Monday, November 3, 2008

Why I Dressed Up As Ketchup For Halloween

Halloween is the one day out of the whole year that the world's imagination comes alive. Just think: you can dress as anything or anybody, male or female, alive or dead. You can pay tribute to your favorite historical character, or poke fun at a pop culture phenomenon. You can spend months painstakingly recreating Louis XIV's coronation suit, or slap on an Amy Winehouse beehive and hit the road. You can dazzle the crowds with your technical proficiency and attention to detail or tantalize them with your flirty clothes and jaunty attitude.

I literally spent every day since last Halloween deciding on this year's costume. It started as a weeding-out process, crossing off all the costumes that would be too obvious or cliche. I knew the streets would be full of Jokers and red-blazered Sarah Palins. There'd be thousands of Hannah Montana and Ugly Betty clones, and literally millions of Waldos to be found. Mummies and zombies and vampires would provoke less screams than yawns.

Now, I'm in good shape, so I could have taken the easy way out, picking something to show off my broad shoulders, chiseled chest, and thick biceps like all the in-shape Italians do. Tarzan, a caveman, a loincloth-clad Indian. Sure, the women would ooh and aah and the men would secretly eye me in envy. But every time I see a dude in one of those costumes, I think, Christ, what kind of ego does this guy have? There's exactly one day a year to indulge in your wildest, darkest fantasies, and these guys fritter it away to show everybody they've been doing squats.

I'm bigger than that, I decided. I wouldn't be vain. Heck, I'd be the exact opposite, I decided in a blinding flash of insight. I'd wear a big red cone on my head, and a long red cardboard tube that completely hid me from shoulders to feet. I'm just in this for the fun! my costume would declare. There's no ego here!

Yes, I'll admit, it wasn't the best idea anybody's ever come up with. You know your costume isn't perfect when you have to tack on a big white label saying what you are. And heck, I wouldn't even be the best condiment on a burger. Surely mustard would be snappier, or sauerkraut would have a foreign flair. But that just added to the surrealist fun. A dude dressed as ketchup would be wacky. Unexpected. I definitely wouldn't run into another one walking down the street.

But mostly I dressed up as ketchup because three of my neighbors said if I turned up on their porch dressed as a big red crayon again they wouldn't even open the door.

1 comment:

David said...

Just call me Ego Man.