Nancy Pelosi’s Bra, and Other Halloween Scares

 Halloween is the scary holiday, and it’s timed perfectly to arrive just before the two scariest spots on the calendar: winter, and elections.

It’s hardly surprising, then, that one popular Halloween mask is that of the politician. One year I dressed up as Nancy Pelosi, stopped all the other trick-or-treaters, and collected 28% of their candy. The bra was kind of binding, though. The problem is, half the people don’t recognize political figures, and the other half get too scared.

“What costumes? We just finished some barbecue ribs.”


My main criteria for choosing a Halloween costume was always warmth. In northern Indiana, it’s not unheard of for Halloween decorations to be under a layer of snow by the end of October. Any Hoosier parent will tell you the main challenge in designing a costume is incorporating a winter coat and snow boots. Dressing as an astronaut is very popular.

As for me, I stopped going out on Halloween when I got old enough to buy candy at the store, turn off the porch light, and sack out on the couch in a diabetic coma. Preferably while watching a really awful Godzilla movie.

The last time I dressed up for the holiday Emily and I went to a Zombie Walk, costumed as … well, you know. On a whim I walked into a grocery store and asked if they had any bran. The clerk said, “Last year you were way scarier as Dick Cheney”.

“Brains–huh. Nothing there.”


We always tried to do costumes on the cheap because, well–I’m cheap. So we scrounged around the house, looking for something that could be worn over insulated long underwear. For instance, my adopted brother Martin once gave me a bag of hand-me-down clothes. We don’t have the same fashion sense, what with me being a white small town boy and him a black guy from Fort Wayne, which is a big city by my standards.

Most of the clothes did class me up, a little. But I also found a uniquely loud puffy shirt, and a pair of oversized parachute pants that button all the way down the side. No, I never saw him wear them in public–I suspect he was messing with me.

That gave me two choices: Go to Halloween as a stereotypical 70s disco black guy, or a clown. I’ll never be politically correct, but you can guess which one I did NOT go as.

A rare photo of me outside in November.

 Another choice was something my mother bought for me years ago, back when she (correctly) assumed I needed to get more fit. It’s this silver foil costume designed to hold in body heat, like a personal portable sauna. I used it once on the treadmill and lost twelve pounds in thirty minutes. I could have gone as a zombie without needing makeup, if I could walk in a straight line, which I couldn’t. Still, a little silver makeup, an aluminum foil hat, and: tah-dah! I’m a space alien.

If I ever trick-or-treat again I’ll choose that outfit. Any candy I eat will sweat out of me by the time I make it home. Besides, I’m bound to stay warm no matter how cold it gets outside. Since my one and only goal from October through March is to stay warm, I could celebrate Halloween for months to come, even as political campaigning leaves me cold.

And if that doesn’t work, I still have Nancy Pelosi’s bra.

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