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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Today In The Bathtub ...

Each year it gets harder and harder to come up with a clever or original costume idea for Halloween. Luckily, in a way, my burden for originality has been lessened over the past nearly three years because my current employer does not embrace Hallow's Eve "tomfoolery" ... we're fortunate that we were able to sway the human resources people to let us have a potluck luncheon. And not surprisingly, a number of dishes are themed around the strange and haunted ... last year, one guy brought in a huge peach jello mold in the shape of a brain accented with chunks of celery and shredded carrot. It was disgustingly neat!

But then there's my buddy, Trevor. He has a big Halloween blow-out every year and if you don't make every effort to attend in full regalia, he will make your life a living hell the next 364 days until your shot at costume redemption.

I've done all the traditional get-ups ... pirate, alien, cowboy, and warlock. When I was a kid, my Mom made this really elaborate clown costume for my oldest brother. She made it really big out of these loud fabric remnants and cleverly incorporated a series of ties so that it could be adjusted to almost any sized person. All four of us kids, an uncle, and even a few family friends wore that costume at one time or another. It had its own special garment bag large enough to hold the foam rubber feet, red wig, nose, hat, and assorted "accents" that we collected over the years. I wore it years ago to Trevor's first bash and everyone loved it. In actuality, wearing it for the party made me miss my Mom and I didn't have a very good time. Anyway, the real surprise was that after being in storage for years, the costume was in great shape. I think the thing is indestructible. It has now been passed down to my nieces and nephews.

Just a few years ago, I attended Trevor's soiree as "Waldo" of the "Where's Waldo?" franchise ... a pretty simple and comfortable ensemble. And NO make-up needed! Everyone wanted to know if I was hot in the hat and scarf. Not really well received. Another year, I went as Pete Rose ... full baseball gear and betting slips to hand out ... Trevor looked at me and just rolled his eyes.
The year after that I was Steve Irwin ... khaki "safari" clothes, a goofy longish blond wig, and a stuffed "stingray" carefully stitched to my clothes so it sort of wound around me. It had only been about two months since the zoologist's untimely death ... comments like "too soon!" seemed to follow me at the party and Trevor didn't talk to me for two weeks after that shindig.

October 2007 was the year I sat down, dug deep into my creative soul, and decided to go "conceptual artist" with my first of many esoteric outfits. When Trevor opened his door that year, I greeted him in black jeans, a black turtle neck, and black Chucks. I had went to a craft store and found two bags of stuffed chickens ... 36 in all ... and I basted them to my ebon garments in a way where they could be simply removed by snipping off a few threads. Then I used balsa wood and a plastic head-hugging headband I "borrowed" from my niece to fashion a large letter "U" that I could paint red and dark gray. The swoopy letter sat atop my head like antlers on a mid-century modern stag. "What the hell are you supposed to be?" my buddy asked, a drink in his hand and the beginnings of a look of shame on his face. "A chick magnet," I responded with pride. That particular Halloween, I was anything but!!

next year I bought some inexpensive board shorts and the ugliest Hawaiian shirt ever manufactured. To this I adhered keys I had pulled from an old computer keyboard. I used Gorilla Glue because that shirt was going in the trash as soon as I got home from the party. At a party outlet store I bought a pack of plastic leis (for around my neck) and one bag of fiberglass "cobwebs" (which I spread all over my body). I put bright blue sunblock on my nose and borrowed the boogie board that my nephew purchased on his family's last trip to Hilton Head. Snazzy flip-flops completed the look. When anyone asked what I was supposed to be, I replied with a trace of irritation "I'm a Web Surfer." One girl who had definitely been imbibing for a good amount of time asked if I had considered giving rehab a shot. I drank heavily in response.

last year, I thought and thought but nothing coalesced in my brain. I gave up and went on a hunting expedition to the fabric store and bought several yards of discounted pink fur. I had my sister help me build a kind of wide serape or "pocket" that covered me from neck to knees. Tapping into my feminine side, I purchased the largest pink tights I could find and forced them over my legs ... they fit terribly but I just needed the look from the knees down. The night before Trevor's party, I got out the hot glue gun and attached a huge assortment of toy food items I found with the toy kitchens at a department store. Pork chops ... loaves of bread ... little skillets with fried eggs ... bacon strips ... a chicken leg ... a carton of ice cream ... a can labeled "PEAS." The costume got heavier the more things I added ... a miniature ketchup bottle ... some chocolate chip cookies ... a tiny birthday cake ... so I finally had to stop. I must have looked like an idiot shrugging into the furry thing out on the street beside Trevor's apartment building. A stranger answered the door when I knocked and just looked at me with a bit of a challenge. I gave "heys" and "hellos" to a few people I knew but said nothing more. And no one questioned me. Finally I couldn't take the pressure anymore. "I'm an upset stomach," I bellowed. "Get it! GET IT!!" Of course, they didn't.

So Trevor's 2010 bash was last night. I had a good time and everyone liked my costume. It was comfortable and easy to assemble. Unfortunately, the "easy to rinse out" hair dye was proving to be problematic. I have now washed my hair four times and it's still pitch black and a combination of oily- and scary-looking. Luckily it's Sunday, but my littlest nephew wants his wiffleball bat ... my "club" ... back today so he can play with his friends. But I think it's safe to say that "Fred Flintstone" was a hit at the party!!

OF RANT: Yabba ... Dabba ... Never Again!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, it's all too much bother for me. We tend to stay here at the house and give out candy to the kids who come to the door. Last year, we went to a party at a friend's house that was such a blast we decided to actually get costumes for this year. Then she decided not to have the party this year. "Maybe next year," she has told me, saying it was too much trouble this time. And I actually can understand that. She's had a very busy year, and they do up their house better than most haunted houses I've seen. It's hard to explain sufficiently, but every inch has some form of ghoulish entertainment--bodies even crawl out and try to grab you from under furniture!

    Anyhow, if she decides to have the party next year, I'm sure we'll go and I suppose we'll even buy (no, not make--too much trouble!) some nice costumes.