October 29, 2006

Safety pins and lingerie

We were invited to the Halloween party weeks ago, but everyone in the family left the costumes to the last minute. An hour before the party, Shaggy Hair, Skater Boy, and With-a-Why were still just lounging around in front of the fire looking very much like their own selves when I asked, "Aren't you guys dressing up? It's a costume party. It says so on the invitation."

Shaggy Hair shrugged. Little kids get very excited about going to costume parties with their parents, but for a teenage boy, the idea inspires about the same level of enthusiasm as a trip to the dentist. My husband, who had had a difficult week dealing with his mother, was taking a nap. He told me to wake him up five minutes before we left, assuring me that is all the time it would take for him to pull together a costume.

I admit, I hadn't planned a costume either, but I did have the one secret ingredient to making a cool Halloween costume: safety pins. For me, buying safety pins constitutes planning ahead. I figured I would come up with an idea and get dressed first in hopes that my costume would inspire enthusiasm amongst the rest of my sluggish family.

The idea I came up with was kind of lame, but at least it was simple. I put on black pants and a black shirt, and then pinned socks to my legs and arms. I decided that colorful ski socks looked cooler than the white cotton socks. When I started pinning With-a-Why's underwear to my shoulder, Shaggy Hair stopped me in horror. "MOM! YOU CANNOT WEAR OUR UNDERWEAR IN PUBLIC."

Well, fine. I decided that their underwear was boring anyway. I went into my daughter's room and my own drawer for prettier panties, choosing bright colors like red and hot pink that would show up against the black.

"Have you figured out what I am?" I asked the boys as I walked through the living room, with random socks and panties clinging to my body. I was prepared to give all kinds of hints.

"I don't even want to know," Shaggy Hair said, sinking lower into his chair. Skater Boy gave me one horrified look and chose to say nothing.

So much for rallying enthusiasm.

The boys did come to the party, all of them grabbing the random masks and capes we have at our house. I can't say that any of them dressed as anything specific; mainly, they looked like a clump of boys dressed in black and red, with creepy alien faces. My husband, disappointed he couldn't find his Evil Politician mask, grabbed a cowboy hat and a pair of crunches left from the time I broke my leg, and said it was his lame cowboy costume. I was actually kind of relieved he couldn't be an Evil Politician. He is very good at imitating politicians, but once he gets on a roll, it's hard for him to turn off the imitation, and then I am stuck going home with someone who sounds like The Worst President We've Ever Had. Not something that usually leads to a night of romance.

Boy in Black called to say that the second half of his Ultimate Frisbee tournament was cancelled because of the weather and that he was back in Snowstorm City. I told him we'd pick him up and that he had five minutes to come up with a costume. Obliging, he pinned a long towel to his shoulders and put on a pair of sunglasses. Once he was at the party, he kept adding to the costume by taking items from people who were getting tired of wearing their outfits. I saw him as one point with a long black wig and a witch's hat. He gave his analysis of the costumes he had seen on campus: "The theme for women seems to be Sexy Cowgirl, Sexy Nurse, Sexy Whatever. But they've got this really weird idea about what sexy is."

My daughter drove in from campus to join the party late. Wearing an old-fashioned dress from the children's section of a thrift store, with white tights and her hair in a pony tail, she looked like a little girl from another era. Since she is tiny, the dress fit her fine, and the effect could have been cute. Except that she decided to be a zombie little girl. Her pale skin was chalked even whiter, red dripped from the sides of her mouth, dark circles were drawn under her eyes, and a jump rope hung around her neck in a noose. I can't even watch horror shows because they give me nightmares so seeing my daughter transformed into a character in a horror flick was beyond creepy.

About half the people at the party were able to guess correctly what my costume was. Some were puzzled even when I told them. Many of the guests, well, not counting the ones related to me, had rented or bought fairly elaborate costumes: a nun, a Spiderman, a devil, that kind of thing. It's very strange to meet people for the first time when they are dressed head-to-toe as someone else. My kids abandoned their masks and capes when they discovered a ping pong table in the basement.

What's ridiculous is that when slips of paper were passed around and a vote was taken, I won the prize for best individual costume. I am not sure why. Maybe it's because people are more likely to vote for a costume that is homemade. Maybe it's because people felt sorry for me. Or maybe people think it's cool to wear lingerie pinned all over your body.

31 comments:

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

Were you the Space Behind the Dryer?

Girl said...

I thought of you this weekend as my two female roommates and I headed to a Halloween party in our costumes. Not one of us was dressed like a tart...ok...that isn't entirely true. My one roommate was dressed rather sexily (but not scandelously) and had reindeer antlers on...she was Vixen. My other roommate wore cozy men's pajamas with slippers, a tail, a black nose with whiskers and kitty-cat ears...she was the cat's pajamas.

Me, I cut some foamcore into two large circles and wore them like a sandwich board. I had drawn some craters on the boards and then I held a cardboard sign that said "will work for food" and carried a styrofoam cup with change in it. I was Pluto. :)

Songbird said...

Yes, I was thinking similarly to P/H, only more like Mysterious Space Inside the Dryer.

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

Or maybe she's Static Cling. C'mon, jo(e), you were willing to give hints to your kids - what about us? We wants hints!

jo(e) said...

Oh, your second guess was right, Pilgrim. I was Static Cling, an evil villain with amazing powers.

I think I might have liked your first answer and Songbird's even better though.

And Girl: I love the Pluto outfit. I might steal that one for Tuesday night ....

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

Woo hoo! Do I get a prize?

I love the Cat's Pajamas outfit... it'd be fun to go as that, with someone else dressed as the Bee's Knees.

jo(e) said...

Sure, you can have a prize, Pilgrim. Would you like saftey pins or some lingerie?

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

Damn, I was too slow (I figured it was static cling--my mom went as that when I was still living at home).

My favorite easy costume was to wear all black, with a big tinfoil star around my neck on a string, and I'd carry a watergun (shooting star). Of course, in college we filled our waterguns with adult beverages....

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Is it weird that I assumed you were Static Cling, and had somehow assumed you had told us you were dressed as such? And then everyone started guessing and I was thinking, "Didn't she already say she was static cling?"

I wore my usual go-to costume, to last night's department Halloween party. I threw an army jacket onto which I'd painted "M*A*S*H 4077th" many years ago, over my the outfit that I wear all the time anyway (black turtleneck and green pants), so that I could spend the rest of my time helping my husband make his Wolverine costume.

Anonymous said...

Damn, I was totally guessing static cling. Late as usual. Sigh.

Mieke said...

Thank you to APL who just helped me with my own costume!

BeachMama said...

Static Cling! Great costume idea. Love the shooting star too. If I have the need for a costume tomorrow, I have some surefire ideas now.

Anonymous said...

I was going to guess the black hole into which socks and other assorted things are lost when the laundry is done. But static cling is very clever....

ccw said...

Great idea!

comebacknikki said...

Static cling! Ha!

Anonymous said...

I like the lame cowboy costume the best. Once I found a t-shirt that said I LOVE VENICE on it and wore that with jeans, dark sunglasses and a walking stick (Venetian blind). That costume works better if you have two people, though.
Congrats on your win, Joe!

(For the record, I totally could not figure out your costume. I'm slow like that.)

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

Ooo - lingerie! One thing I've learned from you, jo(e), is the extraordinary variety of uses for lingerie.

YourFireAnt said...

The new way to pack for a trip to avoid having to check your bag.

;-)

FA

Marie said...

Yeah, I didn't have a clue either. But I love it. I'm gonna remember that. Static cling. I could do that.

halloweenlover said...

Awww man, I totally thought static cling too. I need to get here sooner!

I can't decide if I should be a pumpkin, or a magic 8 ball and paint my belly like one of the two.

Anonymous said...

One costume I once heard about and always wanted to duplicate: Wrap myself in some old fishhing net, and stuff boxes of flavored gelatin inside...

The punchline?
A Net Fulla-Jello

baDum CHING!

OTRgirl said...

I'm very grateful to Pilgrim--I kept waiting for the punch line and felt a bit stupid when I had no idea what the costume was. I like the lame cowboy idea as well. Your family creativity is one of the things I enjoy in your posts.

My brother found a small round table top, drilled a hole in it, hung straps on it and used it year after year. Covered with green felt, he carried cards--the dealer; with a red checked tablecloth and wine glasses glued on--the waiter.

kate5kiwis said...

well, i am feeling completely the dumb blonde now cos i didn't get *static cling* and i don't get horace's *A Net Fulla-Jello*...
neither does hubby, and he's not blonde either. unless it refers to your name "annette..."

i mean, i get why you jo(e) were static cling, i just couldn't think of your name. but i really don't get horace's...

perhaps that's cos it's w-a-a-a-y past my bedtime and i shoulda been in bed hours ago xx

jo(e) said...

kate5kiwis: Horace is being Annette Funicello. The actress.

Lorna said...

laughing :)

Rana said...

He is very good at imitating politicians, but once he gets on a roll, it's hard for him to turn off the imitation, and then I am stuck going home with someone who sounds like The Worst President We've Ever Had. Not something that usually leads to a night of romance.

This made me laugh. :) But I really love this:

"The theme for women seems to be Sexy Cowgirl, Sexy Nurse, Sexy Whatever. But they've got this really weird idea about what sexy is."

One costume I was really proud of was herpetologist -- khaki everything, and covered in snakes. This was back before Steve Irwin though -- I wouldn't wear it now.

The best childhood costume I remember was my brother's -- he was, of all things, a garlic!

(And, yes, he came up with this himself. It perturbed my mother until she figured out how to make the costume out of a huge muslin bag, black magic markers, and newspaper.)

Psycho Kitty said...

Man, how I loved Halloween. In college I had a monochromatic theme going; every year had to be based on one color. The year that I was black (Bride of Death), I totally freaked out some poor stoned guy, who ran screaming down the dorm hallway and then locked himself in his room.
Ahhhh. Good times.

ppolarbear said...

And how did daughter like having her unmentionables displayed in public?

I can't remember the last costume party I went to. Sounds like fun...

jo(e) said...

PPB: My daughter thought the costume was funny. She doesn't care about anyone seeing her underwear -- it's very pretty underwear.

Bitty said...

To make you all feel old, Queen of West Procrastination's costume reminded me of this scrap of conversation I caught from one of my students last week:

"And they were watching MASH, whatever that is..."

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

What a great costume idea, no wonder you won!