At some point, perhaps before I was born, Halloween stopped being scary. All these doctors and lawyers, ball players and ballerinas, soft-bellied superheroes and skanky Strawberry Shortcakes. I did Halloween no favors when—in my younger, more naïve years—I dressed up as He-Man, Michael Jackson, and a vaguely Asian martial arts expert I called Karate Man. As He-Man, I wore one of those plastic jumpsuits (sans mask). As Michael Jackson, I wore my red leather jacket, ala "Beat It," as well as a pair of ill-fitting black pants. For Karate Man, I wore a pair a pajamas that reminded me of Bruce Lee, so, in a pinch, I figured they'd do.
While I was certainly adorable, I wasn't scary. It wasn't until about the sixth grade when it occurred to me that there was something wrong, though I couldn't put my finger on it. I'd already discovered the joy of creating my own costumes, no pre-packaged pirates or cowboys for me. A simple mask and wig will work wonders. Or some relatively simple face paint.
One Halloween, I had my brother paint a skeleton on my face; in order to insure accuracy, I brought him the "S" encyclopedia and turned to a page with a photo of a skull (as, of course, this was before the convenience of the Internet). In junior high, I took a Rastafarian hat with fake dreadlocks, pulled it over my face like a mask, and secured it by tying a bandana around my forehead; I could only just barely see through the knit cap, which made trick-or-treating a bit tricky, but, without question, mine was the spookiest costume of the night.
As I've gotten older, I continue to enjoy Halloween, but I've also become more annoyed that this fun, spooky holiday gets treated like a silly little costume party—which, of course, it is. But, it's not just a costume party. It's a scary costume party. It's why we watch horror films and walk through haunted houses, carve pumpkins and spray fake blood on perfectly good clothes. Now I know many of you reading this have sensed the same problem as me, but you don't know what to do about it. You don't know how to fix it. Well, fear not my Halloween loving friend, I've got a simple solution.
Be a vampire.
That's it. Problem solved. Whatever costume you were going to wear, no matter how un-spooky it is, doesn't have to change. Simply add vampire teeth and now, all of sudden, you're a vampire doctor or a vampire ballerina—or a vampire skanky Strawberry Shortcake. You'd almost certainly win the costume contest at your friend's Halloween party, walking away with a Starbucks giftcard worth no less then ten bucks. Picture a costume in your head—anything at all—and then add vampire teeth.
Now, for anybody who knows me, they know this is not a new idea. I've been campaigning for folks to dress up as vampires for years. And, to prove my point, I committed myself to dressing up as a vampire every year for Halloween. That was three years ago. In that first year, I was a Victorian-ish vampire, reminiscent of Francis Ford Coppola's version of Dracula, whom I called Victus. Before that day was over, I'd already decided that, the following Halloween, I wanted to be a vampire clown. And, for this year, Halloween 2012, I decided to be a vampire farmer. All of these costumes would've been terribly boring and un-Halloween-y, without the addition of vampire teeth (and, of course, some fake blood).
Were you thinking about dressing up as a celebrity for Halloween? That's fine, too, just make them vampires. You wanna be the coolest couple at the party? Show up as Vampire Kim Kardashian and Vampire Kanye West. Or maybe you were thinking about being a historical figure. Imagine how much better your costume would be with fangs. Vampire Hitler, anyone? You can thank me later.
Now, as for the actual vampire teeth, you have some options. There are, of course, the classic teeth which you wear like a clumsy, plastic retainer. You can't talk with them and you'll drool all night, but you can find them for about a dollar or so most anywhere around this time of year. There is the slightly more expensive option, which involves the frustrating and painstaking effort of of molding the vampire fangs to your own teeth. I prefer the latter, but there's nothing wrong with the former. And, of course, you'll find plenty of options in between, ranging in price and level of convenience.
So, there you have it. No more excuses. Halloween is meant to be spooky, so let's keep that it that way. And remember, when it doubt, just add vampire teeth.