Ghosts of Octobers past

Haunted by what I wore, and who I wore it with.

Halloween made me do it.

I had a dream where Halloween asked me to stop blaming it for my acting a fool. It was like “The Raven.” And it wouldn’t go away like the ghost of Christmas past.

But the ghost was a kid who went as a Ninja Turtle the year I was a bride — a vision in a white church dress, white patent leather church shoes, and 99¢-by-the-yard tulle glue-gunned to a headband. I wedding-marched down the street where leaves were the aisle runner and the cul-de-sac my betrothed.

And then the ghost was the white plastic Scream masks from ’97, the year I did my best imitation of Kevin Arnold’s sister from The Wonder Years — my long hair loose but for two slim braids near my face, a home tie-dyed halter top without a bra, and shorts pretending to be cut-offs. A friend helped me stick an old Peace Frog sticker across my shoulder blades. It crinkled every time I floated my arms above my head, doing my best impersonation of someone even higher than I was.

Then it was all the other girls dressed as a flapper in 2003. I found a red drop-waist slip at Goodwill, bought a pair of fishnets, rolled one down to the knee. I pulled it up from my ankle all night. I got a jet black Eton Crop wig. I painted my nails a color called Vixen.

Then it was the guy I made out with while wearing Vixen.

Then it was all the people who saw me sloppily make out with that guy.

Then it was October, and Ohio, the year I was Pam Grier in [insert blaxploitation title here]. Big Afro wig and fake lashes. Boom. Five inches of Lucite platforms, bellbottoms low as possible and bangle-sized hoops. Gold bikini top. I refused to wear a coat and, at some point, wildly drunk and reaping no benefits from whiskey’s alleged heat, started cheering on the wind, like, What. I got this.

And Halloween said to tell my mom that the big kid from across the street didn’t make me watch Bram Stoker’s Dracula like I said he did because, at home, we were hyper-Christian and I knew I wasn’t supposed to watch anything “demonic.”

And it told me to stop telling people I can do the whole “Thriller” dance, then, after doing a piss-poor job, explaining how I’m much better at “Beat It.”

So I said, Halloween, damn. Santa Claus is already on your ass and pushing you out of Publix. And New Year’s isn’t far behind. Bother the Christians who still think you’re all about pagan worship and some sun god or garden goddess. Deep down, you, too, are just plain old Thursday dressed as a sexy cop because, deep down, you want to be a sexy cop, too.

Illusions, delusions, whatever.

I’ve got no free time and two passes for Howl-O-Scream I haven’t used yet. You’ve got decorative gourds in Florida. We’re in this together, goddammit.

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