|Besides laughing at the suffering of toddlers.|
I mean Halloween. It's that one thing that surpasses any other date in my entire calendar and any other life event, like when I got my job, or when I bought my car, or when I found out Mr Rogers died, or when I lost my virginity, my birthday (or anyone else's), the only exception is any day that is a payday.
Growing up in not exactly the most luxurious of households, I had little to no budget for my costumes until I was eighteen. My very first Halloween getup, with mask and everything, was a Ben Cooper Beetlejuice costume, only it wasn't much of a costume. It was a "vinyl smock" (like a cheap jumpsuit) with nary a reference to what would constitute for a costume or disguise.
1991 - 1993 (ish)
It was a god damn cheap-ass black dress with a hole on the backside. The Beetlejuice part? Apart from the mask, the only reference were the classic black and white stripes extending only in the chest area, with random Beetlejuice drawings on top of it.
|...real fuckin' convincing, mother!|
After that, it somehow got worse. I resorted to tying a shirt around my head, grabbing a broom stick and just banging on signs.
|Not pictured: Shame|
|At least by this time I could pass off as something other than a gypsy panhandler.|
It was not so much that my Halloween spirit and creativity were amiss, but I had little to no skills in arts and crafts, besides drawing, and even if I did, I had no money to build anything out of anything. After giving up on costumes of grim reapers and a chest piece that looked like a recreation of a Women's Rotten Fish Blood Salsa Special, being pumped directly from my hand...
|"Bleeding Skelebones". Time to look fabulous! ♥~•~♥|
... I was fed up with the cookie-cutter costumes from local stores.
So that year I went for something truly eerie. Something disgusting. Something that would make people look twice only to wish never having looked at me at all. Something... well, basically Tim Burton's version of Tootsie.
|That's m-- that's me?|
|That's not me.|
|OK, to be fair, I looked way better than on the real owner of those clothes.|
That year I looked back and figured I had spent a great part of my young life trying to act as the scourge of society, but everyone from that era already knew that after High School I opted to turn into a depressed, repressed, unloved teen shrouded in darkness. Well, an imitation of one, because I smiled too much. Anyway, when the neighboring drunks and poor choice of friends from my pre-rocker days saw me, they cheered that I had finally "come home".
If it's not exactly obvious, maybe this will help.
|Hazardous. The rapper, I mean.|
You might not think of it as a costume, but to me it was. It felt like truly disguising myself in plain sight. My foray as a one-night wiggster (wigger ganster?) was a complete success, everyone believed I had gone from "hey it's that rocker dude that desperately wants to be different" to "oh hey it's that guy that desperately wants to look just like us", it felt more like April Fool's than Halloween, but it also felt like people were being completely honest with me for the first time since 2001, like telling me how I wasn't gonna be able to dance with girls if I listened to rock. Really. Life-threatening stuff.
I have no recollection of what happened this year. I most likely missed this Halloween due to the trauma of the wiggster costume.
I was finishing up my studies at this point so I had no real income but the Work & Study program allowed me to save up a bit. I took the gloves from the Bleeding Skelebones and ripped off the plastic bones from it, grabbed another black graduation robe (these things seemed to just show up at my house for no reason), bought a tie and bought a cheap pimp hat from Walgreens, ripped off its fancy ribbon and I was the old school Undertaker from the mid-early 1990's WWF.
|Note to self: Iron something that's been folded for a long time.|
Now this was the beginning of an era for me. I had a real job, so that meant I could invest wisely in necessary things, such as Halloween costumes. On that year I also found out about eBay and that opened up a whole realm of possibilities. If my costume was to draw in woo's and wow's I had to go for something recognizable that hadn't been burnt to the ground. Growing up in Puerto Rico, we borrow from almost every big pop-culture aspect from the United States, but I went for something EVERYONE in this island had grown up watching on weekend mornings. A Mexican comedy sitcom-ish show called El Chapulin Colorado.
|I was sober at that point because I could still smile and stand still at the same time.|
The costume gave something I had wanted for a while. Recognition at a Halloween Party, and from that point on I knew that it was my calling, I needed to carry on with this yearly task, just to have a reason to live. It also got me like 2 phone numbers and a few Facebook friend requests. That didn't hurt. One important aspect I learned is that Halloween is about making an impact but also being comfortable throughout the night. The thighs were not my main concern, the main problem were the pockets. I quickly found out the value of having the ability to hold one's junk in place is as important as holding other valuables such as money and car keys.
Remebering that I needed flexibility, comfort and pockets, I decided to go for a) something I could pull off with long hair, b) anyone would recognize and c) still be a character from somewhere to whoever got the reference.
At that point I was watching the anime Bleach (I stopped just short of the 200th episode, I have my limits), and the good guys of the story are called Shinigami, or Soul Reapers in English, 12 or them or so and they each had their look and special crap. I just needed sandals and a sword. First and last time I get a sword. Long story short, a drunk guy took my sword and swung it around in the bar and almost got me kicked out.
|"Back off man, I know karate"|
Even ending winning 2nd place at the 2009 Halloween Party I went to felt good, especially because I lost to a guy that made a C3P-O costume made entirely out of Medalla Light beer cans, so I felt I lost 1st place fair and square. This time around I decided to throw away the "comfort" requirement and go for something a lot more memorable and recognizable. Winning things isn't a thing of mine but I wanted that first prize and decided to be, for that night of alcohol and inhibition, the infamous Cobra Commander.
|A blind teacher and me just being hideous and mischievous.|
But that beheaded gremlin on his shoulder is fucking creepy.
|"Cobraaa COBRAAA Cobraaa COBRAAAAAAA ♪"|
Great fuckin' song.
The costumer was easily one of the best ones I've worn, of course I had to get someone to stitch the hell out of it so it resembled the packaging's model. It was also the most uncomfortable thing I've been stuck in for several hours. The mask, while not heavy, is not conditioned for ventilation, after all, the Commander either uses a hood with eye holes, or this chrome-plated helmet/mask combo, so it's bound to get ugly inside that thing. But that wasn't the worst of it, I had to buy a half face cover balaclava-ish fabric that would go from my chin to the back of my head suppressing my ponytail and back down my neck in order to cover the space between the costume's head opening and the mask.
Two things are already covering my entire head and neck, two things enough to make me sweat like a pig, and I'm not even dressed yet. The actual costume is a full body suit, you enter through the chest segment, with long gripless gloves and you had to wear something underneath because there were no zippers or pockets.
Long story short, I won but I wasn't at the pub by the time of the announcement, so they picked a guy dressed as Luigi from Mario Bros. Meanwhile I had ran off someplace else to a much more refreshing pool party.
Violá! The verdict of drastic variation was as voluntary as very much well a necessity.
Fuck it, that's as far as I'll go trying to convey every other word into something that starts with a letter V. If you got the hint, yes, on 2011 I dressed up as "V", from V for Vendetta. The fact I didn't have to hide my hair, the costume was mostly composed of regular clothing, the mask was breathable for the most part, the hat would be the same I used for the Undertaker costume in 2007, and the only things I'd need to buy would be some Darth Vader gloves and a cheap black cape, this was already my least expensive Halloween getup. At the last minute I decided to buy the cheap belt and knives that we see in the comics and movie.
|Rawr, RAWR and Rawr.|
|Yes, I had to drink Budweisers through a straw at some point.|
I wanted to keep the tradition of having comfortable clothes, pockets, not have to hide my hair and have something recognizable. I had thought of this costume for a few years, but the most important part, the prop, was going to be REALLY expensive. Until my good friend Alex said he could help me out with a low-budget one if I could get him the necessary materials. And so the Ghostbuster costume project went forward.
I bought an airforce overall, patches, a military belt, cheap rubber gloves, and some knee pads. But the outstanding part was the Proton Pack. While it broke a lot because it was built to look the part, not to be constantly handled, it held up pretty good for being a cheap experiment.
|If Silent Bob approves, well... it means nothing really, but it's cool I guess.|
|I can guarantee they were pretty hot. For dead chicks.|
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