This incredibly flattering photo of a friend and I was taken this past weekend at was has been dubbed "First Possibly-Annual Zombie Prom 2012." Catchy title, no? Although I haven't done it much in the last few years, I actually do love dressing up for Halloween. Until I get to wherever I'm going and I'm like, somebody-take-my-face-for-a-second-so-I-don't-pick-it-off-trying-to-itch-my-nose-without-ruining-my-two-hour-makeup-job-thanks.
The last time I dressed up for Halloween, I thought it would be really cheeky to go as the cover character from Invisible Monsters. Too bad it just looked more like I got into some dirty business with Kirby. That same night, one of my friends arrived with eight tails pinned to her outfit and wearing cat ears. It took me about ten minutes to guess "octo-pus," and then another 30 seconds to internally shame myself for my lack of ingenuity with wordplay.
When I think back on the Halloweens of my childhood, I am reminded of my father. Dad hand-sewed Pocahontas for me when I was wee, as well as Belle the following year. What can I say, the dude is good with a pattern. Let's not even talk about the fact that he used to cross stitch, too. Who else can say they are that in touch with their feminine side (excluding you, Trent -- we all know you make a better woman than me any day. Can you teach me how to walk in heels without looking drunk yet?)?
Years after I stopped hunting for the perfect Jasmine costume (I spent an entire season hounding The Mother to find me the "red" Jasmine costume. Remember that? When Jaffar has her imprisoned and she must wear the clothes he chooses? Yeah, I wanted SLUTTY Jasmine. Psychoanalyze that, Freud.) and I began trick-or-treating without my parents, I remember my father's graduation to True Teen Embarrass-er. That year -- way before the Zombie Apocalypse became not just cool but totally plausible -- he painted his own face in the walking dead fashion, donned a ratty old sweatshirt with the hood drawn and ripped jeans, pulled a metal garden shovel out of the shed and proceeded to follow me and other young people around; dragging both one foot and the shovel behind him. I can still remember hearing the noise of the grinding metal from blocks away and his stories of scaring the shit out of teenage girls all night long.
Seriously, who does that? Until I remember that one time my friend and I got kicked out of the mall for walking around with a "free hugs" sign and accompanying, informative flyers. Yes, we were even followed by security. Leading me to question, what kind of world allows a grown man to follow young people around on Halloween while a pair of sweet, innocent teenagers get unceremoniously thrown out of the food court for wanting to spread some joy? I guess you could call it the difference between and pre- and post- 911 one. Let's not even go there.
But what I can really conclude through these musings is just how much clings to us that shapes who we are. I know that The Mother and I are like two branches on the same tree. I've come to terms with that (just kidding, mom). It's taken me a while to grip what I've gotten from the other half, just because I haven't been paying as much attention. I thought that was my brother's job. And at the same time, it takes that recognition to distinguish ourselves, too. To take and to give back. To see ourselves as the same but also vastly different.
So I guess I should just say, thanks for the lack of shame, Dad. I owe you.