When I was a little girl I remember basking in the glory that was the local costume store. I would eagerly try on each outfit thinking, “Should I be a bumble bee or a vampire?” My favorite years were when my mom would make my costume at home. I would proudly strut down the street in my full body clown suit adorned with big poof-ball buttons, a red afro-like wig and obnoxious red clown nose.
But then I remember a change. At age 12, on Halloween, my best friend was a pirate and her costume consisted of a crop top and baggy pants. I remember my mom’s face when she opened the door to let her in. More significantly, I remember my own disappointment and self-consciousness as I greeted her in my floor length vampire dress and awkward vampire teeth which were struggling to fit over my braces.
This was the Halloween which completely changed my perspective of what a Halloween costume was. I remember kissing my mom goodbye, going over to my best friend’s house and changing into a more revealing costume, then shamefully changing back before coming home.
Every Halloween since, I have picked my costume based on how the costume flattered my body features: how skinny I looked, how my cleavage was and how accentuated my curves were. I didn’t care if that costume came in the form of a cat, a nurse, or the Pope himself. I stopped trying to be scary or creative and started trying to be sexy and desirable.
So this year I thought I’d try a little change and held my annual Halloween party costumed in a head-to–toe onesie. I was dressed as my favorite TV show character Wilfred, a fantastically sarcastic and manipulative talking dog, who I can really relate to. I kept presupposing how it would all go down, girls whispering in the corner or having to hear some condescending remark from a guy about how frumpy I looked. Then the day came and I realized that my biggest self-critic was me. I was the most self-conscious about my Wilfred costume. I was the most judgmental.
A little after midnight I switched out of my costume into an airline stewardess outfit I had purchased a few years before. With nothing to identify it as such, as I had lost the hat and “Mile High Club” pin, I was just a girl wearing less clothes.
I blamed it on how uncomfortable the Wilfred costume was, but actually I knew it was because I just wanted to blend in with everyone else at my party.
All I know is that I learned something about myself last weekend. I just want to go back to the mindset I had as a child, I don’t want to be so weak that I need to dress a certain way to feel beautiful. I want to be a head-to-toe clown again, with my mom adjusting my wig and fixing my face paint that is creased from smiling too much.