SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
In my adult years I’ve never been a fan of Halloween, especially now that I’m not supposed to be eating candy anymore. I mean, what’s the point?
It pained me to see store shelves stocked with Halloween products in August, a time when werewolves and mummies would be dropping of heat exhaustion. They replaced back to school products, which hit the shelves around the time school let out earlier in the summer. Those products often have to fight for space beside Christmas displays.
In the defense of businesses, they have to get some of that merchandise sold off by November, so they have room for Valentine’s Day stuff.
January and March are only there to give the merchants some breathing room.
But my biggest problem with Halloween is the timing. It’s the middle of autumn, the days are getting colder, the trees have shed their leaves, and winter’s ready to have at me with both icy barrels. What’s to celebrate? National Frostbite Month?
Researchers say 43% of adults who have Seasonal Affective Disorder, as I do, had that form of depression in childhood. In other words, I wasn’t just a miserable kid because I was a miserable kid, although I’m sure I was that, too. That means that as a child I probably approached October 31st with the attitude of my two media heroes, Eeyore the donkey and Grumpy Cat. If anybody cares. Which I doubt.
That explains why my main goals when it came to Halloween, then and now, was to find the warmest costume available, and to eat enough candy to put on a good coat of insulation.
My earliest Halloween memory was dressing as a little devil. I was covered head to foot in red felt, had a forked tail, and carried a wicked looking pitchfork. I looked a lot like an IRS agent.
That must have been an unusually warm fall, because I remember actually being a visible devil. Usually in northeast Indiana you could only see that part of the costume between the bottom of our winter coats and the top of our rubber boots.
Many years later, as a teenager, my friends and I talked each other into going trick or treating dressed as women. I saw the benefits immediately, and went as a “frumpy” woman. In other words, I wore layers of clothes and stuffed the front of my chest with insulating material, then put on a huge wig and a princess mask. Every part of me was protected from the elements except my hands, which had to be free to collect treats.
Once I was too old for the treats part I pretty much lost interest in Halloween until I had kids of my own, and began looking for ways to dress them warmly and cheaply. Turns out they weren’t as bothered by the weather as I was, and were more willing to do crazy things like decorate, and go outside, and care. Just the same, I think the Giant Box of Popcorn outfit was a work of pure insulation genius.
Now I’ve come up with a list of ideas that can meet my goal of warmth while also being an actual costume:
Werewolf. We have a dog who resembles a wolf, so Emily suggested we all three dress that way. I accepted the idea immediately, because it meets the goal of being completely covered.
Polar Bear. Any bear will do, as long as there’s fur.
Dumbledore. He’s a Harry Potter wizard, best known for long robes, big hat, and flowing beard. I could wear ten or twelve layers under that. According to J.K. Rowling he’s also gay, which means I could also cover myself with a rainbow blanket.
Firefighter. Easy-peasy … I already have the outfit. Ironically, while it does a great job protecting from heat, it also holds heat in very well. Sometimes too well.
Eskimo. I don’t think that’s the PC name for them anymore, but the important part is that you get to dress like someone who’s dressing warm. Just stay away from the people costumed as polar bears.
Costumes to avoid in northern Indiana during October: Pole dancer; Olympic diver; Miley Cyrus; college cheerleader; Aquaman (being wet saps body heat); and deer.
The costume I’ve always wanted to try, but haven’t because it’s not warm enough: politician. I know what you’re thinking: A liar like that? His pants have got to be hot. But really, I just wanted to add one really scary costume to the mix. I figure I’d dress up like Joe Biden, act out of touch, take half of your candy, and spy on your house.
It probably won’t scare the kids too much … but the adults will be terrified.