Halloween’s in the Bag

Posted: September 9th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: City Livin', Miss Kate, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop | 6 Comments »

Halloween is like black licorice–you either love it or hate it. I personally loathe black licorice but I ADORE Halloween.

What can I say? It’s a legitimate day upon which my inner showman can shine. If you’ve known me for more than say, three minutes, this I’m sure surprises you not in the least.

Hey, materialists get Christmas, romantics get Valentine’s Day, and folks like me get Halloween.

I don’t consider myself terribly competitive, but on Halloween no last-minute Walgreens caliber witch costume will suffice. In fact, if it ever got to me going that sad route, I’d rather just not participate. And unlike some folks who specialize in the gory, scary, or sexy, I don’t like to limit myself. I’ve dappled some in the scary realm, and intentionally steered clear of the costume-as-excuse-to-show-leg. I mean, anyone with a nice pair of stems and a little imagination can find a way to expose their assets. But the sexy pirate, the tavern wench, the 80′s slut, or the naughty devil get-ups not only offend me with their lack imagination–they’re just plain tacky.

Though bad taste comes in many forms. And some would argue that in my career of crafting costumes I’ve teetered on the brink of it myself. But as my old friend Andy Robinson says, “I’m not for everyone.”

If there’s any one theme, I’d say my costumes are most often reflective of the times. Like in 2004, I couldn’t resist a snarky ‘tribute’ to The Gipper. Wearing a sensible dark wool dress, a scalloped gold necklace and brooch, and a fluffy brunette wig in an effort to make my head appear as large as humanly possible, I was a mourning Nancy. I walked through the streets of the Castro—San Francisco’s dearly-departed Halloween epicenter—clutching a tri-folded American flag, sobbing into a hankie and crying out occasionally for “My Ronny.” Those gay boys who hated Reagan loved it.

My engineering masterpiece wasn’t a terribly original costume, Janet Leigh showering in Psycho. Its merits revolved around its construction. I rigged a piece of PVC pipe in a halo high above my head, from which I hung a plastic shower curtain and a large dummy arm clutching a bloody knife that swung at me. Mark–a non-lover of Halloween who graciously endures my antics—made a soundtrack loop of the famous “WAAH WAAH WAAH” sound effect and secured a micro cassette and little speakers somewhere along my back. Try listening to that for more thanĀ  five minutes without wanting to stab yourself. But, hey, that’s the kind of commitment I’m willing to make for a costume.

Which is to say I’ve also suffered my fair share of physical pain. Sure as kids we all had that annoying condensation build-up inside our plastic masks, or costumes that made sitting and certainly peeing an impossibility. But try lugging a hand-crafted sandwich board-sized Wheaties box with a oval cut out for your face to an evening of hi-jinx and debauchery (while trying to look cute and meet men). This I endured for my Olympic gymnast Kerri Strug costume, complete with the bandaged injured ankle she still vaulted her way to gold medal glory with. (Am I dating myself here? She made all the news back in ’96, trust me. Michael Phelps may we remember you 12 years from now…)

Anyway, all I can say is that costume delivered a facial ring of fire the likes of which I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I also did a decent job of whacking people with the side of the box whenever I’d turn even slightly. Though my friend Kevin, dressed in a hastily-made but hilarious Bela Karolyi costume—which he perfected by sadistically barking heavily-accented gymnastic directives at me—did his best to guide me through crowds to avoid injuring innocent bystanders.

Some time in that same late 90′s era, horrified Noe Valley mothers pulled their children close to them on the sidewalk when they realized my blonde wig, pink satin dress, lace ankle socks, and Little Miss Denver sash was an overgrown imitation of recently-deceased pageant-rific JonBenet Ramsey. Young girls walked up to me cooing about princesses and their mother’s smiled, then blanched, and steered their innocents clear of me. And I don’t even think they noticed my excellent strangulation-bruising make-up job.

Ah JonBenet. That one was a classic. Those patent leather Mary Janes are still around in a box somewhere.

But really, the costumes over the years are like one’s children. How could you ever say you love one more than another?

Last year, more than 7 months preggy with Paigey, the timing was perfect for me to become one with Buddha. (Ask me if I’m still bitter that it didn’t garner a prize at the company party.) Needless to say, my rotund midsection fit the Buddha bill to perfection, but despite my best efforts at Ace-bandage bondage, I think I was a bit more buxom than would have been ideal.

So often it’s the timing that makes the difference between a good costume and a really offensive great one. Which is why while watching Kate and Paige playing from across the room yesterday I nearly squealed with excitement at the thought of two costumes that were spot-on for them.

All it’ll take is a brown dress, a little black hair dye on Kate, and maybe a bit of a trim–otherwise she’s ready to roll as a perfect Piper Palin. Of course, she’ll be cradling Miss Paige, playing Trig, and I’ll coach her to do that little spit on the fingers and hair-smoothing maneuver we saw at the RNC.

It’s perfect, right? I mean, how many people have kids the right age for this? Not to mention a mother with the utterly unflinching poor taste to pull such a thing off.

Of course, I wouldn’t ever really do this. For the costume to be truly authentic I’d need to surround the girls with a convention center’s worth of 9,000 or so utterly deranged mis-informed and asinine Republicans. And thankfully I couldn’t find that may conservatives in Northern California, even if for the sake of a damn good costume I wanted to.


6 Comments on “Halloween’s in the Bag”

  1. 1 RookieMom Heather said at 9:31 am on September 9th, 2008:

    I love it. The hair-spitting would be a nice touch for sure. I wanna see the Buddha pic. Do you have one?

  2. 2 Nell said at 12:34 pm on September 9th, 2008:

    My personal favorite mama-baby costume was by my friend Julie. She went as a butcher and dressed her infant as the cutest pig you ever saw.
    I love Halloween too; we break out the “Nightmare Before Christmas” and it’s in constant rotation until New Year’s…especially now that we have our very own Jack Skellington.

    BTW, I don’t recommend Key West to just anyone, but the October Fantasy Fest there is an (open-minded) Halloween lover’s dream. It’s like the Castro, or Exotic-Erotic, only warm!

  3. 3 Lori said at 7:13 pm on September 10th, 2008:

    So does this mean that you are getting ready to rock your updo and spendy glasses for a Sarah Palin costume?

  4. 4 The Subtle Rudder said at 12:06 pm on September 11th, 2008:

    OMG. I would eat kittens to see you as an ankle-taped Kerri Strug, with Kevin as Bela, barking accented orders. In fact, I would make a special trip west just to see that. Post pictures if you can find them.

  5. 5 Mary said at 9:34 pm on September 11th, 2008:

    You MUST go as Palin. Mark can be your tool husband.

    By the way- love that line: I’m not for everyone.


  6. 6 Julie said at 6:56 pm on September 14th, 2008:

    You’re slipping! I thought for sure you’d have Kate be Bristol Palin.

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