Halloween, not just for children

Matthew O'Leary

How many of you faithful readers have given consideration to your Halloween costume this year? How many of you outgrew dressing up for the occasion years ago, and are too busy with schoolwork to give it a passing thought? The majority of us are probably marginally intrigued by the holiday, only reminded of its existence by the ubiquitous images of spooks and specters that have become staples of the fall season. Its sights, sounds and smells are fond reminders of our younger days when the excitement it elicited was matched only by the excess of Christmas. Marching the streets as a witch or a werewolf, a princess or a Ninja Turtle, there was a guaranteed haul of delectable treats that far surpassed whatever Santa might cram into our stockings. Colleagues, I submit to you that those glorious times of mirth and frivolity behind a mask can and should continue.

Allow me to introduce myself by way of describing my frame of mind as month’s end approaches. There is little doubt that I am on the lunatic fringe when it comes to Halloween, and the weeks leading up to it. It is not an exaggeration to say that it is on my mind for months in advance, and I weigh the pros and cons of potential disguises as if I were choosing a college. The process of preparing myself mentally for Halloween begins around early spring some time. I will typically visit no less than six stores in comprising my getup. Three cheers for the Peter Pans of the world who refuse to let the elementary school crowd bogart all the joy inherent in this day of masquerading. Sure, sure, Halloween is a stage to be grown out of, right? At this point in our lives, the occasion ought to be marked by little more than a spooky soiree? Well, not for me, friends. It is the pinnacle of my calendar year and I approach it with the enthusiasm of a four-year-old at Sesame Place.

Last year’s Halloween was a lifelong dream come true when I became the Tin Woodsman from the Wizard of Oz. At the conclusion, I wondered how I could possibly hope to top such a getup in future years. I’m not concerned about that anymore.

Inspiration has struck, and a vision is in the process of becoming a reality. Suffice it to say I am throwing myself into putting together something impressive. Who wants some pre-fab costume that takes about two seconds to throw on? (I confess, there were moments where the adult-sized-Spongebob-in-a-bag was tempting.) I have come to the conclusion that settling is not an option. There will be no compromising of standards and certainly no concession to “maturity.” The bar has been raised, and anything less than a 110 percent effort to transform myself into something fantastic or ghoulish would be disappointing, indeed.

There are others out there like me, more than you might think. My hope is that those of you who do not afford the day its proper respect will change your tune in time to get together some bizarre ensemble. Come on, people. It’s not like this is some president’s birthday, or even Arbor Day (although they do give everyone the day off for the former. Thank the stars Halloween falls on a weekend this year.) This is All Hallow’s Eve we’re talking about here. Let’s get fired up for the opportunities it affords us to frighten the bajeezus out of pals and strangers alike. It’ll be another year before you can walk around with paint slopped all over your face in full confidence that not another soul will bat an eyelash. It’s not every day that knuckle-headery is the norm.