Perhaps there were a couple of times I think I dressed up in college, but they’re lost on me as well. The year I turned 25, in 1978, I remember, perhaps because there was a picture.
My girlfriend Susan had a friend who was having “a Halloween costume party. I’m not sure that I had any costume ideas, but Susan did, and when she suggested, I embraced it. (Or so I remember.)
“I had a beard and a mustache at the time, so I shaved them. Then Susan and a couple of her friends made me up. We found a dress in a second-hand store, a wig and shoes from somewhere, and we went to the party, she as ‘Sid’ and me as ‘Shirley.’
“I affected a high pitched voice, but frankly, I figured that people would know it was me. After all, I was still a six-foot black person. Much to my shock and amazement, no one recognized me! Well, not until later in the evening, when my ‘five o’clock shadow’ starred to appear.
“The Halloween of 1978 inspired me to dress up for several years thereafter, though never again in drag.” I have pictures that I need to scan. My favorite was a skull mask, a wizard’s hat, and my college graduation robe. There’s a picture with me leaning on a car, reading the New York Daily News comics section.
Another involved a Frankenstein mask, beret, and a seersucker jacket. I’m sure I bought both masks from FantaCo, where I worked. Boy, were they warm.
My daughter did Halloween for a few years, often utilizing dance outfits she wore when she studied ballet. I was not inspired to dress up as I took her house to house.
Still, I relate to the sentiment of my buddy SamuraiFrog: “This is my favorite time of year, but it always brings with it the disappointment of seeing some of my fellow Halloween lovers being total hypocrites.
“Seriously, if you’re a person who starts visibly celebrating Halloween in August, don’t turn around and attempt to dampen anyone else’s spirits just because they start getting excited about Christmas in November or October. Don’t try to make people feel bad about being excited about something you’re not, you selfish prick.”
I know it wasn’t for Halloween, but Justin Trudeau’s brownface debacle seems seasonably appropriate for discussion. TIME magazine obtained a photo of Canada’s prime minister at an ‘Arabian Nights’-themed party at a private school where he was teaching in 2001.
In response to the photo surfacing, Trudeau apologized for his actions, agreed that the photo is racist, and said it “was a dumb thing to do.”
There have been many debacles, for Halloween and otherwise, about blackface. Megyn Kelly, who’s only about 14 months older than Trudeau, ended up off her NBC News show for suggesting that blackface on October 31 was no big deal where she grew up in upstate New York. But Virginia governor Ralph Northam is still in office.