No Store-Bought Halloween Costume, Puh-Lease

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Now that's scary

By Susan Dromey Heeter, Joyful Musings

With the upcoming Halloween extravaganza, I am debating on my costume: Route 16 Montage to Dead Squirrels (I’ll dress in black and paste gray squirrel tails all over me) or Brett Kavanaugh’s Calendar.

Decisions, decisions.  I’m just not sure – it’s simply the idea of creating an alter ego for the day of which I muse joyfully.

Susan Dromey Heeter

I love a good costume and am a little disappointed at the myriad of store bought presentations I’ll see at my door on Trick or Treat night here in Dover.  Sure, I know who Harry Potter is, can recognize a Star Wars character, know that Bride of Frankenstein is a thing – but, really?  I love the minimalist costume, the character for whom I have to pause and admit, “Oh, I get it now…”

Decades and decades ago, my friend Kevin sported a brown spot on his right cheek.  That was it.  And when asked what he was dressed as, he remarked, “Jon Boy Walton.”  I still laugh at that, the simplicity of the costume, the relevance (it was at a time when The Waltons was on prime time) and the creativity of his attire. I’ve thought of that costume for years.

My friend, Trish, from a family of ten children, came from a home that had a basement piled high with furniture, clothes, trash. One year, her sister, Mary, dressed up as the “Cellah” and outfitted herself in trash, in socks, in junk resembling their chaotic basement.  I hope she won best costume to whatever event she attended.

And, certainly there are costumes that take years to create, an inordinate amount of time and money, but, truly, it’s the subtle, creative ones that blow me away.

As I muse joyfully on possibilities this year, I think of one of my favorite costumes from years’ past – I was seven months pregnant and that belly was simply a lovely prop by which to have some fun. I pasted hair all over it, found a comb over wig and bad teeth and –  voila – I was suddenly “Ralph.” I laughed so hard that night; felt so ribald and truly, truly scary as I danced at a Halloween party.

One of the neighborhood men remarked, “You know, most wives here are dressed in some sexy attire – I see you did not go that route.”  “Of course not,” I remarked,  “that ‘s so..predictable.”

And when I wore the costume to high school (covering my belly with high waisted plaid pants) I relished in the cringe filled looks I got from colleagues, from students, from staff. It’s not just blood that can scare, it can just as easily be ear hair and bad teeth.

I love Halloween.

And may you muse joyfully on your own costume, your own creation.  Keep it simple, keep it fun, keep it so you laugh out loud.  Happy Halloween. Boo joyfully.

Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, debuts her new column “Joyful Musings” at Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Spaulding High School in Rochester and the mother of two teenage daughters.  Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal  in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.


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