I still can't get over the humiliating pain of my worst Halloween costume ever. It haunts me. It smells like syrup. It's sticky.
Am I alone in the awfulness of Halloween outfit memories?
It was third grade -- in the early 1990s -- and there were only two things on a high level of importance for me: the release date of the next Harry Potter book and a boy named Ian Molloy. So let me tell you a little bit about Ian.
Ian had brown hair with delicately frosted tips, the best Aeropostale shorts money could buy, and he often shoved toy cars up his nose during recess. Needless to say, he was my dream boy. So after poking him incessantly with my pencil failed to impress him, I decided to put all my hopes and dreams into Halloween. I knew that with the right costume, I could catch Ian’s eye and his heart.
Tragically, there was nothing in all of Party City that could possibly make Ian fall for me. My mom suggested costume after costume: You could be a ladybug! Too dorky. Look at this Disney Princess costume! Too predictable. How about a little rag doll? Too creepy.
While my older sister had already decided on some bizarre homemade costume as a pencil-wielding serial killer (totally normal for a 12-year-old), my mom gave up on me. She had had it with me. She was not the sewing “Let’s be creative” type, and so if Party City didn’t have it, no one did. I was sent to bed without supper (I wasn’t, but metaphorically, let's say) and sent to school sans costume.
Flash forward several hours, and I am crying in the corner watching all the other children preparing for the Halloween Parade. The Halloween Parade consisted of trotting all the classes outside in their costumes, where mothers who don’t have to work for a living gather around to ooh and ahh at their costumes. My parents were happily employed, so while this event was never all that exciting for me, it was particularly awful this time around.
“Sorry, but you can’t participate without a costume, Rachel,” my teacher Mrs Waitz informed me, as she drew whiskers on another student’s smiling face. I looked down at my clothes, an orange quilted puffer vest and black pants, my pathetic attempt to embrace the holiday.
Then I looked across the room at dreamy Ian -- he was dressed as a ninja. Why didn’t I think of that? A ninja! We could have fake fought all day. Now I was too embarrassed to even approach him, let alone karate chop him in the balls.
It was then that I had a moment of inspiration. I scurried past the puppies and princess and monsters to the Thanksgiving donation box that sat in the corner of the classroom; we had only just begun our collections, but I had faith. I dug through the cans of corn and peas until I found it: a bottle of syrup. This colossal bottle of Log Cabin was going to save the day. I ran back to Mrs. Waitz and implored her to draw brown teardrops on my face.
“But why would I do that? What do you want them for?” She asked, clearly thinking the 8-year-old in front of her was losing her sanity.
“Just do it. TRUST ME!” I said with gritted teeth and fake self-confidence. Mrs. Waitz, finally complied, carefully covering my face in dripping brown makeup. I then swiftly removed my vest and put it on backwards, my front now a quilted pattern of brownish orange. I grabbed my bottle of syrup, and turned toward the class.
I was no longer a sad little girl, costumeless on Halloween, barred from the big parade. I entered school as Rachel, but now I emerged…a waffle.
“That’s a pretty cool costume,” Ian said, having now traded his toy car for a pack of Smarties, giving himself a full-on lobotomy with the candy.
“Yeah, I made it myself,” I replied, full of pride. He gave one more snort in my general direction, and right then and there as an 8-year-old I learned a new word: sarcasm.
Then he ran off to hold hands with a Disney Princess.
To this day my mother seems to have no recollection of this -- maybe she blocked it out out of immense guilt for SENDING HER DAUGHTER TO SCHOOL WITHOUT A COSTUME. Or maybe this was just super affecting to me and irrelevant to her. Either way, I vow that I will never leave it up to my child to fashion themselves a waffle out of an ugly vest and stolen goods.
So what's the worst, laziest Halloween costume you've ever been subjected to or sadly fashioned for yourself? Can you top my waffle outfit?