“It’s almost that time of year when underaged kids get into costume and traipse around the neighborhood ringing doorbells and begging for treats.”
When it comes to Halloween, I believe the world is split into two groups: those who love Halloween, and those who think it’s a pointless waste of time and money spent trying to recapture your youth and somehow simultaneously dressing like pimps and whores.
I’m in the second group.
I haven’t liked Halloween since the fifth grade or so. I’m sure what happened. Nothing traumatic. I wasn’t groped by an old man dressed as a scarecrow or anything. I guess I just got to the point where, well, I didn’t see the point.
I don’t like costumes, I don’t like being uncomfortable, I don’t like parties, I don’t like crowds, and to be honest, I don’t really even like candy all that much. So what’s in it for me?
Let’s start with trick or treating. What a bizarre custom. Release your kids to walk around the neighborhood in the dark and knock on stranger’s doors and ask for candy. I thought we were constantly telling them not to take candy from strangers. Oh, unless they’ve decorated their houses for kids and ask the kids to take off part of their costumers before they give you candy. Then it’s okay.
No wonder we get a new bullshit Halloween scare every year. There is actually zero evidence that anyone has ever tampered with Halloween candy. No cyanide in chocolate. No razors in apples.
Think about it. How many apples were you going to get while trick or treating? One? You were going remember who gave you that lame ass shit. I never understood why Mischief Night was the night AFTER Halloween. Oh, a Marshmallow Peanut? You’re definitely getting Tee-Pee’d.
And because we’ve all been frightened to believe that child molesters were hanging around every bush, instead of the kids just wandering around together on their own, now parents have to walk along with them. No thank you. Don’t wrap me up in your fun. I’m good.
I don’t even like being the guy who waits at the door. I don’t like people coming to my door on a normal fall evening. Now I’ve got three midgets in shitting costumes begging me for candy? I don’t think so. I’ll leave the porch light off thank you.
But let’s get to the real crux of the matter. I don’t like costumes.
In my house, I’m alone in this. My wife has been dressing my kids up since they were born. And not just some shitty store bought costume either. She would make them. She’s pretty creative like that. Take a bath mat, some rope, a little mascara, a wig, and a stick, and now little Johnny is a caveman. What’s really impressive is that she kept a bag of tricks that would get repurposed from year to year. She’s also a big fan of scouring the thrift store for useful items, even totally out of season. Sometimes she has an idea for them, sometimes she just knows that someone is going to need it at some point.
When my kids were little, they would win just about any contest they entered. The costumes were always creative, clearly handmade, and unprofessional enough to be impressive. Anyone can buy a costume. My kids embodied theirs.
In the nearly twenty years that I’ve been married to their mother, I don’t think I’ve gotten dressed up for Halloween once. I’ll bet it’s been thirty years since I’ve done so. Probably forty years since I’ve done so willingly.
A few weeks back my step-daughter informed me that she was having a Halloween party, we were all invited, and costumes were mandatory. I was mentioned by name.
But even I get tired of being called a curmudgeon, so I agreed to come up with a costume.
Even though I haven’t dressed up in a long time, there were still going to be rules. First off, I’m not wearing makeup. Second, I’m not wearing anything I have to take off ten minutes after I get to the party. Third, I’m not wearing anything covering my face that I’ll end up suffocating in. Finally, I want to be relatively comfortable.
So I went as a cowboy.
I figured I had good quality cowboy boots and a Stetson I’d bought in Texas. I always wear jeans, but mine were going to be Levi’s. I don’t care if real cowboys wear Wranglers. Not in my part of the world. I had a nice button down shirt that was stitched on the back. But that was going to be a little weak.
A few months back, I’d directed a short fashion film in Montana and we stayed at this amazing place called The Ranch At Rock Creek. The head cowboy there was named Joe. While I don’t think I met her while we there, I became friendly with his wife Lacie on Facebook.
When I suggested I was thinking of being a cowboy for Halloween, she offered to help. A few weeks later I received a package in the mail. Inside was the following: A rodeo number, a sponsor patch, a lasso, a belt buckle, a handkerchief, and a feather for my hat. I wore it all.
I had meant to carry a flask in my back pocket and tell people I was an over the hill bull rider, but seeing that we live in New Jersey no one ever got past the idea that I was a cowboy. That was good enough for them. I also think they were all surprised to see me dressed at all.
I still have no plans to do it again.