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Nerds, Spiders, and Kurt Cobain: Remembering Your Halloween Costumes


Yes, I was a female black widow for Halloween once

The earliest record of me dressing up for Halloween is a picture of me as a fat one year old. I’m either a witch or a pumpkin. Or both. I’m wearing an orange onesie with a pumpkin face on it, but I’m also wearing a long black wig. And a hat with a pumpkin on it.

In first grade I was a mummy. This was one of my few costumes that wasn’t handmade by mom. I know it wasn’t handmade because it didn’t have individual wraps. I had a poncho thing that had a print of bandages on it, with snakes crawling in and out of the bandages. Also, my face was painted white, because I guess mummies had really, really white faces. And bent glasses with paint accidentally smeared on the lenses.

The next year I was perhaps the least terrifying bat of all time. Black sweatsuit, hat with bat ears, black facepaint. There is an old picture of me sitting cross-legged in this costume, yelling at the camera, as bats do, I suppose. The camerawork is remarkably steady, not blurred at all, so I can only assume that I failed to frighten. And I was wearing bent glasses.

The next year I was a spider. A black widow! Because as you know, they’re super-poisonous and super-terrifying. My mom sewed me into a black spider’s body that she made. When I lifted my own arms, there were three other pairs of arms that waved and menaced. I had a black beanie on top of my head, with googly eyes sewn on. Unfortunately, I also had a red hourglass on my belly. I had no idea that only the females have that marking. Neither did my mom, apparently.

Then: Alien! A three-headed alien, to be precise. This was my favorite costume ever. A couple of my handy uncles pitched in. Now that I look at the photo, the spider body, red symbol and all, got re-purposed for this, but it’s still pretty good. Under the black body I wore football shoulder pads. My mom made two papier-mache heads, one for each shoulder, each appropriately alien. My own face was painted gray. My glasses in the picture have gray paint all over them.

Next: grim reaper something or other.

Next: a nerd. Pocket protector, high pants, glasses (!), finger up nose, etc. I doubt it was half as hilarious as I thought it was.

And then I hit Junior High and I don’t have any memories of dressing up. In High School I was a huge Nirvana fan. I went to a dance once as Kurt Cobain. My date was Courtney Love, but was actually way too hot to be Courtney. True story.

As an adult, I don’t think I’ve ever dressed up, but this year I’m thinking it might finally be time for a tall slutty nurse on the reference desk.

How about you? Are you dressing up? What’s the best costume you ever wore?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Spencer October 11, 2011, 10:54 am

    I was a killer California raisin circa late elementary school days (trash bag, big bow-tie, sunglasses). I had some nondescript “old man” mask one year, and I spent the weeks preceding trying to catch a bird to carry about on my shoulder, because somehow I thought that would befit the old man motif I had going (stand down, PETA; I was unsuccessful). I was an army man. I was Zorro, with a dope fresh tin-foil-wrapped-around-an-old-cardboard-wrapping-paper-roll sword. In high school, I went to a dance dressed as a mummy, which included a very loose and unstructured pair of my moms white pants. This ended badly. Loose pants + teenage boy + slow dance with crush = thank goodness it’s really dark in here, but I am still pretty embarrassed. I was Fred Flintstone to a very hot Wilma in college once. Each of these were homemade and awesome. This year I have no plans to dress up. I am not opposed, but will probably just be too busy doing other stuff. I need to just breakdown and invest in a gorilla suit and be that every year from now on.

    A good friend of mine is a competitive triathlete. Last year, he entered a Halloween race dressed up as The Joker Nurse from the new Batman movies. His daughter is in theater, so did his makeup. One of the scariest costumes I have ever seen, though if anyone could rival it, that would be you.

  • Michelle October 11, 2011, 3:11 pm

    I dress up every year. This year I’m going to be the Devil, but not cheesy red horns and red dress type. Instead, I have some subtle realistic looking horns, and I’m going to wear a business suit and a pentagram necklace. I also plan to carry around a moleskin notebook and see how many people I can get to sign their souls over to me.

    Hm, I’m not sure if I have a favorite. The year I went as Red Riding Hood, I also made a Big Bad Wolf costume for my husband. I learned that a Big Bad Wolf costume should be purchased if you’re going for scary. He ended up as the cutest Big Bad Wolf ever.

    • Spencer October 12, 2011, 8:10 am

      Color me intrigued, Michelle. The notebook is a nice touch. I’d be surprised if you didn’t finagle some serious signatures.

  • Megan (your sister!!) October 12, 2011, 12:52 pm

    Josh you always had great costumes. Mom did a great job with us when we were little. My favorite of yours is when mom dressed you up like a witch!

    • Josh Hanagarne October 12, 2011, 12:52 pm

      Or a pumpkin. There’s no telling what was going through her mind.

      • Megan (your sister!!) October 12, 2011, 1:06 pm

        I think it was a witch pumpkin. She doesn’t even know what it was supposed to be. I’ve asked her. It was cute regardless of the fact that she kept trying to dress you up like a girl. Between that and the black widow….she must have really wanted a daughter!! What’s Max going to be this year?