Friday, October 15, 2010

Take This Halloween Costume Advice and Shove It

When your kid reaches age five, is already smarter than you, an awkward mix of pride and shame antagonizes the ego. You could show a terrier a fire hydrant made of steak and he’d be less confused.

As a child, my Halloween costumes were a series of comic mishaps worthy of a much larger audience. If reality TV had existed back then, I might have been rich and famous.

My parents, God love them, were happy to oblige whatever crazy costume idea I came up with each year. This was exceedingly educational. Read on to partake of my wisdom.

Once I was a mummy. They wrapped me in about $60 worth of toilet paper, only to find that whenever I moved any limb at an angle of five degrees or more, the paper ripped. By the time I got to the car (we lived in the woods and had to drive to the suburbs for Trick-or-Treating) I had inadvertently
shredded the costume.


Then I went through a series of box-oriented costumes. One year I was a robot, the next, a birthday present. There might have been a jack-in-the-box mixed in there somewhere, as well; I’m not sure.

At any rate, my mother slaved for hours elaborately decorating large cardboard boxes in colored paper and tin foil, only to discover on Halloween night that the costume would not fit into our undersized Subaru station wagon.

You’d think we would have realized somewhere along the way that the whole box thing was a poor idea.

DO NOT MAKE A BOX COSTUME FOR YOUR CHILD unless you’re absolutely certain you won’t have to drive him or her anywhere for a while.

I vaguely remember my mother pressuring me to be a pirate one year. I must have been just a little tyke, but the idea of wearing an earring scared me to bits, partially because I imagined searing pain in my earlobe, and partially because boys did not wear earrings in those days unless they wanted to be picked on relentlessly.

It’s too bad that I felt the need, as a six-year-old with big plastic glasses, to assure everyone how manly I was by not wearing an earring. I might have had more fun.


Another year, when I was closer to adolescence, I got the idea of dressing as Johnny Paycheck, who sung the famous tune “Take This Job and Shove It.” Instead of saying “Trick or Treat” at every house, I wanted to say, “Take this Halloween Candy and Shove It.” Thankfully, I was talked out of that idea.

No matter how original and avant garde your child may feel, DO NOT PERMIT HIM TO DRESS AS A DISGRUNTLED COUNTRY MUSIC STAR. (But a gruntled country music star would be fine.)

Also, please resist the temptation to dress your child as a politician. Every year I see shorties running around in Regan masks and Bush masks and it makes me wonder if there’s been a robbery at Midget National Bank or something.

I admit, though, a Paul LePage costume would be pretty scary, but you’d have to instruct your child to curse at people after saying “Trick or Treat.” Then, if they don’t give the exact candy he wants, he should storm angrily away from the house.

My daughter, wiser than I ever was, is a bumblebee this year. If my ego can recover from the sting we’ll have a great time.

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