I'm going to test your Halloween costume reading level. The following picture is:
c) glam and elegant
e) none of the above
The correct option is e) none of the above. Anytime a kid dresses up, as long as they aren't dressed wildly inappropriately (like a stripper or pack of cigarettes), the answer should always be f) cute. My cousin Kiri (left) and I (right) were dress-up pros. Halloween was naturally our time to shine. My friends and I also did some serious costuming, and though I don't have any pictures of our greatest outfits on my computer at the moment, I'll see if I can dig some up at home. Mine include but were not limited to: Groucho Marx, the requisite princess and witch, a baseball player, a bear (as in one of the three parts of "lions and tigers and..."), an alligator, a clown, etc.
Our elementary school gang would traipse around the neighborhood in high spirits collecting bite-size bars and trying our best to be charming and cute at the door in hopes of being told to "take an extra few pieces." We walked around the neighborhood until our feet started to hurt or it started to rain, at which time our parents took their increasingly whiny cartoon characters or mermaids home. Or their robots, in the case of my friend Rufus at age five. He wore a box with doorbells pasted on out of which he could not see and his dad had to choose the candy for him as he said "trick or treat!" with an echo from inside the box. His mother held his hand and guided him down tricky front steps. Ah, youth.
In college, I did don my share of not quite trampy but still slightly skin-bearing costumes. It was fun--the ultimate excuse to be a little bit bad--but Halloween post-trick-or-treating age has always felt like more effort than it's worth (plus, you're garaunteed to end up in one of the categories a) through d), and by default those aren't as awesome as looking adorable as a little kid; costumes only go downhill after age 11 or 12). When I was a kid the holiday was a huge event, something special: how often did we get to hang out with friends on school nights and play dress-up for hours on end? It was a holiday with year-long anticipation, and weeks-long costume planning. It was thrilling. Now, Halloween is another night out, just in a weird outfit. It's no longer a big deal where I get to accompany my best friends down streets where I'm convinced a goblin lurks.
P.S. Devoted readers, what were your best costumes or funniest Halloween memories? Leave them in the comments, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet them to @char_is_wilder . Best ones get posted. Or, better yet, email or tweet me pictures of your best costumes (this year or past) and I'll post the winners!