While I’m not really wild about Halloween, I do love a good costume party. Preferably at other times of year and for other occasions, but if there’s one thing I kind-of, almost, sort-of like about Halloween, it’s the dressing up.
Which is not to say I’m good at it.
Here are three of my worst Halloween costume efforts, in chronological order:
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1. Murder Clown
When I was little, about 7 or 8, I dressed as a clown. It was one of those pre-made, all-in-one, cheap-ass costumes that you just step into and zip up. Pretty flimsy.
At trick-or-treat time — that most holy of occasions when candy is allowed in massive quantities — I ran from house to house like a maniac. As is my way when I am on foot for any period of time, I tripped. But because it was dark, I didn’t notice that my costume had ripped open at the knees when I fell. And because I was high on mini-Snickers, I didn’t realize there was blood streaming from both my kneecaps and splattering all over my shoes. I did sense that something around my knees felt funny, which is why I must have reached down to touch them a few times, which is how I managed to then cover myself in BLOODY HANDPRINTS.
I couldn’t see myself, though, so I didn’t know that at the time. The only people who knew it were the ones who could see me — the adults who opened their doors and saw a tattered, gory, chocolate-toothed midget clown, standing under their front porch light, grinning and holding out two bloody hands. Happy Halloween, folks. I’ve come to eat you alive.
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2. Libyan Dictator
OK, this is horrible. When I was 11, I dressed as Muammar Gaddafi for Halloween. The costume: a liberal dusting of bronzing powder, a khaki/camo outfit, aviator sunglasses, boots… and a very real-looking fake gun. Which I carried to school. My sweet little all-girls, Episcopal school.
What the SHIT was I thinking? I don’t know. I remember thinking the irony of scrawny little me going as an anti-imperialist, militant revolutionary with ties to terrorists was riotously funny. And I know it fit my (extremely dorky) pattern at the time to base a good bit of my elementary-school comedy routine on current events I saw on NBC Nightly News, which I watched religiously because I was in love with Tom Brokaw. (Still am, Tom. If you’re reading this, email me.)
Anyway, I decided that’s what I would be, and NOBODY SUGGESTED THAT IT WAS A BAD IDEA. Not parents, not teachers, NO ONE pointed out that my costume was about a dozen kinds of offensive, kind of racist, and totally inappropriate for an 11-year-old and for school. The 80s were a different time, what can I say.
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Several years ago, when the costumes-must-be-slutty thing was juuuuust picking up and wasn’t yet totally overplayed like it is now, I was invited to a Halloween party with a very fashionable crowd. They, of course, were right on the cutting edge of the sexy-everything costume trend. I, however, was stuck in my “witty puns make great costumes” phase.
So you can imagine my entrance when I waddled through the door of the party dressed as… White Trash.
Seriously. Not sexy white trash. Just white trash. I found it hilarious when I first thought it up. I devised a suit of white Hefty-bags for my arms and legs and a huge one full of crumpled paper for my body, with paper towels sticking out of the top around my neck in an Elizabethan collar of sorts. Meanwhile, the first people I saw when I walked in were a Sexy Cheerleader (wearing what basically amounted to a ruffle around her buttcheeks), a Sexy Cowboy (chaps and vest), and a Sexy Bumblebee (various little striped scraps). And there I was, wearing a crown made of paper plates and Q-tips.
I like to think I really pulled it off, though.
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Anyway, I’ve learned that I do better with costumes when I am given a theme or some specific instructions to follow — not when it’s just a free-for-all, come-as-anything kind of affair. That’s too much room for error — I mean, creativity.
Be safe out there. And keep your eyes peeled for murder clowns.
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In other news:
Many thanks to the Queen Latifah Show for featuring The Random Penguins. The birds will be popping up periodically throughout the end of the year in a little holiday-themed series. This was a lot of fun to work on! Here’s the first one.
Enormous thanks to Barnes & Noble and the folks at Touchstone / Simon & Schuster for inviting me to interview Allie Brosh, whom I would absolutely adopt if she were just a few years younger and I were a few years older and I could possibly pass her off as my own.
Other than the bit about bananas (she’s such a good sport), my favorite part might be the “best advice” she passes on. And I have to agree with her 100% on the word “blogger.” We need a new word. Anyway, click on over to the interview if you’d like to read some of her fabulous answers to my goony questions. Thanks!
On that note, I really enjoyed this NPR article about the impact of immediacy in storytelling: “Present Tense: Allie Brosh, Donald Glover, and Hurting Right Now” It mentions comedian Rob Delaney, too, who’s quite the pleasing mix of intelligent and nuts and whom I also had the pleasure of interviewing this week. (More on that later.)
Oh, and Parcheesi finally died. Without question. Totally dead. Just thought I’d keep you posted.