Halloween has been my favorite holiday since I was a child and continues into adulthood. Initially, I was in it for both the candy and costuming. Now, as the producer of my own monthly spoken word and storytelling show, I dress up for the show every month. A third of my closet is composed of costumes. At any given time, clothes that I’ve not worn in a while may very well be repurposed for the cause–or rather the theme of whichever show is on the horizon.
Since I’m an independent agent and Halloween is on the eve of Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment, I granted myself the day off. Although I hadn’t planned on attending any celebration, I still couldn’t pass up the opportunity to dress up. The trick this year was to wear a costume that could withstand the 105-degree heat of a Bikram yoga studio.
Out of all my costumes, my Medusa cobra heads made out of felt were the most practical, considering I wanted to wear a costume in a hot yoga class. Yet, I had a chiropractic appointment before yoga; so wearing my galabeya to flesh out my Medusa look would have just been plain weird. I compromised and wore a flowing shirt along with brown jeans.
As soon as I sat down in the waiting area, a guy looked at me and said, “You look familiar.” Without missing a beat, I replied, “Of course I do. I’m Medusa.” Another woman in the waiting area burst out laughing. Turns out the guy had been a regular at the same yoga studio.
I arrived at yoga class a little late, which always makes me want to sneak in, but with a hair full of snakes, it was not an easy task. There were positions which made me very aware of my braided snakes. Throughout the entire 90-minute practice, I’m pleased to say that I only lost one snake. A 90% success rate!
Once I returned home, I read an email from my apartment leasing office about a Halloween celebration. Given the fact that Halloween landed on a Tuesday and the first day of open enrollment was the next day, this low-key celebration was better than nothing and worth putting on one of my galabeyas and some green lipstick and pixie eyelashes for the cause.
About 30 minutes prior to me getting ready, the bottom fell out. I had second thoughts about even making the short walk to the leasing office for free libations. Traditionally, Austin floods around Halloween time; so I didn’t know if the rain would continue throughout the evening. Fortunately, it eased up while I did the bare minimum to get into character. Drizzling, the weather held up and didn’t challenge my cheap umbrella too much.
I loved that the punch matched my lipstick. There were two varieties of punch: “The Regular Stuff” and “The Good Stuff.” Of course I choose the latter, which was laced with Whipped Cream flavored vodka. Never tried that it before, but it definitely got my vote.
I ate half a cold-cut sub and too many chips with onion dip. As if those chips hadn’t sank my regular diet enough, I had a mini chocolate cupcake followed by a jello shot. Note to self: any jello shots with candy suspended in it isn’t going to be good! Adding to the confusion, the doggie jello shots were just beside the ones for humans. We were apparently supposed to “know” that those suspended things in bottom of the doggie cups were pieces of dog food! Yours truly got clarification before even attempting any scary-looking shot.
As usual, I happily ate and drank while making awkward conversation with my fellow residents and the leasing office staff. One woman, who I’m not sure if she works there or not due to the relatively high turn over rate, launched into a story about her first date with a guy who turned out to be a chain smoker. I was taken aback by her story since I’d merely approached food spread and she’d begun her story with no segue. I did the socially acceptable thing of asking her questions and making comments and even invited her to sit with me after I’d finished fixing my plate, but she drifted off to talking with someone else.
Another guy complimented my costume and added that that was the first time he’d seen me in makeup since I normally am not wearing any. I immediately thought “stalker,” but then he stated that he’d not worked out in the fitness room for nearly a month. I let the fact go that I didn’t put on makeup to work out, yet I teased him about rushing to his grave since he’d stopped working out, stopped eating healthily and started back smoking.
Lastly a German guy tried his best to engage us into a deep conversation about the significance behind the observation of Halloween. The only interesting cultural gem I could offer was about how bands of drunken men would go around in England demanding more booze and if not receiving any, would pull a prank on whichever inn or tavern that refused.
Now, I mostly view our celebration as just one big party where I doubt few people attach much significance to any of the original meaning. TV shows like American Horror Story, tends to circle back to the original meaning where the worlds of the living and dead can connect freer than any other time of the year. Yet the basis of the observation was signifying the end of the harvest season when most plants died, which people associated with human death and dressed in costumes to ward off ghosts.
Only time will tell if the modern reinterpretation of Halloween is a benefit or hinderance to our culture.