Kids and adults alike can enjoy Halloween

Andrea Joseph

There was a statistic on television the other day that said 46 percent of adults dress up for Halloween. I fall into that category.
I haven’t always, mind you. My interest in creating a costume ebbs and flows, but the past few years have been pretty steady. It slowly crept into my workplace when a relatively mellow new publisher started last year and decided to hold a Halloween celebration.
We’ve always had pumpkin-carving competitions at the office, but he added a costume contest, to which I enthusiastically said, “YES PLEASE!”
The first 10 years of my life—those crucial trick-or-treat years—were spent in a suburb of Los Angeles, where my parents went all out decorating the house once a year. We were all dressed to the nines in homemade costumes: zombies, Sylvester the Cat, a toucan, a mouse—every year was something new my crafty mom would create. The garage was opened, turned into a haunted house with spooky music blaring and an average of 800 children in costumes came up our driveway.
And it wasn’t just us—it was a neighborhood thing.
In college, there were always Halloween parties to attend, and I scared more than my share of kids and adults one year as Michael Myers from “Halloween.” But after college, my serious side came out as I tried to get my career going and grow into a full-fledged adult.
So much for that idea.
When our new publisher announced the first costume competition last year, my mind started racing with ideas. I’d dressed up when I worked for other newspapers through the years, but this time around, it felt more important—maybe the older I get, the more I want to feel like a kid again.
I was uncertain how many in my small office would come to work in costume—we do a lot of business with the public, you know—and was ecstatic when I saw the variety and participation last year: Sherlock Holmes, a Scotsman in a kilt, a purple polka-dot monster, witches, Duff Man from “The Simpsons” and more.
And then there was me: a zombie bride, bloody scars and all.
I may have gone a little overboard—with the black and gray velvet wedding dress, the dyed and teased hair, the black makeup, the fake dirt between my teeth—and it was difficult to remove everything, but it sure was fun.
And I’d done so much smack talking toward my colleagues in the weeks leading up to Halloween, I realized if I didn’t go all out, I’d have to eat my words.
This year, I’ve toned down my challenging cockiness just a bit so I won’t end up looking like a complete dolt if my costume doesn’t surpass zombie bride. I probably set the bar too high for myself last Halloween, but I’ll still have a blast trying to trump it—all while tossing out just a few challenging words here and there to keep the competition fun and lively.
As far as the pumpkin contest goes, I’ll enter that too. I placed first in that contest several years in a row, until last year when a former colleague found the right recipe to beat me by painting two pumpkins to look like Bert and Ernie from “Sesame Street.” Admittedly, I’m more of a traditionalist when it comes to pumpkins: I like to carve.
I never had children of my own, but if I’d had, I’d be the best Halloween mom ever. The house would be decorated, pumpkins would be carved, everyone would be in costume and after taking the kids around the neighborhood, we’d hunker down waiting to jump out at doorbell ringers and offer chocolates and candy as our apology for frightening them.
Maybe someday when my niece is older, we can play out the various amusing costume and decoration ideas floating around in my head and I’ll be the best Halloween auntie ever.
And, by the way, my zombie bride costume won last year’s competition; thanks only to my parents’ instiling in me that you can’t always be serious. It’s OK to look silly or act goofy and let your hair down sometimes—even as a responsible adult.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go work on this year’s Halloween costume. I have a title to uphold.

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