What’re You Gonna Be?

Here we are at the BIG weekend! Halloween. THE event. I become eight again. Beginning in mid-November each year, the conversations start. “What’re you going to be for next Halloween?”

As I grew up that statement waited later and later in the year before raising its head. When my kids were little they moved it back to November, but now it’s settled where it belongs: October 29.

We rush around and scramble with makeshift accessories. We ask each other questions like, “Does this hat make me look like Indiana Jones?” Or, “I don’t have galoshes, but Dad has some hiking boots. Will that work?”

Does this sound familiar?

When I was a kid trick-or-treating was easier, I think. I remember one Halloween dressing as a witch. My mom put a black “wart” on my nose that I could see, and I kept trying to “shoo” it away.

I remember once dressing like a princess. It was one of the few times my mom bought me a pre-packaged costume with the plastic mask. Those masks were awful. The rubber band that went across the back ALWAYS broke or came loose, requiring the plastic molded face to be fastened to your head with huge black bobby pins. Another bonus with these masks *note sarcasm* was that as you breathed, you constantly created condensation that ran down your face and neck.

These days, though, if you ask a child (or adult) “what” they will be for Halloween, they will most likely give you a “who” answer. There are fewer princesses and more Belles, Cinderellas, Jasmines and Ariels. Fewer witches and more Bellas, Alex Russos, and Hermiones.

I’m not against dressing like a character. After all, a great character should make us want to be like them. Any good movie asks us to participate. Dorothy Gale, Scarlet O’Hara, and Princess Leia are forever! A character costume simply
requires more work and more details. You must embody the entire persona.

Last year my sons dressed as characters from the Team Fortress and Bioshock video games. I had no idea who or what they were supposed to be, but all of their friends knew. Way to go, guys!

This year when discussing their costume ideas, I was informed—in no uncertain terms—that they would not be dressing as a pun. No “black-eyed-P” or “cereal-killer.” My boy wanted to dress as his favorite character from Monty Python’s Flying Circus: the Gumby. Easy enough. Tie up a hanky for a hat, pencil on a moustache, and roll up sleeves and pant legs. He looked ridiculous…and perfect.

Movies and TV shows inspired some of my favorite Halloween costumes. My best friend and I dressed as Laverne and Shirley a few years back. I went with a group of friends to a party as one of the six Brady Bunch kids. Every year we discuss going as the Gilligan’s Island castaways, but then we get into quarrels about who will be Ginger and Mary Ann.

This year our group costume will be a team of ghost hunters. We call ourselves “Amarillo’s Most Taunted,” inspired by yet another TV show.

I ask you, then, who are you going to be for Halloween this year? Harry Potter? Marie Antoinette? Queen Amidala? Darth Vader? Charlie Sheen? Lady Gaga?

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading!

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