The month of Hallows Eve, witches brews, and goblin goos is finally here knocking upon the squeaky doors of our haunted mansions and it is time for us to be on our toes. We need to be watching our steps and peeking around corners so that we don’t have the bejesus scared out of us and find ourselves confronted with a different kind of horror of standing in our own puddle of pee. Yep, this is the month when it isn’t safe to go to most public places without experiencing a scare or at the very least an adrenaline spike. Even a place as innocent and generic as Walgreen’s is a dangerous place. You go inside searching for band-aids, tampons and cat food and find yourself confronted with the screams of some electronic seasonal floor mat, experience some ghost that Boos as we walk past it, and of course the neighborhood kid that loves wearing his blood squirting mask all month and jumps out from behind the tree as you are at your mailbox checking your mail.
Yes, there are plenty of things to be frightened of this time of year. But maybe the most frightening is that this is the time of year that makes or breaks many of us if we take the time to pay attention to it. When I look back through the years I can see that my costumes were very telling of my self-esteem, my wrestling, and yet my taking advantage of a time of masks and costumes to hide behind the fact that I was gay. The costumes were definitely a reflection of the satisfaction rating of my place in life, as they often coincided with the many emotions and situations that I was dealing with as I was coming of age. I haven’t really thought much about costumes in the last few years as we now have a son and the costumes in my life usually revolve around his emotions and situations. Mostly I can’t even relate to Power Rangers, Harry Potter or Bob the Builder. To me these manufactured popular costumes can’t even come close to revealing my son’s emotions and therefore promoting his attitude of self-realization. In my day as a child we had to make many of our costumes. And as with any craft, an artist’s emotions are evident in the finished product. For example, at the age of eight I dressed as a ghost because I was feeling insecure about the feelings I was having for my 2 nd grade teacher, Ms. Hall. Having that bed sheet shrouding my body felt safe, cloaking all of my Southern Baptist shame. Yet, by the time I was a little more hormonal and feeling my oats, I went as the suave and sexy ladies man, Dracula, two years in a row at the ages of 11 and 12. Yes, I was out to “woo the ladies” with my masculine hair doo, black satin cape that my Aunt Mary made for me, and the smart, all-black ensemble of clothing that completed the outfit. I didn’t think much of the one trickle of blood that my mom painted on the corner of my mouth with her lipstick, but it could have been a little telling of my sexual libido. (But in order to protect the innocent…I’ll never tell.)
But my costumes as a teenager were truly the most telling. At thirteen I was John Travolta’s Danny from Grease. In Junior High, I was truly feeling my Packer oats and went as Kevin Bacon’s angry, dancing character, Ren, from Footloose. But probably the most imaginative and telling of all costumes was in 1987 when I went as Sgt. Roger Murtaugh, Danny Glover’s character from the first Lethal Weapon movie. He was a bit of a sexy, family guy and country chicks dig that. Plus, I was a bit naïve and believed the saying, “Once you go black….” Honestly, I was counting on some redneck chick who wanted to find that out for herself. I will never tell the secret of the costume of the red neck chick “…who never went back,” but let’s just say that if I were to dress up this year it would be as Peter Griffin, the goofy, flawed but loving husband and dad from the cartoon Family Guy.
I suppose when I started this article I was feeling a bit nostalgic for my wild oats days. But now I know that I am quite happy being a middle aged, belly bulging, often times wrong spouse, blessed by a beautiful wife kinda gal. Life isn’t so scary. The scariest thing of all would be if I did something stupid enough to lose her.
Live Love and Be Afraid… Be Veerrrry Afraid, Equally!