Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Worst Punk Rocker Ever

I am terrible at Halloween. 

It's supposed to be a fun holiday. I get that. You're supposed to get creative with it. I know that. But I just can't. I am just really bad at doing Halloween. 

Last year was the first year I even bought a bag of candy so I could stay home and pass it out to the kiddos. Of course, I totally underestimated the number of costumed munchkins who'd show up at my door. I had to shut the lights out early and call it a night. 

I don't even remember the last time I carved a pumpkin. The gunk and seeds on the inside of pumpkins completely gross me out. It is such a mess! 

To further prove to you my lack of Halloween celebration, I can not find a single Halloween type photo to add to this post for you. Not even one. 

I wasn't always terrible at celebrating Halloween. There was one of our first Halloweens when Mama made my twin sister and I matching chocolate chip cookie sandwich boards, so our older brother could dress as the Cookie Monster and pull us around in a red wagon. 

But then there was the year that Mama made us into Punk Rockers. She claims that's what we wanted to be. But I have a hard time believing a 3-year-old in the mid-80's was begging her mama to be a Punk Rocker for Halloween. 

Did I mention Mama was a DJ at the local radio? So I'm pretty sure it went down like this: 

Mama: "Hey girlies! Do you want to be Punk Rockers for Halloween?" 

Twin Sister and Me: (Look at each other then at Mama) "What's a Punk Rocker, Mama?"

Mama: "Someone who sings songs. It'll be fun!" 

Twins: "OK, Mama. We'll be Punk Rockers." 

It was probably fun for Mama. She dyed our hair purple and painted our faces. And we took one look at each other and started screaming bloody murder. Mama did such a good job that Halloween that we scared ourselves! I think that was the year our brother won the costume contest for his vampire costume. Mama painted his face too. Only he didn't spend the rest of the night in tears. 

Of course what did she expect of the girls who cried when they got their hand stamped at their uncle's high school basketball game. Cried so hard that Grandma had to take them both home. 

The worst punk rocker crying even before her hair gets teased and dyed.
We stuck to much tamer costumes after that. Little Red Riding Hood. Rainbow Bright. Then a few years later, Mama and Daddy decided we weren't going to "celebrate" Halloween any more. It was against our religion or something. We didn't want to be devil worshipers. 

So we got to leave school early and watch movies in the basement while all the other kids dressed up in costumes and celebrated the devil with candy at school and knocking on stranger's doors. Because nothing says evil like strangers handing out chocolate to children. 

By the time we were in junior high and high school, my parents didn't feel as strongly as they once did about the day. So we stayed in school and dressed up like "old ladies" in long dresses and wigs. Apparently Halloween wasn't devil worship unless you dressed up like scary monsters. 

Last weekend, I finally met someone else with the same handicap that I have when it comes to Halloween. She used to hide in the basement with her family on October 31, too. It's kind of a relief as an adult knowing I'm not the only one who faces this hurdle every year. But that doesn't solve the problem of learning how to dress up for a holiday you spent the better half of your life avoiding. 

I will be running a road race this weekend where costumes are encouraged. I'll let you know how it goes. And I'll try to get a picture or two. In the meantime, I'm agonizing over what I'm going to wear. No face paint or hair dye, please!


  1. Well I'm quite a master at costumes but raised my kiddos with all the crazy 80's concerns as your folks. It's nuts but fun and mixed up. Like life pretty much!

    1. You are so creative, Leila, I'd love to see the costumes you come up with! But you're right, life is pretty crazy sometimes :-)

  2. Oh Shelby, you truly are a girl after my own heart. We were also "basement hiders" when my dad decided Halloween was devil worship so we stopped getting dressed up and eating candy. I still get how it's supposed to be fun, but I struggle with all the pieces as well. Just buy me a bag of fun sized candy please. ;-)

    1. Thankfully I have learned to separate the celebration of Halloween from my faith, but that doesn't mean I am any good at coming up with costume idea. And this is someone who knows how to dress up. I showed up for writing group once in a fur coat and wool cloche, at Brother Jon's Ale House no less. So that's not the problem.

  3. It wasn't devil worship; it's just dumb!

  4. My first year at OSU, there was a guy in my dorm that was terrified of Halloween. His family taught him that trick or treaters were American children who, for one night each year, were literally transformed into demons which would kill him if he was caught outside after dark. Apparently when his family first moved to the US, having no context to draw on, that was the most obvious explanation for roving hordes of hooligans wearing horns and facepaint.

    So we tied him to an office chair and dragged him outside with a bowl of candy on his lap. Looking back, we were real jerks.