Halloween is coming up. I have mixed feelings about that holiday. I mean, I find much to enjoy about it.
My wife and I love to give candy to children. I like to make them say “Trick or treat!” before I give them any candy, though. I like to make them earn it. This year, if a child comes to my door in a costume, holding a large pillowcase in which to tote their “loot,” and waits silently and expectantly for me to hand over my candy, I will just say to him, “Hi! What can I do for you?” If they simply ask for candy, however politely, I plan to have a trick for them instead. I need to figure out what the “trick” is going to be. It might be a shot of silly string. I will need to be careful, however, because I don’t want to provoke any children or their siblings to throw eggs at our house.
But if they say “Trick or treat,” then I will give them a piece of candy. It will be only one piece, too. I figure they’ll get enough candy on their evening-long trek through the neighborhoods, so they need only one piece from me.
Plus, any leftover candy we don’t give away to children, we get to eat ourselves.
I also enjoy dressing up for Halloween. I consider Halloween an excuse to dress up. Some may think that’s silly, but it’s good, clean fun. Why not put on a costume one day out of the year?
One thing, though: I won’t dress up in a lame costume. I won’t do a costume halfway. I’m not going to wear normal street clothes, stick fake teeth in my mouth, and say, “Ooh, look! I’m a vampire!” No, I’m not. I don’t like to plaster make-up on my face, like some kind of clown. I also won’t dress up as a hackneyed thing that is totally unoriginal and everybody will recognize, like a witch or a ghost or something. I find no fun in that.
I like to dress up as someone that people will have some difficulty figuring out, but not as someone who is so obscure that nobody would get it either. Also, I like my costumes to be as authentic as possible. That is fun!
One year, I dressed up as a video-game character, a Red Mage from Final Fantasy. (See my post A mosaic of my identity for an explanation of my Final Fantasy fandom.) I did not look identical to the character from the game,but I did the best I could (and my wife helped), and I was pleased with the results, all things considered. I used a soft and flowing, button-up red shirt; crisp, black slacks; and heavy, black shoes, all of which lent a subtle look of a military uniform. I actually wanted red boots, but I couldn't figure out how to get boots that would have looked just right. In addition, I wore a cape that was red on the outside and black on the inside, fashioned out of two graduation robes that were altered and sewn together; a wide-brimmed, red hat with a white feather attached; and even white hairspray-paint. (I cannot stand face paint, but I will tolerate colored hairspray.) I also had a sword that I simply bought at Wal-Mart for a couple dollars.
I donned this costume to attend a church costume party, feeling quite pleased with myself. Until, that is, one attendee asked me, “So, what are you dressed up as? A pimp?”
I felt as if I’d been impaled with my own Wal-Mart sword. I took great pains and went to extensive lengths and effort to craft a Halloween costume that would impress and stand out--one that paid homage to one of the greatest heroes in all the video-game realm (in my opinion). And this man thought not only that I looked like, but also that I had been trying all along to look like, a loathsome pockmark on society?
But although this experience was quite distressing, I have often had fun conceiving interesting Halloween costumes and figuring out how to bring them into fruition. I have often thought that I would love to dress up as a Chicago Cubs player. That’s pretty difficult to do, however. Authentic jerseys are prohibitively expensive ... for me, anyway. Such things are not often found in thrift stores and consignment shops. Plus, I would want the authentic uniform pants, shoes, and cap to go with it. I would most likely have to purchase all these items through the official Chicago Cubs store, which would set me back several hundred dollars--money we can’t afford to spend on Halloween right now. (This is all assuming that I would be allowed to purchase all this paraphernalia for this purpose. They might have image protection policies and the like that I honestly haven’t thought through or researched well enough.)
I still don’t know what my costume will be this year. I’m open to suggestions. Keep in mind, though, that if you do offer suggestions, I will likely shoot several of them down, because I am quite particular. Please don’t take it personally.
I understand that a lot of people don’t like Halloween. But Halloween can be fun, as long as one is careful. For one thing, I resolve never to wear a costume where I could be misconstrued as a pimp.