I love Halloween. And I always have. Let’s face it, most of the time as a kid, you don’t have much of an outlet for your creativity. Or a chance to truly express some of your fantasies. Or to role play in public.
I don’t know what it was like for you. But most of my ideas for really cool costumes never panned out. I was (and still am) prone to conjuring big ideas with very little talent to actually make those ideas a reality. Consequently, there were no lights or lasers on my robot costume. I was just a kid in a cardboard box. My version of a spider was nothing more than an old sweatshirt with a few extra sleeves sewn on. (Badly sewn at that.) And a lot of the time, my family’s efforts completely failed and we ended up wearing our parents’ oversized clothes – and went as bums or hoboes. (In retrospect, there’s something oddly ironic about dressing up as the homeless and going door-to-door to beg for food. But that’s a topic for another day.)
Here’s the thing. Back then, Halloween was strictly for kids. I don’t recall adults dressing up. Ever. Sure, they did it on TV. On TV, parents were always going off to costume parties -- usually in ridiculously elaborate costumes that people like Mike and Carol Brady couldn’t possibly afford. (Especially with six kids, a dog, and a housekeeper to feed!)
In my town, even older kids didn’t participate. But that all changed when I got to college. When I was a freshman, my friends and I slipped on some simple masks and went down to the campus center. And what I saw was truly a revelation. The center was jammed. You could barely move. And everyone was in costume! Most impressively, many were in very elaborate costumes. Entire fraternities and sororities seemed to have collaborated on a single concept. Art students went to town with their creativity. Engineering students seemed to have actually engineered their costumes! (Their robots really did have lights and lasers!)
One costume I remember quite well was devised by a group of kids who dangled one of their friends – a violin player -- from the upper level of one building to the roof of a smaller building below. His violin was amped and he played as he danced for all to hear. He was, literally, The Fiddler on the Roof!
And then, of course, there were the girls. OMG. You have to understand, I went to college in the northeast. It seemed to us guys that most of the time, the girls at our school were buried under huge sweaters and heavy parkas. But on Halloween, they wore… nothing! Or nearly nothing! (And this was on a very chilly October night!) They wore bikinis, leotards, and lingerie. They dressed as total sluts. And they were proud of it! Unashamed. Uninhibited. They seemed to want to out-do each other in their nakedness and sluttiness! I don’t know what life is like on campus today. But Halloween was our version of “Girls Gone Wild.” And I loved every minute of it.
Actually, Tina Fey’s movie, “Mean Girls” does a great job of describing Halloween in America today. The heroine of the movie, Lindsay Lohan, was home schooled in Africa. So she doesn’t know American customs. She shows up at a Halloween party dressed as a scary witch. And as it turns out… what seemed to be totally appropriate for a spooky holiday, was in fact totally inappropriate:
“In the real world, Halloween was a time for little kids to dress up in scary costumes. In Girl World, it was the one night a year a girl could dress like a total slut and no other girl could say anything about it. The hard core girls just wore lingerie and some form of animal ears. Unfortunately no one told me this rule.”
Poor Lindsay. She would have looked so hot in lingerie and animal ears!
So now take Lindsay’s Girl World… and turn it into T-Girl World. In our circles, Halloween has been referred to as “National Coming Out Night,” “Trannies Night Out,” or “The Crossdresser’s National Holiday.” And it’s kinda true. My first night out was on Halloween. Years ago, with my unnaturally willing and accepting wife along for the ride, I went to L.A.’s fabled, “Queen Mary.” I dressed in boots and a miniskirt and a big dark wig. And, just to make sure I fit the Halloween code, I threw on a pair red devil horns and carried around a plastic pitchfork. (By the end of the night, my toes hurt so badly from my boots that I ended up using the pitchfork as a cane!)
Unfortunately for me, Halloween fell on a weeknight that year. My wife and I mistakenly assumed that L.A. would wait for the next Saturday night to celebrate. We were wrong. And we were the only ones in costume in the entire place. Of course, it didn’t really matter, we settled in, had a few drinks, and watched a pretty cool drag show on the main stage. (Geez, I miss the QM!)
The night could have been a disappointment. It turned out to be anything but. I wish I had some great stories to tell. No lusty flirtations in the rest room. No getting pulled over by the cops. No being dragged up on stage to “lip sync for my life.” And yet, in many ways, it was one of the most important nights of my life. As we drove home from this very uneventful evening, I couldn’t help but smile to myself (in spite of the toe pain). I’d done it. I’d gone out in drag. Sure, I had hedged my bets a little by dressing on Halloween. After all, everyone dresses on Halloween. Even straight guys dress in drag on Halloween!
No matter. All that mattered to me was that I had done it. I had achieved another milestone in my feminine progression. And this Halloween, I encourage you to do the same. Especially if you’ve never been out before. This is the perfect evening to do it. Sure it’s a cliché. But there are reasons the cliché exists. If it takes the party-hearty, anything-goes atmosphere of Halloween to give you the courage to take those first public high heeled steps, then so be it! There are parties and events in every town and city on the map. And Halloween is absolutely huge in places like Vegas and West Hollywood.
Just don’t be foolish. Don’t go alone. Don’t drink and drive. And don’t forget all those things your mother told you years ago at Trick or Treat time – stay safe, avoid dark alleys, and don’t take candy from strangers. But go! Experience the thrill of strutting your stuff down a public street. Feel the night air on your silky hosed legs. Be the sexy witch-goddess-mermaid-fairy-princess you’ve always longed to be!
Or just throw on some skimpy lingerie. That works too. Just be sure to wear some cute animal ears. That way, you’re not a total whorebag. You’re a mouse.
Happy Halloween, everyone!
Be safe. Be smart. Be sexy!