First of all, I need to acknowledge the incredible outpouring of love and wonderfulness that resulted from Tuesday’s post, You’re Invited. Thank you all so very much, from the bottom of my overflowing heart, for being my Support Network!
Now to today’s post: Halloween!
I have not always been a fan.
What can I say? I don’t like to be scared.
I don’t like when things jump out at me or yell Boo! when I walk by.
(I am here to buy TOOTHPASTE, Walmart! Turn those dang motion-sensored skeletons OFF; I have a heart condition for goodness sakes. Jeez.)
However, I do like to dress up.
Once I realized that Halloween could be more about costumes and strangers giving me candy in a safe and socially acceptable way, I got more into it.
Oh costumes! The very best part of the Halloween celebration!
My mom used to make my costumes, which was very crafty of her (and truth time, thrifty, of her- those plastic/polyester store bought things are EXPENSIVE).
I was a devil the year I was born (I could not find this picture anywhere, but it was cute, let me tell you.) and wore a costume that both my sister and my mom herself had worn when they were also babies.
When I was one, I was a leopard, also a recycled costume of my mother’s (she had good stuff!).
At two, I was a ballerina who had to face a snowstorm, though the snowstorm bit was not a part of the original costume design- we had just moved to Minnesota and were greeted by the Halloween Blizzard of ’91, which people still talk about. It even has its own Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991_Halloween_blizzard
At three, my sister’s blue ballerina costume was repurposed into a Cinderella costume. The questionable choice of hairdo was entirely my own doing.
I don’t remember the specifics of Halloween when I was 4 but going into kindergarten brought around the greatest thing ever:
The Elementary School Annual Halloween Parade
I don’t know how many schools do this. I feel like everyone should. It’s just not enough that your neighbors get to see you all decked out; there should be parading in front of your and your schoolmates’ friends and family, followed by games and cupcakes with day-glo icing, at every school, every Halloween.
Kindergarten also marked my becoming a little, um, creative? with my costumes. I used to make up elaborate stories, and I happened to create one about a princess who was trapped by an evil queen who made her wear a mask (or something, I really have no idea what my tiny brain was thinking) and I wanted to be that for Halloween. Never mind that it wasn’t like, an actual “thing”- I figured I would tell everyone my story and they would go “Oh, that’s brilliant, you’re amazing, of course your costume makes perfect sense.” Which it didn’t, not really. I wore my mom’s old prom dress, a giant feathered mask that covered my whole face and tiny plastic high heels, which severely impeded my Duck-Duck-Goose abilities post-parade. The reaction was “Ok, sweetheart, whatever you say,” from adults, and “That’s weird!” from my classmates.
Psh. Whatever. I was a creative genius.
First grade was probably my most favorite costume ever. I was Scarlett O’Hara. Yes, I was 6. Yes, I knew who she was-I had already watched Gone With the Wind 982 times by that time. No, none of my peers knew what the heck I was, again. My mom was in the Miss Maryland Teen pageant in 1981 (and won Miss. Photogenic, Rock on Mom!) and she transformed her prize-winning pageant dress into a costume for me (#Sacrifices #BestMomEVER). She even had the brilliant idea to sew a hula hoop into the bottom seam of the dress so that it would flare out around me, no petticoats needed.
Have I mentioned my Mom is one kick-ass costume maker?
‘Cause she is.
Second grade marked a turning point in my costuming life. I really do not remember what I was, but I’m sure it was something totally random. What I do remember was that my best friend A wore a poodle skirt and saddle shoes to be a bobby soxer, and she got to wear LIPSTICK. Which let me tell you, was a huge deal. It was bright red, a color the cranky old second grade teacher remarked was “a little much for daytime” (She was 900 years old. Do not rethink your second grader’s lipstick choices, A’s mommy, who I know might see this blog- it was amazing).
I wanted to wear lipstick with questionable morals!
So I totally copy-catted her and was a bobby soxer the following year. I made my mom get me the shiny polyester outfit from the party store. (If I can find this picture I will edit this post to include it because Wow did I go overboard with the Lipstick- mine was hot pink, not red, and man, was that polyester shiny.)
It was the end of an era.
Other costumes I’ve had: the classic “Just Woke Up” girl (which really means you get to wear your PJ’s all day); an M&M (a borrowed costume from another classmate I envied); a Miss World pageant contestant (Miss Italy, woot woot!); Tinkerbell; and a Christmas Elf.
The Christmas Elf year was 6th grade. I was absent a lot, and completely missed the memo that costumes were so not cool that year. Everyone came in plain clothes, with way too much makeup for daytime (the second grade teacher would be mortified!) and the too-cool-to-care attitude to match.
I came dressed as a Christmas Elf with bells on my green felt covered toes.
However, I was not alone on the Island of Misfit 6th graders.
One boy came dressed as the Energizer Bunny.
Fuzzy pink bunny suit, giant drum strapped to his front.
We would later go to Homecoming together in High School.
My high school didn’t let us dress up for Halloween. It didn’t make any sense at all because we had Spirit Week every year where crazy costumes were required, yet Halloween was a no-no. Senior year, my friend M was so mad about it that she went to a costume store and rented a Glinda the Goodwitch costume- pink ballgown, giant crown, magical wand, the works- and wore it all day. The teacher who wrote her detention slip said it pained her to do so. It was fantastic.
Since I didn’t go to a residential college, I missed what looked like a good time at a number of costume parties. No one could confirm if it was actually as fun as it looked to me, because it was college, and they don’t really remember the parties all that clearly.
I have been itching to break out my costuming skills for a while now. I’ve always wanted to have a really spectacular costume party, complete with candy eyeballs floating in the lime flavored jello mold. It hasn’t been in the cards just yet. I’m planning now for next year.
Oh, but I miss the costumes!
For me, Halloween is more about releasing your inner Alter Ego than it is about anything else.
Technically, it’s not quite Halloween yet, but I decided what the heck.
Please meet my Alter Ego, a Roller Derby girl by the name of Eleanor Bruisevelt:
I fell in love with Roller Derby a few years ago, when the super fun movie Whip It! came out. We went to a Roller Derby match for my 21st birthday and it was awesome. At the time I was in a wheelchair, and I really felt like that should have qualified me to play- so what if I was on 4 wheels instead of 8?
Being an actual Derby girl is on my Bucket List. Seeing as I have fibromyalgia (read: ouchy) and Derby is a contact sport (read: super ouchy!) it may not be my most logical move. But it looks so funnnnnn!
Right now, I’ll settle for being a Roller Derby girl for Halloween. I have to use my Eleanor Roosevelt inspired Derby name sometime. I mean really, it would be a shame to let that name go to waste.
What are you dressing up as this year, Chronic readers? I would love to hear all about your costumes of Halloweens past here in the Comments or over on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/iamchronicallywell
If you’re into Derby, check out The Charm City Roller Girls, Baltimore’s finest Roller Derby. I’m wearing their t-shirt with my costume: http://www.charmcityrollergirls.com
Want to know your Roller Derby Alter Ego’s name? This is the very scientific name generator quiz I took:http://helloquizzy.okcupid.com/tests/the-whats-your-roller-derby-name-test
Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone!