Friday, October 31, 2008

Costumed attire

I think I've outgrown Halloween.

On the way into work tonight, I saw several people dressed on then train to Hoboken, the PATH to the city, and lining up along 6th Ave. waiting for the parade to begin. And yet it wasn't the fact that I had to work and couldn't party that bummed me out. If I had my choice, I would've been in South Bend tonight, drinking with friends and awaiting tomorrow morning's tailgating before the Notre Dame-Pittsburgh game.

I suppose if I had more friends nearby who had parties to go to (or to throw) and a more creative mind to come up with a unique and clever costume, I might be more into it. But I was more excited to carve pumpkins than I was to dress up in disguise, even for work.

Maybe I'll treat Halloween like the presidential election and recognize it once every four years, though not the same four years, since I've clearly missed that boat this year. I think I can find the inspiration on a four-year cycle.

It's interesting how our views and the meanings of holidays change as we grow. As a kid, Halloween is probably No. 2 on the holiday list -- No. 3 if you count your birthday as a holiday -- and marked by costumes and candy. You get to wear your costume to school, you get to spend time with your friends after dark on a school night (though pushing back daylight savings time to early November may have eliminated that one), you get to eat a LOT of candy in one day. And there are no religious lessons or good lists or bad lists to worry about; it's all about the candy.

Then when you're older, the costumes move to the forefront, along with the parties. This seems to be doubly true if you're a supple 20-something woman in New York City. Perhaps the fact that I am off the market has also sapped the interest in Halloween.

I managed to note some of the costumes I saw on my commute into work tonight (and a couple earlier today). I thought about bringing my camera to work with me, but then I realized that would only slow me down and make me late. So here they are in order of how well each wearer pulled it off, with originality of the outfit and effort incorporated into the ranking.

1.) Organ grinder's monkey. Saw this guy on 15th St. at 7th Ave. He had a monkey mask, a body suit and an accordion. Plus I could see his curved tail sticking out from behind him from 100 feet away.

2.) A nun. The best part about this was that I was in Stop & Shop picking up a couple of bags of candy and this nun was in front of me in the cramped candy display area. As I grabbed my bags, I relalized that she was restocking the shelves from a cart -- she worked there. And at first, from behind, I thought that it was a Muslim mother doing some shopping in the morning. It was only when I saw the rest of the Stop & Shop employees dressed up that I remembered what day it was.

3.) Jack-in-the-box. Nothing to do with fast food. This guy was a bagger at Stop & Shop, standing at the end of the conveyor belt in colored tights, with a box around his torso.

4.) Wonder Woman. Saw her from afar at the Hoboken station. She certainly had the legs for it.

5.) Bubble Bee Woman. Nothing like Bumble Bee Man from The Simpsons. She was tall, pretty and wearing fishnets.

6.) Sally from A Nightmare Before Christmas. She could probably be higher, but I only saw small glimpses of her through the crowd as she lined up on 6th Ave. and I'm not sure the costume was necessarily true to the movie or just an attempt. The hair was also long red strands of yarn, more like Raggedy Ann (which is who I thought she was at first) than Sally.

7.) Guy with jester hat and ukelele. The hat wasn't anything special, and other than those two props, I couldn't tell if he had a full costume on because he wore a long winter overcoat. But when I saw him standing on 8th Ave. presumably waiting for a cab, he was playing the ukelele. Rather than chalk that up to laziness ("What do I have lying around the house to wear tonight?"), I chose to appreciate the effort (or ability?) to carry a prop that he can actually play.

From this point on, the costumes are decidedly less varied and more cliche. So no more rankings, though the first one is there because it deserves to be.

A pirate. This guy put some effort into a fallback outfit. (The last time I dressed up, Casey was a pirate wench and I was a Pittsburgh Pirate.) He looked like a classic Pirate picture, with a striped bandana, an eye patch, pirate-looking facial hair, a vest and leggings. This was no jeans-and-T-shirt pirate.

From the woman-as-animal camp: a hound dog (loved the floppy ears) and a mouse. From the woman-as-slut camp: a cheerleader and Catholic schoolgirl (have you ever noticed how you never see 20-something women dressed as the homely cheerleader or the mousy schoolgirl?). From the what-I-had-in-the-back-of-my-closet-from-a-former-job camp: a guy in the army and an orange biohazard jumpsuit (no hood or anything, though). And from the has-to-be-one-at-every-Halloween-party camp: a witch (saw two). There were also several people in half-costume en route to parties or seen from such a distance that I couldn't tell what their full costume was.

So that's the extent of my Halloween 2008. Roughly one hour broken into two segments at the beginning and middle of my day. Perhaps next year will be different.

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