I have never really been into dressing up for Halloween. My brother wasn’t either, even though our elementary school put on a huge costume parade every year for the parents to come watch. Our school was really into Halloween, which is probably why we didn’t give up on dressing up all together. One year, my mom could NOT get my brother into the Steve Irwin costume he’d finally agreed to wear. He loved Steve Irwin, aka the Crocodile Hunter, so she put together a little khaki outfit, the hat, a net we used during our summers catching frogs, and a tiny gator in the net. It was VERY cute. But when the time came, he refused. So she had a stroke of brilliance and bartered with her stubborn fourth grader, letting him draw all over her face with her lipstick if he put his costume on. He arrived at our elementary school as the Crocodile Hunter, net and all, and she was there with red lipstick scribbled all over her face. I wonder how the other parents must have reacted to her- they never dressed up, let alone looked like they’d had a breakdown mid-makeup.
I always dressed up, since we lived in an upper middle class suburbia where trick or treating was a high holy day. Some families did the two greatest things you can do on Halloween: leave a bowl out, or give out full size bars. My brother and I loved the bowl people even more than the full sizers- and although we were good kids in all other areas of our lives, we always dumped the full bowls into our pillowcases. Oops.
One of my greatest halloween costume memories takes place on one the same night as one of the worst halloween memories for my favorite babysitting charge. My brother and I were out roving the New Jersey neighborhood we knew so well from riding bikes and living there our whole lives, and started trick or treating very early. As afternoon turned to dusk, we crossed a perfectly manicured lawn and saw an abandoned pair of cat ears. I later found out the little girl I babysat for had lost them, which meant her costume was just a leotard and faded, drawn-on whiskers, and every house asked her what she was supposed to be. Tears ensued.
I have no clue what I was dressed as that year (see? not so into the costumes), but my brother was Peewee Herman. He was wearing a suit my mom had craftily turned shorter, like Peewee’s, and he had the red bowtie. He wouldn’t commit all the way, so his dark blonde hair was still long and not at all like Peewee’s, which is why his next move made so much sense. He picked up the lost cat ears, put them on, and was instantly transformed into Cat Governor. I’m not sure why we went with Cat Governor instead of Cat Mayor or Cat President or even Cat Peewee Herman- or anyone else wearing a suit who was now a cat. But we broke into hysterics for the rest of that long night trick or treating, telling moms with candy bowls that he was the Cat Governor. It’s easily one of my favorite costumes ever.
And it’s easy, too! I tried to sell my boyfriend on it this year. Suit. Cat ears.
Two steps, and you’re the Cat Governor!
Do you dress up for Halloween?
Just a few more days until the spookiest night of the year!