Can’t Take Halloween Out of the Kid — or the Superhero
I haven’t dressed up for Halloween in recent years. A lot of times I think I’m just being boring, or I’ll chalk it up to the fact that costumes are way too expensive.
Sometimes it’s fun to think outside the box and go cheap. One year during college, a sorority sister and I bought purple and brown shirts, screen-printed “Smuckers” and “JIF” on them and went as Peanut Butter and Jelly.
But I think the real reason I refrain from channeling alter-egos on All Hallows Eve is because I subconsciously know that I probably dressed up a little too much in my younger years.
My parents would tell you that throughout my adolescence, I wore many costumes — and not just for Halloween. For about a year of my life, I dressed up like a demon everyday. They call that my “Goth” phase.
Yes, like many other teenagers trying to discover themselves, I once had an affinity for black everything — make up, clothes, jewelry, you name it. I also sported “JNCO” pants, which some of you 20-somethings may remember, and which some parents of those 20-somethings may remember praying that your sons and daughters never asked for. Looking back, of course, it’s a “what was I thinking?” moment. Of course.
Then there was the year I dressed up as a hippie every day. This was shortly after the Goth phase. I traded in my JNCOs for bell-bottoms, my black T-shirts for gauze blouses, black boots for clogs. I stripped off the black eyeliner and went au naturel. This was somewhat easier for my parents to deal with, given they were familiar with the era; however, I’m pretty sure they were terrified, just waiting for me to ask them who “Mary Jane” was.
Regardless of those fun memories, a Mommy costume is about the only one I wear nowadays, and that’s an interesting one. It sort of looks like a wine bottle, if you can believe it. My son is now at the fun age where we finally get to dress him up for Halloween.
When I was a kid, I remember dressing up for Halloween and really thinking I was whatever character I portrayed. My favorite was Superman. I was obsessed with Christopher Reeve in the movies and never wanted to take off my red cape and galoshes.
The costume itself was actually a pair of hand-me-down pajamas that belonged to my older brother. To me, it felt like the real thing. I was just waiting for the day that I could take off and fly. One day I tried to “fly” through the storm door. It didn’t work out.
After I met my husband, we also discovered that around the same age when I was Superhero-minded, he was as well. We both have pictures of ourselves fully clad in red and blue, just like our idol. It was meant to be.
With these vivid memories in mind, and given the fact that my son is too young to know what he wants to be for Halloween, I decided to revive my husband’s and my favorite superhero and found him a Man of Steel costume. I’m pretty sure it’s made of cheap felt, and the screen-printed “S” looks like it’s going to fall off at any moment, but what more can you ask from Target?
I’m excited to see him with his red cape and boots, running around the house faster than a speeding bullet, chasing the dog (whom we’ll dress up as Lex Luther) and pretending to fly, which his sweet, little 18-month-old mind interprets as slowly crouching down, then sprouting up quickly into the air.
Maybe he’ll never want to take it off, and maybe he’ll just be waiting for the day he can take off and fly. I can only hope his aspirations will one day be to be like a superhero. Maybe he’ll wear some different costumes from time to time to find himself, just as his mom did, and I only hope I can be as understanding and accepting as my parents were.
I’m just glad they don’t make JNCOs anymore.
Kathryn Galloway is a graphics designer with The Pilot. Contact her at Kathryn@thepilot.com.
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