Approximately one year ago today, I took to my soapbox at the Flat Hat and extolled the creative virtues of dressing up for Halloweekend. I championed the brilliance of a well-done costume and how the weekend served as “a great equalizer, allowing ingenuity to triumph and people to gather together under a banner of spooky fun.”
I was a Halloweekend optimist, claiming anyone could make a great costume with a little bit of wit and a basic wardrobe.
This year during Halloweekend, I abandoned my optimism.
My week prior to Halloweekend was exhausting. I was physically and emotionally drained and frankly, I didn’t have the time or motivation to commit to actually trying this year.
I walked into the weekend without a costume or a care to give. My experience was going to be as purposefully lazy as possible.
My costumes were perhaps the biggest stretch I’ve done in my entire life, and I was a varsity sprinter in high school.
On the first night of Halloweekend, I just felt like staying in bed. Thus, my costume was the most over-the-top pajama ensemble possible, complete with a robe, pants, moccasins and a mug.
Was there something I was actually striving to be? Nah. I just really wanted to be in my jammies, and nobody was going to tell me to take them off because it was Halloweekend, damn it. People had a wide variety of ideas about what I was.
Some thought I was Ferris Bueller. Others thought I was a friend of mine known for his naps. When people asked me what I was, I usually just told them the truth, being that I wasn’t even wearing a costume and I was just really into the idea of wearing pajama pants and moccasins.
Were a select few people confused? Hell yes. Was I comfy, cozy, and wholly unconcerned about it? Again, hell yes.
On the second night of Halloweekend, I decided I couldn’t use the same pajama bit, so I took to crafting the most elaborate pun costume possible.
It came to me in a vision: one picture of a pan attached to me with paper clips, with a Kristaps Porzingis jersey as my shirt and a crown sitting atop my head.
When I was asked what I was, the answer was always the same: “I didn’t have a costume, so I was pan-knick-king.” Zing.
These costumes were halfhearted, noncommittal and objectively bad. But now that I’ve worn them, I have a whole new perspective on Halloweekend.
Last year, I was in awe of the world of creativity surrounding me and the general excitement in the moment. I saw a man dressed as a taco in Wawa and was unabashedly shook.
This year, I experienced firsthand the stress that Halloweekend can bring when added onto an already busy schedule. Yet despite this, people barely noticed the last-minute nature of my costumes. My unapologetic lack of genius went almost entirely unnoticed by the innocent public around me.
Even if I am into Halloweekend next year, I’ll look at people with a new sense of pessimism. Lurking within a sea of genuine effort are sharks like me, lazily slapping together whatever they have in their closet and calling it a genuine effort.
Keep your eyes peeled out there, folks. For every good costume is a lazy one hidden in the midst. The next time you see a taco, be more alert than I was.
Email Anthony Madalone at firstname.lastname@example.org