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Star-Telegram.com

Franken-Thing Two and Other Bad Costumes

Posted Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011

By Julie Rhodes

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Once, and I’m not particularly proud of this, Gordon and I went as Adam and Eve to a corporate Halloween party in downtown Fort Worth. Our costume looked something like this:

I don’t know whose idea this costume was, and my most distinct memory is how far below his actual nipples Gordon’s painted-on-polyester nipples were. They languished somewhere below his rib cage. But if there’s anything more unflattering than dressing up as Adam with his strangely placed navel and snake, it’s dressing as Eve in a giant nude onesie like a flesh-colored Oompa Loompa.

On another Halloween, Gordon and I went as a Jedi knight and Darth Vader. I was Darth, but as expensive as my buy-in-a-bag costume was, it was missing the facemask — arguably the most important part of any Darth Vader getup. The mask is really the point, you know? Without it you just look like a cute witch with a robotic chest and clunky man boots. Gordon stuck a black industrial-length flashlight in his tunic belt in lieu of an actual light saber (also missing), and we headed out the door in all our blazing mediocrity.

Perhaps our best Halloween costume to date was in 2003 when we went as Neo and Trinity. Gordon wore his long black overcoat from his days bustling through the freezing New York subways, and I was rocking my brother’s fake .45, holding it at my side like an extension of my will and personality. We were going to a friend’s party on the M Streets in Dallas and had to park about a block away. A car rolled down its window and some guy yelled out to Gordon, “You’re the ONE, man!” It was awesome.

When you ask Drew what he’s going to be for Halloween this year, he says very solemnly, “Yightning.”

Lightning McQueen holds strange power over Thing One. Drew sleeps with a stuffed Lightning on a Lightning pillowcase, in the shadow of a remote-controlled Lightning McQueen car on his dresser and beside a Lighting McQueen tent set up on his rug. I think there might be something irreverent to Drew about dressing up like his hero, because every time we offer for him to play in his costume, he declines — he’s just not ready for such a mantle of glory. Sometimes he asks just to put the hat on. When it’s on his head, he asks me to lift him up to see his reflection in his dresser mirror. Then he takes it off and goes about his business, apparently just trying his priestly vestments on for size.

Drew’s concept of Halloween would be very interesting to understand if I could get inside his brain. For days he has been sitting in our sunroom window, gazing out across the street at the pair of shrouded grim reapers sticking up halfway from the ground between a couple of tombstones and a spider the size of Thing Two.

“Dose are just decowations, Mommy,” he says, like he’s putting himself through talk-therapy.

“Yes, those ARE just decorations,” I say.

“They not hurt you,” he says. “They not come get you.”

“No, they’re OK. They’re just for fun,” I say.

“Just decowations,” he repeats, trying somehow to reconcile them into the same category as wreaths, garlands, Christmas trees, and candles. Decorations.

Drew’s class has apparently been learning about spiders in preschool in honor of the season, and now Drew is aware that there might be spiders in the bushes near our swing set. He doesn’t seem afraid of them; I suspect he imagines they will bring him lemonade with their pipe cleaner legs and googly glued-on eyes.

Last Halloween, Drew was more traumatized by the hoards of children running up and down our street in a candy frenzy than he was by the animatronic Jason hacking the air with his plastic knife at Party City. The night-of, Drew was dressed as Thomas the Tank Engine and would stand wide-eyed at every door stoop, getting trampled by the seasoned trick-or-treaters who poured over him like a polyester wave.

Maybe Madeline will like Halloween more. She has exhibited great patience in recent days with my attempts at barrettes and bows, and this makes me hopeful about her flower costume, which is basically a glorified headband. But with her straight-legged, stop-start walking, I’m thinking of dumping the flower in favor of Frankenstein, bolts and all. Thing Two would be the most beautiful, most in-character Frankenstein you’ve ever seen, and you wouldn’t even care if she ate your brain because you knew it would be fueling that precious green body. I know she could pull it off.

Because heck, she’d even look good in a nude onesie.


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