Halloween: not my holiday.
Hasn’t been for some time.

But when I was a kid, I sure did dress up for it.
My mother made the most fabulous costumes. No sheet-over-the-head ghosts in our house.
One year, she hand-sewed me a genie costume: deep magenta pants, billowy and tapered at the ankle, trimmed with a band of gold sequins. With a matching top that fastened with hook-and-eye closures. I wore it to play dress up until I couldn’t close the back anymore.
Another year, I was a Southern belle. The long dress, which took weeks to make, skimmed my shoulders and went all the way to the ground, discount-calico ruffles in layers and layers, with cotton eyelet lace and a real petticoat.

My costumes weren’t all handmade.
We raided the upstairs closet in my grandparents’ house once — such good dress-up play clothes up there, every zippered slipcover a treasure chest — and found a kimono they’d bought on a trip to Asia. I practically swam in it, so I paired it with tights; I wore teal eyeshadow and mascara, put my hair in a bun and secured it with chopsticks.
That may have been my favorite.
Then one year — in fifth or sixth grade, oh, the horror — I somehow wound up in a French maid costume. The costume was store-bought, and I was wearing a white turtleneck underneath.
But still.
A French maid?

I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time. You know. At 11 years old.

But that’s an adult costume, shiny polyester and cheap netting that smell like the plastic wrap they came in, bought the night before, and a skirt that would barely graze mid-thigh on a woman of a certain age (read: not 11).
That’s not the sort of costume you buy for the school Halloween party. It’s not the kind of thing you wear when you’re out for all the Nestle Crunch and mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups you can scam from the neighbors.

That’s for the grown-ups.
For whom Halloween is an excuse to get wasted and dress like hookers.
(That’s my broad generalization of the day that will invariably make someone angry.)

Don’t get me wrong: I love fall. Put me in a pumpkin patch, give me a cup of spiced cider and an ear of roasted corn, and I’m grinning like a jack-o’-lantern.
I don’t even mind Halloween as I knew it before. Dogs and babies in costume? I can barely handle the cute.
And I’ll happily gorge myself on candy corn. (That’s my Halloween tradition: Buy a half-pound of Brach’s at the drug store in early October, eat the whole thing — but only the bottom two stripes, because the white part’s too sweet — and not want to see another tri-colored candy for another year.)

But the sexy costumes? The wild parties, the rowdy El rides, the scarier-than-usual morning-after walks of shame? No, thanks.

So this Saturday, when the rest of Chicago is getting drunk and disorderly in their zombie makeup and naughty-you-name-it costumes, I’m escaping to Evanston for a concert. One of my favorite bands, the Weepies, is touring for the first time in years.
No trick: I’m treating myself this Halloween to something I actually want to do…for the first year in a long time.

I had my Sexy French Maid moment when I was 11. I miss the innocence and the candy that goes with childhood Halloweens.
Bottom line: If I’m not bobbing for apples, I’m not dressing up. No Halloween for me.
On second thought… I might smuggle my rabbit ears into the concert in my handbag.
Just in case.


23 Responses to “Boo.”

  1. Helena Says:

    I was a French Maid, too, at about that age. Worse, it was my mother’s when she was in her twenties…. uh oh!

  2. wafelenbak Says:

    As an adult female, I take it as a personal challenge to subvert the sexy every Halloween. This year I am going as a very modest Little Debbie. You know, the purveyor of little pre-packaged snack cakes.
    Year before I went as Sarah Connor. Sexy…but in a “man, you do NOT want to touch that” kind of way. 🙂

  3. Paige Says:

    @wafelenbak – Sexy…in a scary way. I like it.

  4. Lisa Murtaugh Gangi Says:

    Read ya Lima Charlie, Paige. Yeah.
    Michelle does the funnest costumes. AT WORK even. Last year she was a giant mascot-style chicken. Walking on certain NYC streets, she heard, “Pollo grande! Pollo grande!!” Lotsa fun, no cleavage required.

    Des Moines-bound are we for the wkend; costumes for the kids, hot toddies (w/rum instead of whisky) for the grownups. 🙂
    Have a great time at the concert!

    • Paige Says:

      I’m in this strange, hypocritical limbo where I’m totally anti “slutty ___________” but don’t want to look like an idiot, either.

      Enjoy Des Moines! If Holly can actually get on a working bus, she’s Megabusing here for the concert. Oy vey.

  5. Jen Says:

    I know people like to take offense to things, but I actually don’t think anyone will be bothered by the wasted hooker comment. I’m pretty sure they know what they’re doing (and love it).

    I was a sexy nurse once. Sue me 😉

  6. Lauren Says:

    I’m the same. My mom used to make my costumes, but even then I wasn’t to excited about it. I just loved to wear makeup and dress up clothes. My Halloween night shall consist of me sitting on the step outside next to Toast with a bowl of candy to hand out to trick or treaters, then going back upstairs and finishing it off along with that cabernet I got yesterday, and call it a night.

    Now, Thanksgiving, that’s a holiday I can handle.

  7. Tweets that mention Boo. | -- Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Paige Worthy, Nicole Kaeding. Nicole Kaeding said: Same view of Halloween. We stay in. Amateur night! RT @paigeworthy:When Halloween costumes go wrong — at 11 years old […]

  8. Jen Says:

    @Paige – Well. No you don’t.

    Let’s grab bevs next time you’re in NYC.

  9. Rachel H Says:

    I’m being a Popple for Halloween. Sexy? No. Warm enough? Yes. Here’s hoping no drunk sexpots step on the tail of my adorable, childlike costume. I’ll have to shank them.

  10. Paige Says:

    @Jen – Oh fine. You’re right. I don’t. Drinks it is, sexy nurse.

  11. Adrienne Says:

    every year, i was rocky the flying squirrel for halloween. every year, my dad was a doctor. when we moved across country, we didn’t pick up the tradition – i was at that age where i was rebelling for no real reason.
    i think the joy of that, though, is what makes me love halloween so much – putting on the grey MATCHING sweatpants and sweatshirt (you know exactly what this would look like, complete with the elastic bottom), and little avatar glasses, and the old grey sock filled with stuffing for the tail.
    but now, the joy is almost gone. i say almost, because….i still love candy and i love the memory. but the point about the hookers actually is why i dislike the holiday – sexy dictators? sexy snickers bars? oh, come on.

    at least thanksgiving will never be sexy.

  12. Paige Says:

    @Adrienne – I like how you said “avatar” glasses. I see what you didn’t mean to do there.

  13. Philip L Says:

    Growing up in a Halloween free England I was so envious of the wholesome children in American movies tricking and treating their way through the friendliest of neighbourhoods. I was far to naive to notice the sexy French maids amongst them. You have shattered my childhood fantasy Paige. Not sure yet whether to be grateful or not.

  14. Erini CS Says:

    So jealous of your getting to see the Weepies.

    I’m not doing costumes this year… Two years ago a friend and I sat down discussing all the crazy Sexy ___ costumes we could think of. He and his wife were going as Sexy CTA employees. (They switched it up and did it in drag of course.) … and for me, I went as a Sexy Velociraptor. (I was torn between that and a Sexy Crossing Guard.) That’s been the highlight of my halloween career.

  15. The Faux Trixie Says:

    I haven’t been out/dressed up for Halloween for five years or so. Tonight, I’m going to a haunted house. Tomorrow? I’m camping out on my couch and watching scary movies all day while doing work.

    That being said, if I did go out and get dressed up, I’d go as something funny. I can’t pull off the slutty costume.

  16. Megan Says:

    @Paige – I am in precisely the same limbo. Which is why I’m watching the movie I got on Netflix and ordering sushi tonight. Hmph.

  17. Katrina Says:

    I had a comment. Blogger ate it. Just know that it was awesome. Weep for what could have been.

  18. Gabriel Says:

    Back in the day, I, too, made an ill-fated costume decision that would have been more appropriate for someone several many decades older than I at the time.

    In fourth grade, I went to school as Richard Nixon. And, let me tell you, it’s not easy to breathe in those masks when your lungs aren’t fully developed yet and you have asthma.

    And it wasn’t even Sexy Richard Nixon.

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