Ten years is about the extent of our Trick or Treating lives. Unless your parents were the industrious type and decorated you during your infancy and toddlerhood, but Halloween memories from those years only serve as fodder for nightmares. I trick or treated from 1975 to 1985, a chance decade that in my opinion, contained a better than adequate sampling of Halloweens. This era caught the end of the "flame retarded" mass market cheap suits and encompassed the razor blade scares, the birth of the slasher genre, and Jaycees haunted houses. It was also a time when just about every neighborhood in town handed out candy, meaning kids weren't limited to corporate events like Mall-o-ween and other Halloween substitutes.
I feel like the holiday has grown up with me. It seemed almost dormant during my "too cool" years, but then by the time I was ready to start celebrating again the Halloween Renaissance of the late nineties was upon us with a national upcropping of Halloween super stores and temporary haunted theme parks. These days, I'm just waiting for it to become a paid holiday.
But back to my ten years...
Pirates of the Caribbean souvenir shop was the basis for this ensemble. I think the skull and crossbones iron-on came out of a box of Honeycombs, but I'm not positive. I distinctly remember feeling like a fool thanks to that hole in my eye patch.
I know, I know.. how very predictable.
was Frankenstein in 1981. Please, please believe me. This is brutal. Here I am, a quarter of a century later and I'm still paying the price for my parents' dreadful decision.
Then in fourth grade I was subject to a surprise school-wide costume contest. We were lined up against the hallway wall as a select group of teachers examined each of us.. judging us. Up until that minute I had loved being E.T. It was my favorite movie, he was my favorite character and associating myself with the franchise was a privilege and an honor. But in the teacher's gaze my blinders fell off and I realized that I was one of three E.T's in my homeroom of thirty students. Which is to say that one tenth of my class consisted of lovable, stranded Extra-Terrestrials. In that moment I tasted a new kind of shame.
The Twilight Zone.
In a calculated effort to heal my wounds from 1982, I had my sights set on another costume contest. I stood in line with the other contenders with a huge smile and when I took my turn on the floor I was drunk with self-assurance. But as it is written: Pride goes before destruction. I lost to my best friend's rubber monster mask. After some detective work we learned that the judge thought I was supposed to be a janitor. (A janitor with a proton pack; give me a break.)
The best thing about this outfit? It looks life-like, in a dopy sort of way.