1989: My best friend and I went as Ghostbusters. His Proton Pack was purchased from Shopko and looked real. My Proton Pack was made by my dad and was (in fact) a handheld Black & Decker Dustbuster strapped with bungee cords to the back of my jacket.
1990: Read the instructions for our kindergarten costume party wrong and ended up wearing my Superman costume to school for two days in a row.
1991: Dressed up as a ghost during the infamous Halloween Blizzard. I was forced to let my mom get involved. So around my ghost costume, she wrapped a Sears’ winter coat, two or three stocking caps, a couple scarves, and one of those gross neck-warmers. I went to about three houses, knocked, and scared the shit out of the neighbors, who wondered why, in 4 feet of snow, the neighbor boy was wandering the streets blind dressed like a member of the Klan.
1994: Without any forethought, and about 2 hours to spare, I threw on my dad’s boots, a large puffy overcoat, a blaze orange stocking cap, and then—here’s where the costume part comes in—applied bright orange freckles with a Magic Marker on my face. I went door-to-door with my friend, the Power Ranger (purchased from Shopko, again). Everyone loved my friend. The first guy at the door with a bucket of Butterfingers just looked at annoyingly and said, “And what in the hell are you supposed to be?”
1997: At the 7th grade dance (I wore my Cris Carter jersey out of obligation to get into the dance), I worked up all my courage during the night dancing with Mollie Madsen to put my hands on her butt. All the other guys did it. Put their squishy, sweaty hands on their girl’s butt during the dance. And Mollie seemed to want me to (she even told me to). So eventually, at about 11:55 p.m., during that Lonestar song, I reached down Mollie’s butterfly wings (she went as an insect), and rested my fingers on her butt at the precise moment the chaperones hit the flood lights in the gymnasium revealing about 150 parents—including mine and Mollie’s own—to be surrounding us.
2002: No costume. And due to likely still outstanding legal charges, I can’t give too many details, suffice to say a random toilet bowl, a few matches, a shit ton of lighter fluid, and 2nd base on the middle school baseball diamond. It remains my most glorious moment yet, but it also involved 15-20 harrowing minutes running from the local sheriff’s deputy.
2006: My girlfriend in college thought it’d be witty and pretentious to go as Zelda and F. Scott for Halloween. The extent of the costumes loses me now (I think she had a dyed-black “flapper” wig, a Cruella DeVille-style cigarette, and some cheap white fur, and I wore like a suit coat and carried around a copy of Gatsby). But I do remember when our faux-fights (get it, Zelda and F. Scott!?) at the bar turned into an ugly, vicious, personal quagmire over who was more jealous of whose sexual past. Spooky!
2010: Another costume date. A different girlfriend. Same result. We went as the boy and the bird from UP and then broke up the very next day. Take-away: partner costumes have the amazing ability of stress-testing the emotional vulnerabilities already present in your relationship.
This year I want to dress up as a yacht club proprietor and not leave my apartment.