has always held a special place in my disturbed, scarred heart
. I can remember what I dressed up as for Halloween all the way back to Kindergarten
, which is remarkable, considering the problems I have remembering what I did last year, let alone last week.
In Kindergarten I was a simple ghost; the classic bedsheet over my head, a few holes cut for eyes, and a little white face makeup so my pasty-yet-not--totally-white skin wouldn't ruin the effect.
In 1st grade, I was a mummy. I was wrapped head to toe in toilet paper, and I looked scary, damnit.
Come 2nd grade, I'd gotten a bit more into Halloween, since my ever-strengthening brain demanded more from a costume. That year, I would be a vampire. Fake teeth, white face makeup, eye makeup, eyebrows penciled in, plus a nice, black cape and a button-up white shirt and clip-on bowtie. It was great.
By 3rd grade, I'd become a full-fledged Halloween nut. It helped that my birthday was on October 18th, and since I'd begun asking for money for my birthday instead of gifts, I had some spare cash to spend on necessary Halloween related items. This year, a typical costume would not do, no no. It had to be awesome. I had to be the one and only Link. My grandmother on my Dad's side sewed me green shorts, a green shirt, a green elfish hat with yellow band, a quiver, and I found a nice brown belt. My Grandpa on my Mom's side, who I've always referred to as Ol Ba, helped me make a shield with the Triforce symbol on it. I went shopping in Halloween stores, looking for the perfect sword, and finally finding one that had a bronze-colored blade and a blue hilt. My costume was complete, and I could go to school and trick-or-treat contented.
There's a slight gap in my memory, though, and I can't recall what I was in 4th grade. I don't recall it being a particularily traumatic time or anything; I can still remember who my teacher was and a few details about the year. But I can't recall what I was that year. I had to have a costume; it was mandatory for me. Regardless, I forgot.
Moving along to 5th grade, I decided to put together a Knight costume. Using large amounts of cardboard and black duct tape, Ol Ba and I fashioned a suit of armor, replete with gauntlets, leggings, shin-guards, and helmet. The helmet was a work of art. If you've ever read the X-men comic book, you've no doubt seen Magneto's red helmet. It was one of those. Despite being made out of cardboard, we were able to dome the top perfectly. My grandpa sure knew how to bend cardboard to his will, I'll tell ya. We also took a yardstick, cut it down, and made a sword out of it, using silver automotive tape to cover the blade, and, of course, black duct tape for the handle. My Grandmother also made me a black, velvety cape, which attached to my cardboard chestplate via some snap buttons. I was a certifiable badass that Halloween, no two ways about it.
The next year ended up being sort of a let down. I wasn't on my game when Halloween came around, and had to cobble together a costume in mere hours. I ended up being an army grunt, although the quality of the costume wasn't up to snuff. In fact, it was awful. I wish I would've forgotten about that year instead of 4th grade, because I doubt 4th grade could've possibly been a worse costume.
In 7th grade, I had to redeem myself. I had to be at my finest. Spare no expense, if you catch my drift. So first I had to determine what I was going to dress as. The decision was easy, as I was knee-deep in my X-men obsession at the time: I would be Gambit. I found a white bathrobe, and dyed it dark brown. It was easy enough finding some black spandex pants, and sewing some red echelons on them. Same went for the red shirt. The last step was the doozy - The headpiece. I took a ski mask, chopped it up properly, and then used it as a template to sew together a single-piece black headpiece like he wore. The costume ended up looking spot-on, and I'd even managed to get quite good at throwing playing cards. Channeling their kinetic energy towards explosive ends proved difficult though.
I couldn't rest on my laurels the next year though. I needed to show I could consistently make up kick-ass costumes. I don't know who I had to show it to, but I did, damnit. This year, Doom II was all the rage, so I was the Doom guy. The space marine that had been through hell, killed John Romero, and came back for more. It was actually a piece of cake, I just needed a short-sleeved semi-tight T-shirt, the black tights from the previous year, some boots, and a lot of makeup. I made myself look like I'd, well, been through hell; blood and scars and bruises everywhere. The coup de grâce was my double-barreled shotgun - More cardboard, more black duct tape, and more silver automotive tape. Now, picture this - A videogame playing nutjob running around a school with a gun. In retrospect, I appreciate the twisted irony.
My last year of Junior High, 9th Grade, saw the final year of my Halloween creativity. I went as a vampire again, a little more elaborate than 2nd grade, but nonetheless, not a very original costume. The major differences were ornamental; aside from a much nicer cape, I sewed some red velvet gauntlets to set off the whole outfit. Regardless, it was the beginning of the end.
That year marked the last time that I trick or treated. On October 31st, 1996, I sat in the computer room of our house, intently playing Ultima Online. Halloween was passing by my very eyes, and I didn't even give a shit.
I really do miss the fun of this holiday. I miss having a reason to spend weeks preparing elaborate costumes. Every year around this time, I think to myself, "Man, I could make some really wicked costumes." But there's no point in getting all dressed up when you have no place to go.
I also miss the candy.