"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible." ~ T. E. Lawrence
Gather ’round children. It’s time for another another episode of: Legends of Childhood Trauma. Our tale is not for the faint of heart. The terrors of this story are true. Names have been shortened to initials to protect the guilty.
Let me start by apologizing that I don’t have original photos of this blessed costume – my parents cropped, crafted, and tucked it away in a family photo album years ago (where I pray it will remain hidden for all eternity). And had they not, I would have burned the evidence during my streak of attempted coolness in high school (not going to lie, I’d be tempted to destroy them even now that I’m a self-proclaimed nerd, it’s that bad). Imagination will have to suffice for now.
Ahem… onward! I had the joy of being numbered among those children whose loving parents helped them make Halloween costumes, which was usually pretty awesome. I was a woolly little lamb (cotton balls glued to white footie pajamas) when I was 4, a Persian princess with shiny, gold, paper crown and shimmery, purple cape when I was 5, a badass G.I. Jane decked in full BDUs and WWII era helmet when I was 12, and I remember attempting to dress up as a fisherman one year (which included a scruffy beard drawn with eyeliner and my dad’s work clothes). But I’ll not soon forget the glorious day that my mom brought home my first store-bought costume. I think I was 9 years old.
I don’t even know how to describe the horror. This was the epitome of shamedfaceness and uncoolness, and my preteen heart wept. It was probably on sale, and mom was so proud to have bought costumes for my brothers and I, so we (read: I) meekly accepted them with as much grace as we could manage. Baby brother, DJ, was the most adorable wee cowboy to toddle about in spurs. And S was an Army man (he’s one now too, but this time for real). And me? It’s almost too terrible to write…
I was a clown. The costume was half red, half yellow, right down the middle. It was probably a reject from Ronald McDonald’s fashion line, complete with pompom buttons down the front. It velcro’d shut in the back with a tie around the neck (all the better to hang myself with). And darling mother found a rainbow afro wig to go with it. Dare I even mention that she found two nose options and kindly purchased BOTH. One was a soft spongy bit of foam with a slit to cap my nose perfectly. And the other was a monstrosity of moulded rubber with a squeaker inside (I kid you not, it honked!) that attached to the face with elastic string. And let’s not forget the face makeup!
I think I wore a pair of my mom’s white tennis shoes to go with the God-forsaken get-up because they were too big for me – making it genuinely look like I was running around with over-sized clown shoes on. You’re dying to know which nose I wore, aren’t you? The rubber one kept slipping off of my face, too heavy and it made my poor little nosey sweat (and no one likes the smell of rubber). So I opted for the foam nose which also made my poor nosey sweat.
Here’s the clincher: I’m convinced that the clown costume was cursed.
Beware the Ronald McDonald reject costume! Beware!!
* All photos are courtesy of Wikipedia