McClatchy/Tribune – I am not a very good-looking woman, which I think is the primary reason I’m having trouble coming up with a decent Halloween costume this year. (It’s also the main reason I kept getting turned down for sororities, not that I’m still bitter about that, stupid Zeta Tau Alpha, I hate you so much.)
Indeed, if you have visited any costume stores lately, you might have noticed that they look less like costume stores and more like places that Britney Spears might shop, if she could stay sober long enough to park the car. Costume stores these days feature an irrationally large percentage of rack space devoted entirely to Sexy versions of average things: Sexy Nurse, Sexy Doctor, Sexy Soccer Player, Naughty Navigator, Sexy Mountie, Support Our Troops Sexy Adult (really), Sexy Wilma Flintstone (I can send you the link to these if you want). One newsroom staffer reported stumbling across a costume for a Sexy Cab Driver, which is, of course, something that has never happened in the history of the human experience. (However, if it does happen, I suggest immediately that we cancel Halloween and institute National I Found A Sexy Cab Driver Day, which we could commemorate by briefly increasing the national speed limit to 200 mph and growing splendid beards.)
Meanwhile, the non-sexy demographic, of which I am a proud lifelong member, is forced to resort tolame, unsexy costumes, such as Chewbacca, or Herman Cain.
This might be a gender thing. Guy costumes, historically, are comparatively lame and most seem to come straight out of the Cliche Costume Handbook For Guys Who Prefer Ready-Made Costumes Sold In A Plastic Bag: vampire, pirate, Jedi, pimp, president.
If I seem unusually bitter about this, it’s because I’ve outgrown the only good costume I’ve ever had in my life, which was E.T. That was a good costume because it was 1982, I was 7, and my mom sewed it for me. It looked fantastic and timely, except that I kept tripping and falling down in it, and ended up resembling not so much E.T. as an extremely clumsy brownie.
I’m not sure when Halloween got like this. Back in my day, which was 1943, Halloween was a time of wholesome childlike innocence, pristine and unspoiled, a time for stomach-clutching sugar highs and good-natured mischief and, occasionally, shenanigans. Oh, the shenanigans! Why, back in my picturesque little neighborhood in Indiana, we were always getting into Halloween roustabouts of some kind, knocking over Old Farmer Winslow’s scarecrow, toilet-papering the soda fountain down at Basketballington Town Square, egging John Mellencamp’s place. It was all Huck Finn-esque boyhood tomfoolery, with the exception of the one time we killed a guy with a hay baler (long story!).
But for the most part, the worst that could happen would be you went to someone’s house who was handing out healthy treats, or your Bubble Yum came already dried out, or you might be out wandering around and run into a clown, which is not cool, because clowns are terrifying, and I don’t care how old you are, but there’s nothing funny about clowns, which can appear in steadily recurring nightmares even if you’re 36 years old and should totally be over this by now. These days, it’s much harder and requires more thought. Unless, of course, someone out there has already sewn up a costume for a Sexy E.T.