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I have never been a big Halloween fan. Perhaps it started when my mom missed the memo about dress-up day being pushed to November 1st on account of the Pagan history attached to Halloween at a Catholic school and thus sent her quiet, unpopular, and abnormally tall 9-year-old to school as “fat, white Shaquille O’Neal” a day early. Or maybe when my first sex dream was about Jack Skellington, an event that awakened a fear of not only my own sexuality, but now skeleton penises.
My frustration with Halloween begins at the conceptual level. Do we really need a day devoted to fear? Is the world we live in not scary enough for you people? I’ve done the math in my head. I’m good, thank you. I have my debit card balance. Snakes. Fucking ISIS. Oh, what’s that, a little zombie hanging from your doorway? That’s cute, but I need to buy new tires this month. Oh, you’re dressed up as Freddie Krueger complete with a fake chainsaw? I keep getting Facebook friend requests from this man I always see at the laundromat and to whom I only gave my first name. That shit is very real.
This goes back to the Trick-or-Treat safety rules always imposed on us at an early age. I don’t know about you, but the “Hey kids, this day is supposed to be scary in a fun way, but it’s also scary in a scary way because some people want you dead” speech didn’t exactly rev my engine to put on a bootleg Pocahontas costume and go to strangers’ homes for candy that may or may not have razors in it. Call me a scrooge, but I could get just as much candy with five dollars and a trip to Big Lots and I wouldn’t have to have an adult examine it first. But I digress.
As for costumes, I have always found joy in inventing lazy ways to participate. The aforementioned “fat, white, Shaquille O’Neal?” Just a Shaq Lakers jersey with a pillow under it and a black wig despite Shaq never having any hair throughout his NBA career. I once went as a “volleyball player” to a high school party that conveniently fell right after my volleyball game.
However, with the beginning of college came the emergence of the “sexy” costume. Thanks to sorority and fraternity theme parties, dressing up in costume was not restricted to late October. As someone who historically disliked dressing up, theme parties were not what sold me on joining, but part of the magic of sisterhood was the abundance of costumes to borrow from your more fashionable friends. Slutty Wonder Woman, slutty nurse, slutty cop, and countless other outfits made many a forgettable appearance, sustained many a jungle juice stain, and ended up on many a fraternity bedroom floor and still managed to re-emerge on someone else the next weekend. And why not? I had the workout regimen and metabolism to pull it off. I had much more to reap than to sow in this particular component of membership. I didn’t feel guilty about being tagged in a photo of me nursing a Franzia bag as slutty Elmo because my mom wasn’t on Facebook yet. Times were good.
But deep down, I knew I was never a traditional slutty costume person. Toward the end of college, I gradually reverted back to my old ways until I eventually reached the lowest level of enthusiasm while still cooperating with the trend. I had a fake beard and American flag headband that combined with jean cutoffs to work for a “slutty *insert redneck male country singer or Duck Dynasty character here.*” In fact, cross-dressing became a personal trend as I learned I could just add facial hair to my usual nighttime wardrobe and instantly become a slutty male rockstar. What do I do with short blonde hair? Add a scruffy goatee and I’m Slutty Kurt Cobain. Longer wavy brown hair? Add some feathers and a soul patch and watch Slutty Steven Tyler appear in my mirror.
This year, my time is up. Nothing of note happened to compel me to hang it up, but everyone has an age where it becomes cheesy. Sometimes it’s 30. Mine is 24. All of the Harley Quinns and Donald Strumpets will look great, I’m sure, and more power to them. This isn’t my Kobe moment. I didn’t love this game and I wasn’t great at it, but it deserves better than to silently fade into oblivion. Maybe I’ll be back someday, but for now, I will just tell my friends to look for a fat, white Shaquille O’Neal at any and all upcoming costume-centric events. .
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