(an annotated Instagram Story)
Something horrible happened this year. I missed Halloween. I never miss Halloween. I begin to plan my costumes somewhere around July, and even if I didn’t, I have a whole list of yet-to-be-done costumes (Satine from Moulin Rouge and Winnifred Sanderson from Hocus Pocus, I’ll come for you one day). Dressing up is my absolute favorite thing in the world, pretty much. I LIVE FOR THIS AND I’M REALLY NOT EVEN BEING THAT DRAMATIC. This year, though, there’s a lot of stuff in the works. Starting school and transitioning jobs and moving (!!!) and bridesmaid duties kept me from preparing. The other problem? The wedding was Halloweekend and Halloween was on a Tuesday… Gone are the days of Halloweekend beginning with a thursday night Phi Delt party and ending Sunday at formal meeting. These days, we sleep. We get up early. We completely miss the whole dang thing.
Which got me thinking about college Halloweens. And I mean, you know me. I’m all about documentation. My social media exists solely for me to stalk myself and remember what I was up to at any given point in my life. It’s like keeping the story that happened behind the scenes. I think, as a writer, that this is a wonderful resource. I’ve especially been interested in how this technology keeps changing. I’m into the Instagram Story at the moment. So, when Facebook memories brought up a slew of old costumes and this post, In Defense of Halloweekend from two years ago, I decided to combine the two while being as extra possible on a very special project. You’re welcome. Halloween was pretty simple in high school. We coordinated costumes and met at someone’s house and went trick or treating. I remember feeling very cool in my dad’s vest and utility belt and making construction jokes that I wouldn’t understand were dirty until much later. I think we went to probably 3 houses that night before feeling weird and going home. We weren’t quite cool enough to know what else people did on Halloween. In the words of Eric Foreman, “It’s like we’re too old to trick or treat and too young to die.”
And all the things that go with that. I reread my old posts about these days and remembered the embarrassing, thrilling solidarity. In this photo, I was 22 and single and angry about it. I didn’t really understand my own alcohol tolerance or how the party scene was supposed to work, but finally felt carefree (see also: miserable) enough to try it. I drank an AMF and made out with a frat pledge dressed like Brawny Man in front of everyone because the boy I was interested in didn’t like me. I met Brawny Man the next day in the library when I was hungover and trying to study for senior exam. I do not miss college.Or there was when we were freshly 21 and BFF was single for like a month and she dragged me to THREE SEPARATE FUNCTIONS in one weekend, which is not a thing that I did. This was the year I decided I wanted to wear a costume like everyone else’s, so I handmade a pretty gorgeous costume that was literally a bra and tutu that was supposed to look like a very wholesome Disney princess. God saw this and made it rain so I’d have to at least wear leggings. This was also shortly after 1989 came out. I remember dragging her away from a questionable decision and we drove home with the windows down and screamed at the top of our lungs, BOYS ONLY WANT LOVE IF IT’S TORTURE like we have never believed anything to be truer. We didn’t listen to Taylor, who was only trying to warn us. We deserved to be miserable. The following month, BFF would meet the man she would marry on Halloweekend 3 years later. Such is life.This is from the only night I drank underage at ULV and then became a fierce advocate for not doing it. This is the night I got so drunk that I got denied entry to a frat party and cried to the security guard and threw up on a guy’s bare chest. We don’t talk about this night. Except when someone whom I thought was a stranger recognized me from this one uncharacteristic night and I realized his entire impression of me was based around that one night. That is why I had no problem calling your underage ass to Standards. It’s for your own good, girlfriend. Don’t fight me on this. Yoga-Wine-Mom Tab broke 2 shot glasses and lectured some boy on his misogynistic views of religion and how they perpetuated rape culture (proud), beginning a completely backwards spiral into the weirdest non-relationship ever, probably (less proud). It would take up a good three and a half months and lead nowhere. Wine Tab had a boyfriend overseas and was very bitter about still having to spend holidays alone. I felt so weird about our grown up conversations, like I was missing out on this fun life that I used to feel pressured to partake in. It is amazing to me that these photos are only one year apart.This one just had to be included because when you work 3 jobs and find out about parties between shifts, you learn to improvise. This is maybe my proudest moment of college: finally being so shameless that I showed up to a party in an only slightly modified work uniform (non-slip shoes and khakis and all) with a wine bottle and a really big straw. I have never received more positive attention in my life. College is weird. Moments like this make me almost miss it.But then remember that I got to spend this Halloweekend watching BFF marry the love of her life. I got to come home with my smoking hot wedding date/roommate and spend “Halloween,” (or as we like to call it, Tuesday) working from home, grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s, cooking up some cauliflower crust pizza, and watching 3 episodes of Stranger Things 2. This year, I had no doubt that there is nothing I would rather do.
Still, I felt like I was sort of missing out on the feeling of the holiday that I had loved since long before boys and booze came into the scene. I wanted it to feel like Halloween. So, what else is there to do than take a Hobby Lobby run and buy supplies to dress up your new kitten as Marie from Aristocats, then put on Hocus Pocus while crafting for a photoshoot for your cat? It’s really all quite normal.
What I’m saying is that all these things matter. These memories matter. I can look back and see all these people that I’ve tried on until I found a me that fit. I can cringe and laugh at myself and feel all philosophical about how far I’ve come. In the meantime, please enjoy these photos of my cat that I will enjoy stalking five years from now. Happy Halloweekend.