I love Halloween. It was never a holiday that was greatly celebrated in my family (until recently) and, yet, it found a way into my heart. I loved the feet-less jumpsuit costumes where, along with the cheap plastic masks, I could be Superman or Batman or He-Man or whoever. But, even before that, in Kindergarten, I was Karate Man, which was a character of my own creation. The costume consisted of me wearing my martial-arts-themed pajamas to school. My only regret with Karate Man was not having the foresight to call myself Karate Kid, thereby losing my stake in the future movie franchise.
Right around the fourth or fifth grade, I discovered the joy of creating Halloween costumes from scratch. Being a creative kid growing up, I was able to work (what I like to think of as) Halloween miracles.
Most of my Halloween miracles were relegated to the annual parade at Carnelian Elementary School, where all the students in all the grades would walk around the campus in a single file line, displaying their costumes for teachers, staff, and parents. And, once school was over, I generally took the costume off and that was that. I wasn't allowed to go trick-or-treating. My mother, you see, was very concerned about me getting poisoned or kidnapped or some other such tragedy, so, instead of trick-or-treating she would usually take my brother and I to the video store to rent a few scary movies and order us pizza.
The only real opportunity I had to go trick-or-treating was in junior high school, when, during a Halloween slumber party, I went out with four or five of my best friends (of course, my mother didn't know about this and there's a very good chance she's finding out about it for the first time at this very moment). It was the most fun I can remember having on Halloween.
I had a knit reggae cap with fake dreadlocks that my grandmother had made for me, which I pulled over my face, like a mask, and tied a bandana around my head, resembling a sort of knitted version of Predator. I could barely see through the knitted yarn, but I was assured by those around me that it looked great. I wandered around the neighborhood for hours, laughing and collecting candy. My friends even tortured me by trick-or-treating at houses that were increasingly closer to my own. At the end of the night, we played poker using our candy in place of money.
For a few years there was a lull in my Halloween enthusiasm. But, around 2005 or so, I got the bug again and created some sort of voodoo character. I don't know exactly what I was, but the point is I was creepy and, in the right light (or lack thereof), quite scary. I went out to Hollywood with my girlfriend, Chanel, attending a party at the Erotic Museum. The costume was a hit and I even got stopped a few times on the street to take pictures with strangers.
Last year, I decided to be a vampire and inadvertently created a character reminiscent of Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula. The costume itself was probably more inspired by the fact that I was then in the early stages of writing a vampire novel, which, when it's done, will be the follow up to my debut novel, Inside the Outside.
Speaking of which, anybody who's familiar with Inside the Outside knows that it's a horror novel about cannibals. As a Halloween connoisseur, I can tell you that cannibals have never been particularly trendy. In fact, their limited literary exposure is a big reason why I decided to write a novel about cannibals in the first place. So, I was browsing through one of the many Halloween stores that pop up every fall and, lo and behold, I discovered a whole series of cannibal accessories. Is it a coincidence that the same year my novel about cannibalism is published, Halloween stores begin to carry cannibal merchandise?
But it's still pretty interesting, no?
As for this Halloween, I've been planning my costume since last year. And, after a few test runs earlier in the week, I can promise you one more in my series of Halloween miracles. What will I be, you ask? You'll have to come back on Monday for "A Halloween Special: PART TWO" to find out...