What do I want to be?

Published 4:30 pm Wednesday, October 25, 2023

What do I want to be for Halloween this year?

It’s always an interesting and exciting question. As an adult, the answer is usually that I wear a t-shirt from my rather limited collection of horror movies. By limited, I mean I own about three, all related to the movie and book “IT,” by Stephen King.

I once had an orange shirt with a jack-o-lantern’s face on it, and my rounded shape helped me look way too much like a carved pumpkin.

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As a child, I wanted what was to me the holy grail of trick-or-treating costumes — a plastic Frankenstein’s monster mask and matching vinyl cape. The full cost of that costume was about $1.50 in the late 1970s — somewhere around $8 today. The mask did not fit well, of course, the elastic was not very “elastic-y” and was attached to the mask’s temples with remarkably thin staples of questionable strength. The cape would attach around your neck with ties that were equally uncomfortable.

But like any person who enjoys high fashion will tell you, you must suffer for beauty.

I wanted that costume so bad. I asked for it multiple years, I’m sure. I knew I couldn’t get a ghoul or vampire — they were too bloody or gross — but a square-headed monster with bolts in his neck was just cool. And if anyone asked me any questions after the obligatory demand and threat of “Trick or treat!” all I had to do was give a low rumble — “Uhhhhhh.” Perfect.

But my parents were pretty sensible people who did not want to waste money on something they knew I would likely destroy in a couple of hours by just being rough on it. I mean, I went through jeans and shoes like they were made of paper.

So I was more likely to go out begging for candy door-to-door dressed as a hobo (a little makeup, a stick and a bandana, along with a pair of my hole-y jeans) or a raisin (black trash bag), a bag of freshly-raked leaves (black trash bag and leaves), or a bag of trash (black trash bag, trash).

I’m only joking. I can’t recall ever going as a bag of trash.

As an adult, I fully understand when parents want to do either of the following — dress up their child in the cutest costume possible and show them off to the world; or tell their kid to wear whatever they want, and be happy when she wears her tee-ball cap, princess dress, butterfly wings, and fuzzy slippers, and carries a stuffed animal and a sparkly baton along with her jack-o-lantern candy bucket. Kid happy = dad happy.

I love Halloween, and I don’t mind saying so. I don’t have any problem separating the fun parts from the potentially evil stuff. That’s what we have to do on a daily basis, anyway. Whether you celebrate is entirely up to you, but if you do, be safe, sensible and have fun!

I think I’ll get one of those Frankenstein masks now! Let’s see … a little Google search, and … $20!!!?? Are you kidding me?? Guess it’s back to the t-shirt idea.

Because black trash bags are even more expensive.

News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at brett.campbell@dailyleader.com.