, I don't do fright fests, and I CERTAINLY do not do Haunted Houses. It was a bit of a battle for me, year after year - in order to celebrate my awesome creativity, I had to brave all the haunted-house-nightmare-on-elm-street-friday-the-13th-Jason-in-a-hockey-mask-Freddy-Kreuger's-blood-drenched-metal-fingers-ghosts-in-the-graveyard-things-that-go-bump-in-the-night-and-kill-me-with-a-chainsaw bullshit. Sometimes I failed, sometimes I succeeded. But no matter the fear factor, I was always there - ironic and esoteric costume in tow.
You have to understand - when you're raised by theatre professionals, the costume possibilities are endless. It was never enough for me to be a typical Halloween anything. I was never once a witch, or a ghost, or a mummy (I did go as Dracula one year, but I was the best Dracula you've ever seen!). I never went as the cartoon-character-of-the-year, never dressed up as any kind of doll or princess. And with my costume shop kingdom, I won costume contest after costume contest - it was every child's DREAM! Except most other children weren't envious of me, so much as they were relieved that there was someone (much) weirder than them. But I *liked* being weird. In fact, I kind of excelled at it.
Case-in-point: The 1st Grade Dragonfly Faery (age 6)
That was pretty much as girly as I got. I don't think I was ever caught in pink tights again. But look at the production values on that mask! What kid wouldn't want something that
Costumes became more complicated as I grew older, however. At some point, I lost my costume shop privileges; not because of anything I'd done, but I didn't have access to it anymore. That's when my right brain kicked in, and came up with some truly out-there ideas. Like what? Davy Crockett. In 1992. I don't know if you remember how popular Davy Crockett was in 1992, but I think he was somewhere between Howdy Doody and a French Revolutionary. I was *SO* insanely proud of this idea. I had gone on a roadtrip that summer with my mom, step-dad, and step-sisters. It was a wholly awful trip - lots of arguing, usually about something that I did (I hated being the youngest), though I can't remember. The arguing was so bad, my mom took me and we went off on our own. For my money, that was the best part of the trip - we saw Old Faithful, and the sulfer springs - and with the money I had been saving, I bought myself a coon-skin cap and a musk-ox horn - the noise-making variety, not for gunpowder.
In late August, long after we had returned home, I told my mom I wanted to be Davy Crockett for Halloween. She found the costume print, we picked out the fabric, and she even bought me a pair of moccasins to wear. It had the fringe on the arms, the front of the jacket - I had my cap guns and air-chamber rifle I had been given the Christmas before - it. was. AWESOME. I won 2nd place at the Whittier Halloween Festival, and received a whole bucket load of candy, and a ribbon. The candy was offered up to the rest of the family (and was promptly consumed). But the ribbon stayed on my bookshelf for YEARS - a testament to my originality and affirmation in my creativity. So while I was constantly doing something wrong in the eyes of my step-family, I had a token reminder that I was actually much better than what they were telling me.
Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of me as Davy Crockett, though my mom might. But that's still my favorite Halloween costume to date.
By the time I reached high school, my need for originality got worse. A LOT worse. My sophomore year, I stapled trash to an old shirt and pair of jeans, smeared my face with dirt, and went as Pollution.
My senior year, I went as an Academic:
I could go on and on about the weirdness/genius of my past Halloween costumes, but rather than waxing poetical in long detail, I'll list them instead.
Top 9 Halloween Costumes I've worn/created:
1. Davy Crockett (age 10)*
2. The Artful Dodger (age 5)* - Yes, from Oliver!
3. Errol Flynn/Captain Blood (age 8)
4. Pollywog/Frog (age 2)
5. Pollution (age 15)
6. Lesbian Army of one (age 20)*
7. Calamity Jane (age 9)
8. Werewolf of London (age 7)*
9. Robbin Hood (age 11)
* Denotes costume contest winners
(Wow. I'm totally braggy about my costumes! I apologize for the blatant douchiness)
Single WORST Costume I've ever been forced to wear:
CLOWN (age 4)
The story: I hate clowns. I've ALWAYS hated clowns. One Halloween, my dad has to go out of town for business, so he asks my best friend's mom if I can go trick-or-treating with them? Of course! My dad wonders what costume he should appropriate for me, and Pam, my best friend's mom says, don't worry about it, I have an extra costume, then the girls will match! Perfect, says my dad. So I show up to my best friend's house, very excited about wearing a matchy-matchy costume with her. She takes me into her room to show me, and whambamthankyouma'am, I see the clown wig and the crazy costume, and I BURST into tears. Somewhere, there's a photo of Crystal and I standing in Pam's kitchen - Crystal is smiling shyly, not sure what to do, because I can't stop crying.
If you could see the photo below close up, you'd see tear-tracks in my clown makeup. This is after the fiasco, where I'm emotionally binge-eating chocolate, in an attempt to patch the giant hole of terror that was brutally ripped in my psyche.