Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Evil Eyebrows

I've always loved Halloween.

I remember defending it at elementary school recess. A heated debate had broken out on the blacktop over which holiday was "the best." I campaigned passionately for candy corns over candy canes and trick or treating over caroling. Christmas won (it was a Catholic school, after all). But my love for the spookiest holiday hung on.

There was just so much to adore- cotton cobwebs in bushes, getting fake blood all over my mom's fancy hand towels, orange and black rubber bands stretched around my braces. Oh and that beloved plastic candy-bloated pumpkin I'd hoard in my bedroom for weeks.

I still adore the holiday and the giant furry spider I hung like mistletoe over my doorway this weekend. But there was this one Halloween- the dark Halloween of 1997- when I didn't love it at all.

I was 12, somewhere between Puffalumps and training bras. You know, that precarious transition when the games, hobbies and toys you loved for a decade become wildly uncool overnight.

I loved Halloween so I took costume selection very seriously.

That year I begged my mom for the ultimate costume straight out of the Disney Store catalog. I would be the evil stepmother from Snow White. Headpiece with sewn in crown, neck to toes draped in a cape, apple and mirror accessory in hand- it would be epic.

I woke up at 4am before school on Halloween to dress and do makeup, borrowing my mom's eyeliner to make my eyebrows look evil. I don't remember how I got to school that day but I'm assuming my siblings weren't there. They couldn't have been. They wouldn't have let me.

I walked into the auditorium where all the grades 5th through 8th gathered before homeroom. Jansport slung over my cape. Mirror and apple in hand.

Nobody else was in costume.

Sure, there were a few adorable bunny ears and bobbing insect antennas over regular clothes. There were a handful of Dracula teeth retainers and embroidered pumpkin sweaters. The cool 8th graders had dressed up like tie dye Rastafarian's. But, no costume costumes. No full body witch suits. No, none of those. Damn Disney catalog.

I ripped the crown cap off first, smearing my eyebrows. It was the only thing I could shed. I wore the costume all day, to every class- I had to- until returning home to yell at my mother for giving me what I had begged for.

I swore off Halloween. The next year I went as a skater girl in wide leg JNCOS. I made fun of anyone who didn't.

Years later, despite the trauma, I learned to love my favorite holiday again.

I still take costume selection seriously. This year my boyfriend was a matador. I was a bull.

But I'll never forget 1997- the Halloween that will never stop haunting.