I don't like Halloween. There, I said it.
I don't have time to pick out cutesy garb to dress up and answer ridiculous, esoteric questions like, "Who are you suppose to be?" I might panic and think in more existential terms, "Who AM I suppose to be?"
Even when I was a kid, I was less than enthusiastic about going through the isle of Nationals in Lodi (it's not there anymore) and picking out something that would wow my friends and make them more envious of me and my stellar action figure collection consisting of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe, and He-Man. I had Castle Greyskull!
As I look back and think about the ridiculous costumes I put on, I'm embarrassed, ashamed, and in a sharing mood. Here are my five worst, and possibly only, costumes I put on and why they epically failed, being a white kid growing up in the suburbs of New Jersey:
Ok. Spider-Man. I see these kids wearing the iconic web-slinger’s attire and think, "You don't know what it was like, man!" Their costumes are so fucking cool! They can slip into the suit and pull the mask completely over their heads. If they're extra special, or their parents are carrying a bigger bulk of cash, they can spring for the web accessory that spits out foam to replicate Spidey's spaghetti webbing.
What did I have as a kid at the age of four? An apron. Yes, you read that right. My Spider-Man costume consisted of a shoulder-to-ankle apron. Why was it an apron? There was no back to it! It was a cheap sheet of plastic that had Spider-Man's front print consisting of the classic blue and red tones with webbing pattern and the eight-legged emblem. No back. I had to tie that shit on my neck, waist, and ankles.
If I have a kid and he asks me to zip him up, I'm gonna tell him to go fuck himself. I didn't have zippers back in the day.
And the mask. Unbelievable. This is America. Why couldn't they come up with a better mask than another piece of crap plastic front that was held tight to your face (and ripped hair from the roots) by a RUBBER BAND. If the mask was cut or splitting, it sliced up your face like a sashimi knife.
Pathetic, America. You too, China!
A couple days leading up the parade, my mother took me to the store to pick out a costume. I was indecisive about what to be, but I saw a fancy cape that would do the trick.
By the time the parade was starting, kids in my class could hustle to the bathroom and change. I did just that. I unclipped my tie, draped the cape over my body and went to the faucet to run the cold water through my hair. I slicked it back and looked pretty damn good.
There were two things missing - fake vampire teeth and gel.
After about fifteen minutes, my hair dried up and caused a frizzy mess worthy of a commercial. I blame my mother. Plus, I didn't have teeth to the clench in my jowls, striking fear into the hearts of teachers and students. But they wouldn't buy it anyway because I was a good boy.
My cousin took me to the mall and we went to a Hallmark at Garden State Plaza where I picked out my official uniform, ziploc sealed in a convenient carry bag.
When it was time to go trick-or-treating, that Halloween was frigid and windy. My mother made me put on a coat and as much as I argued with her, I had to do it.
I was better off staying at home.
When we left the house, I looked at my ensemble and realized my blue bomber jacket was completely covering the Starfleet design of my outfit from the waist up. Basically I had a blue jacket and black nylon pants that were loose and flared. I looked like I was coming home from a dance recital.
I think it was my dad this time who took me to the store and bought me a skeleton jumpsuit. It was perfect. He even chipped in to get me the black-and-white makeup kit. Redemption, I thought. This would be the added accessory similar to the foam webbing kids get today.
The end result was a disaster.
When dusk settled, I asked my mother if now was a good time to go trick-or-treating. She said, "Yes."
I hurried to my room, slipped on the costume and came downstairs presenting the honor to my mother, touching up my face to look magnificently morbid.
She freaked out.
"No, I'm not putting that on you!" She screamed. Twenty or so years later, I still have no idea why she wouldn't put the makeup on me. Was it sacrilege? Did she not like skeletons? Either way she made a compromise. Are you ready for this? You better be, because I sure wasn't.
My mother dug deep in her purse and said she was perfectly happy putting something else on my face - lipstick. I'm not kidding.
She pulled a pinkish hued tube from her bag, twisted the bottom so the half dome rose to life (like skeletons and zombies, get it?). I had no idea what she was doing. She bent down and smeared the lipstick on my cheeks. Again, I'm not kidding.
In the end I wasn't just a skeleton. Instead I was Raggedy Andy with rosy cheeks who just happened to be x-rayed from the neck down.
Malibu Barbie, meet Holocaust Andy.
My costume was a button shirt, slacks, a suit vest I borrowed from my father, round sunglasses I hung from my shirt (I couldn't wear them because I already sported a pair of specs to see straight), a blue bandana I tied around my thigh, and a necklace I borrowed from my cousin; it had a turquoise pendant with a ying-yang symbol. I was the poster child flower child. But not really. I was Greg Brady and this persona was my Johnny Bravo.
When I got to school I felt the stares and the looks. Remember that scene in Forrest Gump when he appears on the news program featuring Alabama and his newly desegregated school? His coaches' eyes widened with a plastered look of - What the hell is he doin'? Yeah. I think the kids and teachers looked at me the same way with dumbfounded disbelief.
I remember later in the day a classmate leaned over and asked, "Who are you suppose to be?"
I answered him. In character. I had a long, lethargic drawl like I had been stoned for three years, weakly lifted two fingers and flashed a peace sign and said, "I'm a hippie, maaaan."
I was a joke.
After school I went home and completely reevaluated my life.
Trust me, the shit they put on that channel these days - now that's terrifying.