Three Faces of Cup
Next to Christmas, Halloween was my favorite holiday when I was a kid. When you have an imagination like mine, there’s nothing more thrilling than putting on a costume and another persona. My favorite was a gypsy because I could dress in a riot of color and tons of my mother’s jewelry. I loved the jingle of the bangles.
Halloween is also a helluva lot of fun when you’re an imaginative adult. I came thisclose to a fun costume party this year, but there was the threat of a soap opera, so instead I revisited costumes of years past.
Somewhere among all those T-shirts and floating pens and CDs and books and baubles are photos of me in the costumes described below, but I can’t find them (I’ll find them next week, no doubt) … so here I am on another Halloween.
Best Costume — Adult Category
Being a woman who loves color and baubles and outrageousness, it was inevitable that I’d one day spend a Halloween as Carmen Miranda.
I bought yards of a gold lame fabric covered with lots of wild, colorful squiggles. I wrapped it around me in a sarong style. This was the late 1980s, before the era of the thong, so I went commando. I used a strip of the fabric for my headwrap, to which I fastened plastic fruit — apples, bananas, grapes, an orange. I bought some cloth heels, coated them in gold glitter (I love glitter) and topped the shoes with more fruit. I was a vision in Del Monte.
We hit several parties that evening, ending up at a friend of a college friend’s party. By the time we got there, college pal Reifenberger was seven sheets to the wind — still damn funny, talking a mile a minute, but a bit oblivious to the world outside his drunken state (in other words, Reifenberger’s normal party state). We were talking and laughing in the kitchen when a very inebriated chick stumbled our way.
“Gweat costume,” she slurred. “Are you a boy or a girl?”
“I’m a girl,” I sniffed, resuming my conversation with Reifenberger.
“I dunno,” she said. “You could be a guy. Looks like something a guy would wear.”
“I promise you, I’m a girl.”
“Lessee …” and Drunk Girl lifted the hem of the sarong to the top of my head, sharing my tricks and treats with everyone in the kitchen. “Huh. You are a girl.”
And Reifenberger? He just kept on jabbering and never caught the show.
Great Concept — Poor Execution
I had a great idea, one that would play off my dramatic coloring of black hair and pale skin: go as a photonegative of myself.
I coated my hair and eyelashes in white temporary hair color. I painted my face, hands, arms, and legs black — with, of course, little white freckles sprinkled all over my face and arms. I wore a white T-shirt and shorts (sometimes in Atlanta you can wear shorts at Halloween), with a black bra and panties over that.
Cute idea, right? Problem is … my hair is so dark, the color came out gray, not white, and the color faded (well, flicked off like flocking on a dying Christmas tree) every hour. So … I didn’t look like a photonegative of myself … I looked like … oh, God … a badly executed racial slur. As we walked into parties, my friends would shout, “That’s so cool; you’re a photonegative of yourself!” so that the other partygoers would get it. It was so off the mark that when we waltzed into the Majestic (our longstanding dive of a diner) at 2 a.m., everyone stopped for a couple of beats, looked at me quizzically, realized I wasn’t a racial slur, just a bad idea, and went back to their eggs and grits.
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