Friday, October 31, 2008

What are you so dressed up for?

There's been a lot of intellectual activity at my house this week. Oh, the brainstorming! The research! The algebraic formulas!

Each day, the committee met to carefully consider each potential idea. Measurements were taken, calculations made, bite-sized Snickers consumed. After procuring fabric and bubble wrap, the assembly crew worked in the flickering glow of the Daily Show, the Colbert Report, and TiVoed episodes of Chuck. Finally, in the wee small hours of Friday morning, the ideal Halloween costume was fully realized.

It's serious business, this annual choice of alter-ego.

I'd forgotten how important it was to choose just the right costume. These days, a mustachioed set of glasses or bobble-y antennae headband is sufficient for my needs. (Before I headed to class today, I applied a fingerstache with a Sharpie and called it done.)

The young folk, though, have different needs.

According to Muffin Uptown, the ideal Halloween costume needs to be original, and it needs to be funny. And while Groucho Marx or Quail Man might meet those criteria, they fall short of the final, most important standard.

The best costume also has to be hot.

And I admit that when she said this, I suddenly remembered what it was like, dressing up for Halloween while I was in my twenties. I recalled the years I'd masqueraded as a playboy bunny, a punk rock chick, a magician's assistant. I thought about the false eyelashes and fishnet stockings I'd worn, and what it felt like to leave the house for that all-important party dressed as someone else, but not. I can--just barely--remember arriving at the door determined to show off my edgier, more dangerous side, and relishing the sidelong glances and imagined whispers as I made my way across the room and into the party.

Look at her. Who does she think she is?

image, Chicago Tribune Archive, October 1957.

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