The Rant

Costume Drama

I've had to come up with costume ideas for 51 Halloweens, and frankly, I'm over it

Bitch, I'm Madonna!

Have you ever noticed that people who like purple are often over the top about it? Like, there's that person at work with the purple coffee mugs and pens and a purple boa strewn over her computer. Or your aunt, who's got about 450 purple sweaters to go with her many purple reading glasses.

Or, if you really want a good example? Prince.

People aren't like that about other colors. "Oh, I'm a charcoal gray person! Does it come in gray? Ha-ha!" "My whole HOUSE is burnt orange!" You never see that. Just purple.

It's the same with Halloween. Christmas and Halloween seem to be the only holidays where people lose their minds over them. You never see any Facebook updates: "Only 47 more days 'til Passover!" "I've been planning my Thanksgiving outfit for WEEKS! Can't wait 'til you all see it!"

My father was really into Halloween, which worked for me, because starting about mid-September, he'd head to the basement and start working on my costume. I won the prize at school several years in a row. My robot was riveting. My "I'm a flower in a pot" was charming.


And then he stopped making costumes for me. You know why? Because I grew up.

At some point, you stop getting Easter baskets, and you don't lay out cookies for Santa. (I'm sorry if I'm not being very inclusive with my holidays. I'm tempted to call my Jewish ex-husband and ask him to name some sort of kid thing you do on a Jewish holiday, but I'm on a deadline, so you'll have to forgive and forget, there, Sheldon.)

You become an adult and you celebrate holidays like an adult—meaning, you get together with your family and try to drink as much wine as possible until you can go home and get the hell away from your critical grandmother-in-law.

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But Halloween? It's the holiday that won't grow up. In college, there were always giant Halloween parties, providing every girl an annual opportunity to look as slutty as possible. Oh, sexy maid! Sexy cat! Sexy alcohol-poisoned college girl!

OK, I can see celebrating Halloween in college. Heck, on Wednesdays in my dorm, we had linen exchange day, where you take your sheets down and they handed you new ones. We decided linen exchange day was a great day to have a party.

To sum it up, college students will drink for any reason whatsoever. This is why college is valuable. It prepares you for adulthood, so you can handle grown-up things, such as quietly getting snockered on your mom's merlot at Easter.

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But here I am, 50 years old, and Halloween continues to assault me. There's an annual contest at my workplace and the competition is fierce. I also get invited to parties, with scavenger hunts and prizes for most original costume. I mean, people go all out with this business. Last year, someone came to a party dressed as Uma Thurman in "Pulp Fiction," with a big ol' hypodermic needle sticking out of her chest.

And here's the thing. I hate it. It finally occurred to me that I hate it. I've been pressuring myself to come up with fabulous costumes year after year, and the whole thing just makes me tense.

First of all, I have zero visual skillz (and apparently zero spelling skillz, as well). I'm just not very good at creating costumes. And secondly, much like how 450 times during the year, I'll think, "Oooo, that's a great cat name," yet any time I get a new cat I can never think of any of those good names (please remind me that "Ida Morgenstern" is a GREAT cat name), I can only think of funny Halloween costumes in, say, January. Then costume time rolls around and I'm flummoxed.

At some point this year, I thought of a Rockabillie Holiday costume, where, like, I'd be Billie Holiday if she were a rockabilly chick. This stems mostly from the part where I just want to be a rockabilly chick. But, see, here Halloween is, right around the corner, and I haven't the first clue how to pull off that idea. (Please see above reference to visual skillz.)

What really irritates me is why should I have to spend time coming up with a Halloween costume? I'm freaking 50! I should be working on my stock portfolio and getting colonoscopies. I've had to come up with costume ideas 51 Halloweens in a row now, and frankly, I'm over it.

I know I sound like I lack whimsy, but I assure you I have whimsy coming out my ass. I just really don't want to drag my middle-age self to the thrift store, the wig store, the plastic-sword store or the Billie Holiday store so that I can look like an idiot during a meeting at work on October 31.

And I don't want to have to traipse through the cold in my Sexy Middle-Aged Lady outfit, clomping three and a half blocks in Lucite heels to get to a party. I just want to sit grown-up-ly somewhere, hand out razor-free candy the way real adults are supposed to and then maybe plan a nice Thanksgiving dinner menu while I enjoy a roaring fire.

Halloween is the holiday that refuses to grow up. It's some kind of trick that, for me, is no treat.

Tags: memoirs

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