Halloween. A holiday that I’ve come to equate with stress and procrastination. Every year when Halloween candy starts appearing in grocery store aisles (June), I think, “This Halloween is going to be different. I’m going to think of a great costume and start working on it now.” Cut to Oct. 29 and I’m wandering various thrift stores and wondering “Would people know I’m Mrs. Roper from Three’s Company if I wear this dress?”
This year, around the beginning of October I started really giving my costume some thought. I had 2 major guidelines: comfortable and cheap. I have a bunch of odd flea market articles of clothing that I figured I could put together into something, but who would I be? I thought, “If anyone asks who I am, I’ll just say I’m a woman who dresses like this” (“this” being a polyester halter dress with pearls and fur in the fabric pattern plus an enormous faux fur jacket). Sounded ok, but I wanted a backup plan. So the day before Halloween (and the night of my first of two parties to attend) I headed to a strip of thrift shops in Burbank, including “That’s a Wrap,” which features used clothes from TV and movie sets. There I purchased a $3 windbreaker that said “Event Staff” on the back and figured I could roll with that.
And then at home that evening getting ready for the party, I became unsatisfied with my options. The flea-market clothes were funny but uncomfortable and the Event Staff person was androgynous and boring. So I looked in the closet in the back bedroom where I keep fancy dresses and things I never wear, and what did I see but a comfortable, warm, soft bathrobe. I put that on, happily noticing the ample pockets that would allow me to leave the purse at home, added some slippers, messed up my hair, and carried a large coffee mug. And there I was, this year’s costume, “Your Neighbor In The Morning.”
I wore this costume to parties on Friday and Saturday night, greeting people by saying “Morning, neighbor” and occasionally talking about the neighborhood watch program and how some young punk was stealing my newspaper every morning. My friends, dressed in various combinations of corsets, wigs, face paint, furry paws, and high heels looked at me enviously and, I have to think, were taking a mental picture and saying to themselves, “Next year. Next year.”