This Wednesday night is Halloween, that day of the year when mailboxes everywhere quiver with fright, and self-respecting adults think it makes sense to dress up as Snooki Polizzi from “Jersey Shore.”
This year also boasts a Presidential election, which means we’ll see a lot of people costumed as William Howard Taft. Kidding, of course. If you’re going to be a morbidly obese Republican with no neck, you’re going to dress up as Newt Gingrich. If you’re going to be a morbidly obese Democrat, you’ll dress up as Honey Boo Boo’s Mom. (Okay, that’s two Honey Boo Boo references in a month. I will now swear off any allusions to the reality TV show for the rest of the year. Also, just for the record, I have no idea if Honey Boo Boo’s mom is a Democrat. Yes, Honey Boo Boo endorsed President Obama on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, but her mom didn’t weigh in. For all I know, the only time Mom votes is when “American Idol” needs to send someone home.)
I asked friends on Facebook to share with me costumes they created that either were tragically unappreciated or, in hindsight, the Godzilla monsters of bad ideas. Here are some of their responses.
• Barbara Gaudreau: “Last year I went as a pig in a blanket. I wore a pig nose and wrapped a blanket around me. No one got it!”
• Teresa Burns Gunther: “My mother dressed me as Saint Teresa in brown robes and a veil, my hair hidden under a wimple. I carried a crucifix and roses to complete the outfit, and thus had no way to carry a bag to collect candy. My mother consoled me with the knowledge that I was a beacon to the heathen crowds on Halloween night.”
• Liz Grimes: “My best costume was blowing up a bunch of purple balloons and being a bunch of grapes. It was also kind of a failure, because going to the bathroom was a major challenge.”
• Amy Feld: “I finished chemo for breast cancer and went to a party (filled with people without a sense of humor) as Chemo Barbie. I got some props from my oncologist (who thought the costume was brilliant) and used an air conditioner stand as the IV-stand.”
• Cherie Tinker: “When I was in fifth grade, I forgot to tell my parents that we needed costumes for school, and so I ended up making my own. I wore a long pioneer-looking dress and let my hair down. I told everyone that I was Laura Ingalls Wilder as a child. No one got it.”
• Ginny Frye: “Years ago, my husband Mike taught at a technical college in Ohio. At the faculty Halloween party, we went as ‘male’ and ‘female’ electrical plugs. We made them out of huge boxes that covered us from our heads to our thighs. Mike's had the prongs, complete with the ground prong, which was made from a paper towel core. Mine, the female plug, had appropriately placed holes for the prongs. We could plug the costumes together, which we did. To this day, it embarrasses me to think about it.”
• Gale Deitch: “When my daughter was in sixth grade, she and her best friend decided to be a two-headed monster. They cut two holes in a sheet for their heads and donned matching monster masks. The problem? As they ran through the neighborhood, they had to stay together as one and they kept tripping over the sheet. But they sure looked cool when you opened the door.
• Bonnie Mark Monahan: “My husband once went to a costume party as Vegas Elvis. His confidence was crushed when someone thought he was the superhero, Shazam.”
• Juliet Smith: “Last year I went to a party wearing a blue dress, accessorized with a rubber chicken, power cord necklace. I was chicken-cord-on-blue. My friends and neighbors did not get my sense of humor and were not amused.”
Inspired? I hope so. Time to assemble your UNICEF cartons and track down your rubber chickens. Halloween is almost here.
(This column appeared originally in the Burlington Free Press. Chris's most recent novel, "The Sandcastle Girls," was published in July.)