Thursday, October 17, 2013

Nurse the Hate: Hate Halloween

I used to really enjoy Halloween.  That holiday could be relied on to provide me with some of my most fun and memorable nights in my life.  It’s really a great idea, when people can be anything they want to be, if even for a few hours.  While the Dead Kennedys in their song "Halloween" pointed out, there is no reason to limit that personal freedom for just one day; most of us just don’t have the courage.  That’s what makes it so special I suppose.  I was thinking about my own Halloweens.  I have had some terrific, and not so terrific costumes.  If I may, let me provide you with a quick rundown of the high and low lights…   

Football Player-  This is the first costume I can remember.  I was three.  Living in Philadelphia at the time, I was a Philadelphia Eagle.  I had a helmet, jersey, and football pants.  I may have also had little shoulder pads.  Even now I remember I was #35, who as I recall was a guy named Adrian Young.  I know he wasn’t a star on the team, because I remember my father remarking, “Why would they make this an Adrian Young jersey?”  I’ve always remembered that when we took it out of the box.  I later used it in when greeting my father at the Philadelphia Airport.  I was always hoping that I would be mistaken for a player while at the Airport, but at age three or four I did not grasp that the Eagles did not spend their entire lives in uniform.  I also probably didn’t think through that at age three, I was a little small for the NFL, even to the naked eye of a stranger.

Grim Reaper-  I spent a fair number of years in my childhood trying to perfect this costume.  In my mind the combination of skeleton PLUS creepy black hood was a can’t miss situation. The Grim Reaper is such a classic Halloween image, like being a moving jack-o-lantern.  Hell, The Reaper even makes an appearance in “A Christmas Carol” when he busts Scrooge’s chops.  When you get that kind of cross holiday appearances, you know you’re dealing with a real A-list costume.  My big issue was the skeleton mask I bought at Spencer’s was always too big for my child head.  The mask was adult sized, and when combined with my child’s body I looked like a Grim Reaper dwarf.  I was not the terrifying last moment of mortality, but more like a vision of death that would climb from a clown car. 

The Devil-  In an effort to recycle the Grim Reaper robe, I bought a devil mask to turn into Lucifer himself.  Why I was unable to learn the simple lesson of “giant mask=weird looking kid” I cannot answer.  Those masks always looked so awesome on display, all sensibility just flew out the window.  Making matters worse, I could never see out of them either.  Why should I?  It was cut for an adult head.  I spent Trick-Or-Treat trying to walk down the sidewalk looking out of a nostril most of the time.  Another big mistake I made was the addition of the plastic pitchfork.  This is a very common rookie mistake.  To add yet another thing to carry beyond the pillowcase of “fun sized” candy was a huge error in practicality.  There was a horrible incident when I lost my pitchfork making an ill-advised “short cut” through the woods, and I completely lost my composure.  I look back in regret at this costume choice.  I may have been seven, but I was a God Damn Fool.

Martian-  I bought this amazing looking mask kit for this Martian head that had two protruding eyes.  On the box it looked awesome.  In reality it looked sort of dodgy because I had to build it with model airplane glue.  Making matters worse, I waited until the last minute, and the glue had not completely dried.  It was a hard plastic shell that encased my head much like a knight’s helmet.  Essentially I had imprisoned myself in a glue-sniffing device.  For all intents and purposes, I huffed glue for three hours straight on Halloween.  The mask was ripped from my head in the waning hours when I was blindsided by a swung bag of candy from a neighborhood tough.  I was so stoned I had no idea why I could suddenly see the stars.   This was a poor idea I executed poorly.  I had a headache for three days.  This mask may have been the reason I later did so poorly in both algebra and geometry.

Face With Ripped Out Eyeball-  This was the last of my forays into the world of masks.  It is incomprehensible to me why I bought this mask for my costume.  Yes, it looked cool.  It would have looked awesome if I was my size now.  Instead I was about 5-2, so I managed to once again get that “big head/little body” thing happening.  The worst part of this mask was that one entire eyehole was missing as it instead had a bloody eye hanging from fake tendons.  This cut my potential vision down to one eyehole.  There have been hostages with better vision afforded to them than I provided myself that Halloween.  If I would have gone from Trick-Or-Treat to Guantanimo Bay, I would have felt right at home.  I spent the entire holiday walking around with that mask perched on my head at the ready, like a rubber knit cap.  When we hit the front doors, I pulled it down and said a muffled “trick or treat” inside my sweaty rubber blindfold.  If I close my eyes and concentrate, I can still smell the inside of that mask.

Gladiator-  This was a real win.  I bought a plastic gladiator helmet, made a toga from a sheet, kept a rubber sword in a dress belt, and stole a garbage can lid for a shield.  As a bonus, three of my college roommates went as the same thing.  I really enjoyed being buzzed up yelling things at enormous crowds like, “It is I… Gregorious Augustus… Give glory to Gregorious or prepare to taste my blade!”  At one point, we had stopped all traffic on Main Street as we had drawn our swords standing across the road yelling what we thought sounded like Gladiator Talk.  In retrospect, it was probably closer to Monty Python inspired Middle Ages banter.  This costume was a real winner until I got so loaded I failed to notice it was 41 degrees and I was basically standing around outside shirtless and in shorts for six hours.  I got really sick the next week.

Superman-  You may not think I have the body to wear a skintight super hero outfit.  You my friend are completely correct.  If you wanted to know what The Man of Steel looked like if he ate too much pizza and drank too much beer while also failing to achieve any sort of muscle tone, I was your guy.  This really took some courage to wear as a costume as it made me look about as badly as I possible could.  It was a body stocking with a cape.  To make matters worse, I stuffed the crotch to an outrageous size and “accidentally” brushed my groin up against unsuspecting ladies all night.  It is very easy to see why I was not especially popular with the opposite sex during this period of my life.

Cowboy-  Having now lost all creativity and energy, I take the fallback option of “cowboy”.  This means I put on my Whiskey Daredevil outfit and go to a party.  While everyone else is fidgeting around in his or her outfits, I couldn’t be more comfortable.  I might as well go in my underwear and slippers.  This is a complete copout on my part, and I accept any criticism without complaint.  It just shows how little real life I have left in me.


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