Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I wish I hadn't lost that homework, or, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I was a dorky little kid.

Big surprise, right?

When I first discovered the classic monster movies, I was as obsessed about them as I could be.  I had limited resources - books in the grade school library and the children's section at the local base library.  I read up on the films, studied trivia books, and managed to work the monsters into various projects.

During a Cub Scout meeting, we were making masks out of paper plates.  I remembered reading that Jack Pierce used some sort of glue to create the textured skin of Boris Karloff in The Mummy, so I used half a bottle of Elmer's to glue patches of felt all over my paper plate mask.  (It didn't look very mummy-like when I was done.)

During Art in school one day (I can't remember what grade it was), I used markers to draw a haunted house with a big yard, and then drew separate pictures of monsters (Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, etc.), cut them out, and taped them all over the scene.

I don't know what happened to all those monster drawings and projects, and while I wish I could see them today, what I really wish I still had is an essay I wrote in class (still grade school, and I think it was after the monsters-in-the-yard drawing) in which I pontificated as only a know-it-all-monster-loving-dork-of-a-kid could about how little girls dressing up as princessess were "ruining" Halloween.

Over the years, I've dressed up as Boba Fett, Zorro, a pirate, and a robot for Halloween, but somehow, once I learned the names of people like Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, my brain clicked and I decided that Halloween should ONLY be about the scary.  In that essay, I name dropped Lugosi, Karloff, and both Chaneys and declared that people should only dress up as monsters and scary things, and that was that.

That attitude carried on with me when I became a teenager, into my 20s and even a little bit now.  I've softened a bit, and tried not to grumble TOO much last year when I went to a Halloween party with Bren in which the costume theme was "historical figures."  This year, the same party's theme was "Heavy Metal or Horror" and Bren made an AWESOME Bride of Frankenstein.  I threw on a lab coat and some black gloves, made up a quick name tag that read "Frankenstein" and called it good.  I may have phoned it in, but Brenda won for Best Costume.

(And next year's theme has already been determined: science fiction.  I think I can find something scary-sci-fi between now and then!)

I know that the Halloween stores and aisles are filled with more funny or superhero or political or Star Wars or sexy/slutty/completely-inappropriate-for-an-underaged-girl costumes than my beloved "scary."  And I always have to tell myself, "Calm down, Derek.  It's okay."

Because it is.  Really.  Listen to yourself, Derek.  It's okay.  No matter what you wrote when you were a weird little kid who drew monster faces that took up entire sheets of 8-1/2"x11" sheets of notebook paper (who REALLY liked drawing scars that crossed over the monster's eyelids for some reason), it's okay.  Besides, everyone's watching you at this point.

I think I kind of lost the point of this Plan D entry.  Back on track and to the point: I'd like to wish everyone a Happy Halloween, no matter how you celebrate it (even if you dress up as a princess).  But do yourself a favor - even if you're wearing more pink than blood red, treat yourself to something a little spooky.  Watch a scary movie.  Go to a haunted house.  Enjoy yourself.  I'm certainly going to . . . !

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