Blogger’s note: To my brothers and sisters. If any of you have pictures of me in my Halloween costumes, will you scan them and send them to me please. I only have three in my own collection at this time. Thanks!!!
That my birthday is on Halloween means there are a few built in assumptions that go along with it. First of all, I still get called ghoulish names as a joke. People also believe that I get a fair share of candy. Maybe when I was kid, but I can’t recall anymore. There are those who probably think I dress up for my birthday. When I breakdown all the years I have celebrated my birthday, I must admit that my dress up years were few. However, they were memorable.
I must take my hat off to my mom. She put in the work to make my costumes from scratch. Every year, Santa Paula would have a Halloween Parade down Main Street, and kids who showed up in costume would be allowed to march in the parade. There was also a costume contest in separate age groups. I can recall at least three years, and perhaps my brothers and sisters can help me remember more, in which I walked off with 1st prize in my age group. My mom took so much pride, and put in so much work creating my costumes from scratch. She would go to the fabric store, and get out the old sewing machine to work her magic. I do not recall many years where I wore a costume “off the rack”. As some of my siblings will recall with fondness I was once Superman. The costume was handmade with and iron-on Superman emblem, and lots of stuffing to make me look like a kids who ate too many Anabolic Steroids. I won 1st place for that. Another year I was a hobo. Perhaps it would be a little Un-PC these days, bit it was a handmade costume that nabbed me another 1st prize. I fondly recall my last dance with a first prize in the year my mom and my brothers worked together to create my Ham costume. In a frame of chicken wire covered with blank newsprint my mom “borrowed” from her job at the local newspaper, they painted the costume brown, and the word HAM was stenciled on the front. Despite working two jobs at times, my mother always found time to make me some great costumes.
In my adult life costumes have been rare. I am not much of the creative force my mom is, and often I just chicken out of the process altogether. However, there was one notable exception that happened in 2004 (I think). The prior year I had made myself a Tea Bag costume. It was pretty cool, but I wanted to raise the bar. For some reason, I was thinking Maxi-Pad. It was so outside the conventional wisdom of costumes. An obstacle was the fact I was not all that motivated to go through with it at first. However, my then girlfriend Leah, got behind it with her creative force. How could I not go along with it?
I must give Leah loads of credit for seeing to the design and construction of the Maxi-Pad. She taught me some basic sewing to get the two haves of the costume, which were a shower curtain liner and fabric, to blend seamlessly. Before we added the padding, Leah added one last touch. OK, two last touches. First, she insisted the Pad have wings. If you have seen those commercials for pads that pitch the fact they had wings made the costume even funnier. The second last touch was the quilting of the front of the pad. It was a brilliant touch that required lots of hand sewing. Leah did most of the quilting; she really wanted to see this costume through.
Before we hit the town with my costume, Leah busied herself once again by making her own costume. How do you accompany a giant maxi pad on a date? Well, you make a Tampon costume. I promise that before I die I will find those pictures of her and I together as Tampon and Maxi-Pad. For the most part, people got my costume, and were quite taken by it. I was carrying a basket full of panty liner pads. I passed them out to people who would take one. A very clear memory I have of that Halloween night in Arcata was when we walked by the donut shop. These girls were sitting at a table by the window and started to bang on the glass and we passed. I stopped to hear them shout through the glass. They asked what I was. Without saying a word, I took one of the panty liners out of the basket I was carrying and pressed it against the glass. The girls, it had to be at least three, jumped out of their chairs and ran out to have a picture taken with me. We made the rounds, and I must admit, it was quite entertaining to see people’s reactions. How the hell do I top that?
That was the last time I dressed up for Halloween. I can hardly imagine outdoing that even seven years later.
If you dress up for Halloween, I hope you have a blast.