A costume draws people’s eyes towards you almost like being on a stage except it’s more personable. There isn’t the protective separation because of spotlight and distance. It’s real, you are a dude dressed up and they can see you… and talk to you.
I have always been impressed with people that have the strength to put on a costume. I look at them with a certain amount of awe, even those that attempt the cheaper creations. Of course, there is nothing like a great one though. For example, there is a woman down the street that on Halloween will dress-up as the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz and she has the look and cackle down perfectly. It can take a fan’s breath away… and also instinctively take two steps back in fright.
For me, I never feel more like an introvert than at this time of the year. I go into my shell as I hand out candies; always being sure to give a little bit more to the kids who look truly great.
Oh wait, does that make me a bad person? The fact I judge a kid’s costumes and award accordingly?
Actually the more I think about it, the more I am embarrassed I admitted that. Because even those in a bad costume are braver than me at that moment. But if I was to dress up…
I got this idea first when my son was two. At the time, he was really into playing with superhero toys. He had a bat cave that his little characters would fit in and we would spend afternoons making up scenarios for them to get the Joker.
Okay, I need to backtrack a little and explain that I am not my son’s hero. That is his grandfather, my dad. He has even gone so far as to say to me that when he is older my dad will become his dad. Which I guess, would leave me in the lurch with nothing. When a three-year old says that to you in all seriousness, it can’t help but make you take pause.
Yes, he only sees his grandfather about once every three weeks or so, but it was enough to engrain this into his brain. Maybe it is the fact that every time he and the grandmother come in it means possibly new toys, clothes and games for the afternoon. Or maybe it is simply the fact he is older or that he sees me every day, in my good days and bad. Whatever the case, he is the hero and I am not.
So returning to me and the bat cave, I began to imagine superhero possibilities. What if on Halloween I was to come down the stairs dressed as one of his superheroes to take him trick-or-treating? He would have to connect me to the idea of heroes, right?
I began to run through the possibilities.
- Green Lantern… He would expect me to make something.
- The Flash… I would have to run.
- Superman… Okay, that is setting the bar way too high.
Now, there was a possibility! Batman was human and very popular, which means easy to find.
So I began to search through different sites and called stores asking about their costumes. But as each day went by and I was astonished again and again by how much it was to rent a really great costume, my courage began to lapse. Excuses began to emerge (I would probably scare him, all of the Batman costumes are pretty dark, etc. ) and the holiday came and went.
Today, my son is five, almost six, and I think about this idea each year; but I have not made the calls since that one year… Oh, and my dad is planning to come in and trick-or-treat with my kids again this year. I’m sure my son will be thrilled.
The Nerd in Me
Having a blog has forced me to accept the nerdness in me. My numerous posts on Doctor Who, Star Wars, and The Lord of the Rings are proof of that; making each post in a way a therapy session in embracing this part of my personality. Before the blog, I was happy for people to think all I did was sit around reading classic literature and writing sophisticated (and fun!) books (like this one). Now they probably imagine me correctly in Back to the Future t-shirts with a Death Star on my keychain (my sonic screwdriver broke off the chain last week).
Yes, I can debate the finer points of each of my obsessions with any fellow fan and each year I wonder what it would be like to step into the shoes of one of my nerd heroes. Let me give you an example, my current fanboy choice-
I want to be Gandalf.
Yes, I want to be an old wizard. I want to feel the weight of that gray cloak, the weight of his hat, the weight of his beard, and the weight of his cane in my hand. I want to stand on my porch and scream loudly at the trick-or-treating kids: “You shall not pass!”
… and then add: “…without a peanut butter cup.” (Those are my favorite candies to hand out.) Come on, I’m sure a joke like that would never get old.
The Standby Indy
The first one I bought was with an order form in the back of a Star Wars magazine and it could not have been more cheaply made. If it didn’t have the Lucasfilm logo on it it would’ve been pretty obvious to everyone I had just been swindled. Heck, it barely fit on my head and it was considered a Large. But to be fair to the makers of it, I do have an outrageously sized head.
The second Indiana Jones hat I bought was at Disneyland. I had just moved to Los Angeles and realized that “Hey, I could skip class and go to Disneyland,” which I did. And that first trip was a glorious visit since there was a rainstorm and no one was really there. It was almost as if the park belonged to me.
For those that don’t know, they have this magical little store right near the Indiana Jones ride and you can pick out whatever fedora hat you want. They are better made and even come in sizes that work for someone with a noggin like mine. I wore that hat the rest of the day, it got wet, but I didn’t care. I even tipped it a little to the automatronic Indy as I passed him on his ride. Yes, right then Indiana Jones and I were hat brothers.
The third time I bought a fedora hat was when I thought I had lost the second one. I didn’t. It was behind my dorm-room bed, but it gave me an excuse to go to Disneyland again. Hooray!
Since then Indiana Jones has been my go-to when I need a quick costume and I have the courage to give it a try (and I know drinks will be available).
See, with a leather jacket I can look like Indy saving Marian at her bar. With the white dinner jacket I can be Dr. Jones in the nightclub trying to find an antidote. And if I really have the time and energy (and the scissors) I could cut up a shirt and be Indiana Jones at the end of Temple of Doom, saving all of those children. A hero for kids everywhere.
Every year it seems Halloween costumes for kids get more and more elaborate. This year, my son is going as Iron Man and the fact his costume doesn’t make him fly is rather surprising. His mask opens up and closes just like it does for Robert Downey Jr., the chest even lights up.
I have become friends with one of the dads of his friends, and for a while we were scheming to get our kids to want to dress up as Kirk and Spock. There was even a serious debate at one point which would be Spock. But this plan was shot down by our boys before it was resolved.
Together, this all makes me wonder if we introverted parents are living vicariously through our children. Which means, do I, honestly, want to dress up as Captain Kirk? Me? A grown and well-educated adult?
Okay, I can’t wipe this silly grin off my face.
Set phasers on stun!
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