Note: This column appears in the 10/22 issue of The Glendale Star and the 10/23 issue of the Peoria Times
I was in seventh grade the last year I went trick-or-treating for Halloween. It was that awkward time where I was too cool and definitely too old to go trick-or-treating, but I still liked candy. So I went after school and told various homeowners I was dressed as a “Catholic school kid.” After several dirty looks and fewer Reese’s than I expected, I decided to retire.
Since then, Halloween has just been ehhh. There was brief resurgence in college, when I got to dress inappropriately and act like an idiot for a day, which made the holiday really no different than any other day, I suppose. But Halloween hasn’t been something I’ve really looked forward to in quite some time.
Until this year, that is. The main reason being we actually have kids to celebrate it with. The joy and anticipation of Halloween gets renewed when kids are involved, as you get to live vicariously through them. And eat their candy. And also dress them in silly outfits that make them uncomfortable and possibly give them rashes. In our case, our foster daughter wants to be a cat –- a costume idea that will no doubt disappoint her the very second she sees a better costume –- and our nine-month old foster son will be sweating the excess pounds off in the bumblebee outfit my wife bought for him. It’s going to be great. I think.
But another reason that I’m looking so forward to Halloween this year is that it falls on a Saturday. This really gets the adults involved because -– let’s be honest –- no rational person wants to dress like Winnie the Pooh on a Tuesday.
As for me, I’m keeping it simple this year. I learned my lesson the last time I dressed up for Halloween, which was, coincidentally, the last time it fell on a Saturday. My wife was Sonny and I was Cher. I couldn’t have possibly made an uglier woman, and when the initial shock and laughter of it all wore off at our family Halloween party, I was left hugely uncomfortable and unable to sit down in a manner that did not reveal all of my body parts. To boot, I found it impossible to carry on a moderately serious conversation. A question as simple as, “So, how’s school?” cannot be answered when it is asked by a hairy 6’3” man in a dress and lipstick.
In trying to decide my costume for this year, my wife recommended – because of my omnipresent beard – that I go as the bearded lady. But I nixed that idea immediately. Instead I went to the store over the weekend and, frustrated by the audacity of $50 costumes that you’d only wear once, bought a $7 ship captain’s hat.
I have no other parts of the outfit. I don’t even own any white clothes. But this is my new Halloween philosophy: Buy a hat, and work around it. And hope that nobody asks what you’re supposed to be. Since I’ll be rolling with the cutest cat and bumblebee ever, I don’t think anyone will care.