This IS My Costume. I'm a Sexy Blogger.
Halloween as an adult is, as expected, less exciting than Halloween as a kid. What I wasn't ready for was how much weirder it is. Walking down Mead Street collecting Butterfingers as a seven year old cowgirl provided little in the way of real scares despite how dark and creepy it may have seemed. It is far eerier to hop on the subway on a typical Monday morning to find a pirate asleep between two bored commuters, or to see cat ears bobbing just above the level of my cube. No one has acknowledged the glow in the dark Snickers in the perpetually empty candy dish in seventh floor reception, and, for all anyone knows, they appeared via poltergeist. (They will disappear through peristalsis, but that's nothing out of the ordinary.)
What makes it all the creepier is the propensity for many, many women to dress as a Sexy Noun for Halloween. I am by far not the first person to make note of the Sexy Noun phenomenon (see also: The Coast of Akron, page 75; The Hazards' "Zombie Girl") and I'm sure I will not be the last to watch someone's mom walk down the street in stilettos, fishnets and an apron, holding a feather duster. She's not just a maid. It's Halloween! She's a sexy maid.
True Halloween horror is in knowing that, at any moment, I could turn around to find a Sexy Noun making photocopies behind me. Anticipating the awkward exchange between someone dressed as a Sexy Noun and someone like me, dressed in their civvies--that moment when the Sexy Noun realizes she's wearing a tiny skirt and her boobs are falling out when she could, instead, be not wearing a tiny skirt and not have her boobs falling out--is the festive chill that rides my spine like a playground slide.
Adrienne Miller, in her book The Coast of Akron really does put it best: "It takes a true beauty to want to uglify himself; at Halloween, it's the average girl who gets dolled up as a French maid or a sexy witch or a princess so she can, for one night, play at being a belle. A real beauty would have no problem going as a fork." True. I was thinking about making a feminist issue out of this, about how an astounding proportion of the female population doesn't just want to play at being someone else on Halloween, they want to be the stripperesque caricature of that someone else.
Instead, I'll save us all the soapbox speech and just say I'm peeved that adult Halloween has boiled down to slutty Madlibs. Halloween was never all out thrilling as a kid, but it was at least unpredictable. At school there would always be a couple of really fantastic costumes, like Carl's spider outfit in kindergarten with eight arms that all moved when he moved his. I've never thrown an egg in my life (except for that nerd-o experiment in some extracurricular honors class in middle school where you have to build a protective case for an egg and then throw it off the building). (Mine broke.) But at least our driveway would see some silly string and I would hear threats of how totally crazy it was over on the other side of town in Countryside, our ever-so-dangerously named split-level ranch development.
The contract of a suburban childhood is full of loopholes. "When you grow up, then you can" yada yada yada is the standard line for parents to placate their children with promises of total autonomy at legal maturity, but it creates a sense of anticipation that adulthood will be chock-full of crazy fun to complement every sub-par kid memory.
I did not forgo stink bombs for a couple of bite-size Snickers! I was promised paranormal encounters! I was promised masquerade balls! The scales of justice must be balanced! Where's a goddamn Sexy Lawyer when I need one?