My Halloween History : A Tragedy in 16 Acts / by planetdan
On the left is me in my very first Halloween costume, and I have no idea what the hell it is. The blackened nose would indicate a deer or a dog, but the plastic smock baffles me. My older brother is clearly supposed to be a clown, except rather than the traditional curly mop of rainbow-colored clown hair, he seems to be wearing one of my mother's fashion wigs, adding just the right amount of creepy to the picture.
I'm barely two years old, and I'm an Indian. In a winter coat. My mother made it a tradition to ruin every single Halloween costume by requiring winterized outerwear. I think my headdress is made out of feathers that have been glued to a cowboy hat, which is an interesting visual dichotomy, almost worthy of an art exhibit.
Year three: season of the witch. I have pictures of every single one my siblings wearing this costume. Hand-me-downs are lame. My brother, pictured way in the back, was apparently a one-way sign. With feathers.
Doing a complete 180 from the Indian costume I wore a few years earlier, I'm a rootin' tootin' mustachioed cowboy. With a hoodie. Damn that cursed coat! Damn it all to hell! This was the year that those giant inflatable head cosutmes were all the rage. I never got a giant inflatable head costume.
Dracula. Nice widow's peak, mom. An eyeliner pencil can work magic when you're in a pinch. The demin hoodie totally cancels out the effect of the gruesome bloodied teeth.
I remember walking door to door in this tinfoil robot outfit and all my neighbors would give me double candy, complimenting me on my amazing handmade costume. I was so proud of myself for having handcrafted what was clearly the best costume anyone in the neighborhood had ever seen. But looking back, I have begun to recognize my neighbors generosity as being less about admiration and more about utter pity. I got tinfoil on my head for chrissakes.
Laboring under the false impression that the previous year's handmade robot costume was a wild success, I attempted to build my own costume again, this time glueing green constuction paper to a box and calling myself a turtle. A rival trick-or-treater girl mocked me, saying "What are you supposed to be, a giant booger?" But what did she know. Carrying around a racket and calling yourself a "Tennis Pro" for Halloween ain't no better than wearing a cardboard box and calling yourself a turtle, bitch.
Three full years after I was Dracula, my mother economized by making me re-use the costume cape. This time I was a magician, with a black pencil for a wand and yet another eyleliner moustache. My friends endlessly mock this picture, because it's basically just me in a cape and hoodie holding a pencil. Luckily, some damage to the negative in the bottom left corner of this image makes it look like I'm conjuring spirits or something. Otherwise, no one would know what the hell I was supposed to be.
Not counting the witch costume from when I was a toddler, this Halloween represents the first of many female impersonator costumes I would wear over the years, completely oblivious to the fact that children dressing in drag might not be considered socially acceptable in the suburbs. I'm positive that odd looks and hushed whispers were abundant that year. I'm supposed to be the Chiquita Banana girl. With a warm coat under my festive Hawaiian muumuu, of course.
Again left with a cardboard box and my own devices as the basis for my Halloween costume, I made myself into a bag of Dunken Donuts. Regardless of the fact that Dunken Donuts are usually served in boxes, not bags, my entire costume consisted of what was basically a sandwich board with the Dunken Donuts logo poorly painted on the front, and a cardboard donut popping out of the top at eye level, which made it difficult, if not impossible to walk in. By the end of trick-or-treating, it had practically disintegrated off of my body. I believe my mom was too embarrassed for me to even consider documenting it with a photograph.
Here I am, dressed as a woman for the second time and sporting my mother's treasured coffee-table doily as a mock-shawl. K-Mack and I, on the verge of being too old for trick-or-treating, would take turns pretending to be mentally handicapped in attempt to get more candy from unsuspecting neighbors. I'm dressed as an old woman, and I don't know what K-Mack is supposed to be, but I'm guessing Claire Huxtible from the Cosby Show.
Okay, so I'm a woman for the third time. And maybe dressing like Cleopatra could have been an okay idea if I hadn't let my sister apply ten pounds of cake make-up and glossy red lipstick. Most people just assumed I was female, and my high-squeeky puberty voice wasn't helping matters. You can see me second-guessing my costume choice in this photo.
Worst. Costume. Ever. I'm supposed to be "static cling," and for the sake of full disclosure, I have to confess that I photoshopped my mullet out of this picture. I just couldn't bare to have it documented online. When I look at this picture, I want to cry. Can you believe I had a hard time making friends that year? To make matters worse, I actually trick-or-treated like this.
K-Mack, Stacy, and I went as three witches to a Halloween party thrown by a mutual friend. We like to remember that we were the life of the party that year, but when the highlights of the event include bobbing for apples and dancing to the Monster Mash, it's not hard to be considered the "wild" ones.

Dressed as a female, yet again, only this time as Pocohontas. Donning K-Mack's mother's old turquoise jewelry, a padded bra, and a beaded t-shirt, I strutted into the room to realize that I wasn't the only politically-incorrect Native American at the party that night. Some other jackass had gone as the chief from The Village People and stolen my thunder.

Wisely taking a few years off from dressing up for Halloween, I made my much-anticipated return in 2004 as the creepiest old-school Oompa Loompa ever. Even though it makes me sick to look at the photographic evidence, I still secretly harbor a little pride in this outfit. I really should have just quit while I was ahead. If I were ahead, that is.

Sure, I look more like a pirate than Prince, and I was wearing more lace than an '80s bride, but the facial hair is real (with a little help from an eyebrow pencil) and that smoldering stare is all Dan. While my skin tone wasn't quite right, my purple lace socks were spot on. After a few too many jello shots, I tried to do the spilts a'la Prince and pulled my groin, and thankfully a threatened Purple Rain lip-sync singalong never became a reality.

Continuing with the Rock & Roll theme and once again having the commitment to grow special facial hair just for the occasion, 2006 was the year of Tommy Lee. Basically, it was just an excuse for me to wear tattoo sleeves and pad my crotch, but the LED belt buckle with the scrolling message was a real crowd pleaser, and I seemed to be a natural when it came to acting strung out. I'm the one they called Dr. Feelgood.