Some people find Christmas the most stressful time of the year. For me, it was always Hallowe’en.
First off, nobody knows how to spell it. Is it with the apostrophe? Or without? All Hallows’ Eve? Or All Saints’ Eve?
Then there’s the costume. It’s the question that plagues parents every year and is guaranteed to cause tears and the occasional feud between best friends. Some parents ask their kids months in advance. This, however, is a waste of time unless you just want to see how many times they can change their mind before October 31st.
I used to try to get inspiration from television shows. Their costumes always looked great. Mine looked like I’d dressed out of the donation bin at the Sally Ann. It was a mixed array of odds and ends that might look like something if you squinted, tilted your head to the left and were prepared to continually answer the question, “Now, what are YOU supposed to be?”
What the younger me failed to understand is that most TV show costumes involved a special-effects designer, three seamstresses, several fittings, hundreds of dollars in material and a professional make-up artist to get just right. Meanwhile, the majority of us opened our closets the night before, sighed heavily, and then raided our dad’s dress shirts to do “the pirate-thing” for yet another year. That is, if we could jimmy a wire hanger and some tin foil to make a sword that we’d lose before the night was over.
The characters on today’s shows always seem to have such great innovative ideas for their Halloween costumes too. Sometimes they were simple like The Office’s “3-Hole Punch” Jim. Or classic like Parks and Recreation’s “Rosie the Riveter” Leslie. Or clever like Friends’ “Sputnik” Ross.
Meanwhile, I check out the local party store and find three Wonder Womans, (Women?), a Princess Fiona (no relation), and every slutty version career choice out there including nurse, librarian, and crossing guard. Of course, this year will likely also be filled with Trumps and Hillarys.
Of course, some TV costumes are just too complicated for the real world anyway. In fact, many fail to take into consideration a few basic facts of life. Most importantly, how will you go to the bathroom? Will it take a village to raise your hemline above the toilet bowl?
And can you drive in it? Or even fit in your car? Or is some assembly required in the bushes before you make your grand entrance?
There’s a lot of pressure to find just the right combination of creativity, humour and realism in today’s costume. Couples have broken up over this. And television isn’t going to help.
Meanwhile, this year I’m keeping it simple. I’m going to borrow a pipe and a plaid deerstalker cap to hand out candy while my dogs snarl and bark in a darkened front window like the Hounds of Baskerville.
I wonder if anyone will come to the door.