You can't mask Halloween apathy

<p> Halloween: I&rsquo;m just not that into it.</p><p> Oh, I like the subversive part where kids openly demand &mdash; and receive &mdash; candy from random adults. I&rsquo;m just not crazy about costumes.</p><p> It may stem partly second grade, when I missed Halloween altogether. On Oct. 30 I came down with chicken pox &mdash; all the rage in those days. I tried to convince my mother that I could still trick-or-treat since my costume would hide my condition. No dice.</p><p> But I still remember the costume. I had finally convinced my mom to get me a store-bought one. Let&rsquo;s pretend that I rejected Sleeping Beauty and Wonder Woman costumes as too clich&eacute; and chose Charlie Brown on purpose. It sounds better than admitting that everything else was out of stock.</p><p> They just don&rsquo;t mass-produce costumes like that anymore. The bodies were tie-on hospital gown-type affairs that were no doubt highly flammable. And the brittle plastic masks &mdash; held on by a flimsy elastic string that invariably broke in the first hour &mdash; covered your whole face, leaving only a tiny mouth slit and nose holes that discouraged breathing. And who can forget those pinprick eyeholes that eliminated your peripheral vision, preventing you from seeing oncoming traffic while crossing the street after dark? Ah, the good old days.</p><p> Alas, that year Charlie Brown stayed in the box. But subsequent years weren&rsquo;t much more satisfying, costume-wise.</p><p> In fourth grade, I dressed up as a flower. It rained hard that Halloween, and the blotting-paper petals around my face soon drooped and melted and stuck to my head. I left the house as a daisy; I returned home as a mortified Q-Tip.</p><p> In sixth grade, I went as a mime, complete with painted white face and rainbow suspenders. But it was a poor costume choice for me, insofar as mimes don&rsquo;t talk. Given my inability &mdash; which persists to this day &mdash; to remain silent for more than 15 seconds, in retrospect I should have gone as an auctioneer.</p><p> One year in college I pulled together a last-minute costume: I dressed all in black and taped an aluminum foil crescent moon to my chest. I&rsquo;m not sure which was worse: that no one guessed I was &ldquo;night,&rdquo; or that most people took one look at the moon and assumed I was an outhouse. Surrounded by coeds in sexy nurse, sexy vampire, sexy witch and sexy cat costumes, I realized I had missed the point of Halloween for adults: dressing in a way you wouldn&rsquo;t dream of on any other night, unless you are a stripper or Miley Cyrus.</p><p> Early in our marriage my husband and I dressed up once for Halloween. We attended a party as a football player and cheerleader, but with gender roles cleverly reversed. The thing is, a hunky, mustachioed man in a pleated mini-skirt carrying pompoms is always going to get a bigger rise than a woman in shoulder pads and cleats. I spent the night adjusting my jock strap while he wowed the crowd with his high kicks and bawdy cheers.</p><p> Last week a casual friend invited us to a Halloween dance this Saturday. It was a sweet gesture, but he obviously doesn&rsquo;t know us very well. For one thing, the event starts at 8 p.m., a time at which I am typically brushing my teeth and forcing myself to stay up another hour and a half so as not to appear uncool. (I do have an image to maintain.) What&rsquo;s worse, the dance runs until midnight, which, according to people who have actually experienced it, is the hour after 11 p.m. I&rsquo;ll take their word on that.</p><p> And last but not least, there&rsquo;s a costume contest. I just can&rsquo;t.</p><p> So Saturday night, while a couple hundred wild partiers are staying up late to laugh and dance and show off their sexy insert-any-noun-here costumes, I will dress up as a middle-aged woman in a sweatshirt and flannel lounge pants. Mark and I will crash on the couch, watch a movie, and pig out on the Snickers bars we bought on the laughable pretense that we might get trick-or-treaters this year.</p><p> I won&rsquo;t look like a sexy anything. Who cares? At least there&rsquo;s no chance I&rsquo;ll be mistaken for an outhouse. Call me a party pooper, but I consider that a happy Halloween.</p>

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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100