Why I Don’t Dress Up for Halloween

Halloween costumes aren't for me

Illustration by Breanna Cooke

By far one of the most underrated parties in Dallas is the annual Oak Lawn Halloween Block Party on Cedar Springs Road. Typically held the Saturday before Halloween, it’s something that makes me proud of Dallas. A festivity bringing together the most diverse crowd I’ve experienced in Texas, spanning age, ethnicity and sexual orientation. There’s also participation from the Dallas Police and Fire Departments.

Think costumes that will blow your mind. Nostalgia. Nothing like a group of men dressed as every single Strawberry Shortcake doll. Naughty? Definitely. Body parts you didn’t know existed. Nice? Not so much. I salivate imagining the political commentary addressing all things Trump. After all, political costumes rank No. 3 in popularity for the 35+ crowd.

No expense is spared because Halloween isn’t really for the children. We spend more on costumes for ourselves: $1.5 billion vs. $1.2 billion for the kids, according to the National Retail Federation. Fido, who’s also heavily in attendance, rolls in at a measly $417K.

Except for me. Why I don’t dress up for Halloween.

My motto: No Halloween Costume for Me

It’s a costumed, peaceful celebration of living and life — something we all could spend a bit more time doing. The only catch? I hate dressing up. Detest it.  My motto? No Halloween costume for me.

Part of my challenge is that clothing has been a continuous source of consternation for me, particularly in the workplace. Consider my Doc Martin boots, paired with pinstripe dress pants. Not appreciated. I find my Hello Kitty socks with sparkly bubble-gum pink dots charming. Employers? Not so much.

I thought I was making progress when I stopped wearing my pumpkin pants to the grocery store. OK. They aren’t really pants. They are pajama bottoms — white flannel, with bright orange pumpkins all over. Two sizes too big, so they slip down easily if I’m not careful. I find it particularly funny to wear them during the non-pumpkin seasons. Like summer.

While I’ve gotten further and further away from what I thought was the “age” for Halloween, the party has grown. Without me. Over the past 10 years, spending is up 70 percent. Given my tendency towards what is apparently fanciful, some are surprised to learn of my lack of interest in a costume.

Rough Crowd: T-Shirt Doesn’t Cut It

I’ve tried. My go-to outfit had been a Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown ringer t-shirt. Fabulous, right? I thought I looked adorable until I was corrected: “You know, you’ve worn that the last two years, right?” a guy I don’t recall meeting informed me last year. Rough crowd. Now worn and faded, I’ve got more fat so the t-shirt grips the belly I’m trying to ignore. Needless to say, it’s done being worn.

Clearly another challenge is I don’t plan ahead. As of the end of September, 76 percent of adults had already decided what they want to be. As in a few weeks ago. And I’m not talking about when they grow up. I’d probably think to think about it this weekend. And I say this as someone who actually likes shopping.

Plus, I already buy unique, colorful clothing that I regularly unveil on the world. A plastic skirt covered in candy bar wrappers has left the house more than once. And on those days, yes, I understand that I’m being a bit provocative. Like when I wore my anti-Donald Trump shirt during a quick stop at the West Village Gap to buy embroidered jeans. It caused more of a stir than I anticipated, but I get it. I live in Texas.

Oddly, I’m far more comfortable making a statement that I’m controlling — in this case with my politically controversial t-shirt — than the idea of wearing an actual costume that could be open for interpretation. Or more misunderstood than I already feel.

So this weekend more than 171 million Americans intend to participate in Halloween in some sort of dress. I won’t be one of them. Bah humbug. No costume for me. If I were more enterprising, I would have planned to run away for the weekend and rent out my garage amidst the party to pay for my adventure.
But I’m just not that organized.

Instead, I’ll be the one in the corner eating the candy. Hence the belly.

I may even be thinking about the even bigger number looming ahead — 200 million. That’s the number of Americans now registered to vote, up more than 50 million from when President Obama was first elected.

More people plan to cast a ballot than trick or treat. Awesome indeed. Perhaps its people who care about protecting their liberties and freedom of speech — and the right to dress in whatever costume we may, be that on Oct. 31 or any other day.

Of course that doesn’t mean all of these people will actually vote. But we can worry about that Nov. 9. Until then — Halloween!

"No costume for me" originally appeared in the Katy Trail Weekly.
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