For most kids, it meant dressing up like their favorite superhero, or space alien, or hobo. And candy! For me, it meant panic attacks, stress-induced bloody noses, and crying jags. And fuckin’ candy! I was a fat kid, which explains the costume drama and the love of candy.
Now, the love for candy was directly proportional to my hatred for dressing up. It was full blown bullshit and ugliness, hot and wet cheeked hyperventilating conniption fits. I didn’t like it, I didn’t get a kick out of it, I barely tolerated it.
Look, my folks weren’t really hands-on parents. Mom didn’t sew us any costumes, and Dad didn’t construct us any props. I had the shitty store-bought plastic character costumes. The kind of plastic that felt specially constructed to worsen ensuing panic attacks by adhering clammily to any exposed skin, while the mask suffocated you from all sides and left you only a coin-slot-sized slit out of which to breath. Belabouredly. Agonizingly. Humidly.
There’s little in this world that hobbles the creativity more than self-loathing and so it went.
It still upsets me, slightly, when people ask me- NOW, in my adult life- what I’m going to be for Halloween. What am I going to be? I guess I’ll be untouched. Unfazed. Unaffected. More likely a spoil-sport, a sour-puss, a sad-sack. They don’t make any specific costumes for that. But any costume that is hastily patchworked together using items pulled out of your mother’s clothes hamper and from under the sink will suffice.
Halloween became fun for me later in life. Stretched out, prone, on the benchseat of a K-car. Smoking pot, talking about zombies, day-dreams of bloodlust and serial killers. I was too timid for real destruction, but we joked about it, then watched horror movies and kicked dead leaves into piles. Supernatural and natural terror was more fun when you were high.
Most likely I don’t care about your costume, you fucking adult, you. In fact, I demand an explanation for it. Not of what it is, but why it is? Why is it that you feel that this is acceptable? Oh, I don’t really care. I’m just jealous. Once a fat kid, always a fat kid. Pass the candy corn.
-Erin Demetria Cassavaugh