Dress You Up

By Robert Hoffman
© 2012 Diversity Rules Magazine and Robert Hoffman.  All Rights Reserved.

Robert Hofmann is the author of three books, “Surrounded by Insanity,” “An Ordinary Madness,” and his latest, “One Brain Cell Away from Retarded.”  He resides in Wilton Manors, FL, with his partner of 16 years and welcomes email from his readers at robshof@aol.com.

Ah, Halloween. The most anti-sacred of days. I love it.  Always have. Always will. I don’t know if it’s the dressing up or the taking on of a completely different persona, or getting away with something I couldn’t normally get away with on any other day, but something about Halloween is fabulous!

When I was a child, my mother usually purchased boxed costumes for my sisters and me. My sisters, being twins, usually got the same costumes. One of my favorites for my sisters was when my mom bought them giant screaming baby masks that covered their whole bodies.
My sisters always had better costumes than me. They got to be super spies with blond hair and pretty blue capes. I was a crummy Indian with a headdress made out of cardboard. My sisters were ugly, green witches, complete with brooms and cauldrons for gathering goodies while out trick-or-treating. I was a ghost with a plastic sheet. My sisters were beatniks with long, fl owing blond hair, black and white tights, berets and long cigarette holders. I was a goblin with a plastic mask and outfit that didn’t quite reach my knees. I envied my sisters on those long-ago Halloweens, and I think it turned me into a true Halloween lover.

When I went away to college, I made it a point to come up with a breathtaking costume for the annual costume party.  One year, I transformed myself into a skeletal zombie complete with long, stringy black hair, white skin and six inch black fingernails. Another year, I dressed up as Colonel Mustard from the board game, Clue, complete with books from the conservatory, the lead pipe, and Mr. Body in tow. And yet another year, I was a jack-in-the-box, with a hand-crank that played music before I popped out. I won Best Costume all three of those years. God, I was so queer.

After I graduated from school, I didn’t have much of an opportunity to dress up. Oh, sure, the bar I frequented had an annual costume party, but I was more interested in hooking up than dressing up, so I only dressed up a couple of times, once as a witch with green skin and a nose-wart (I think I was harking back to the year my sisters were witches and I was so green with envy), and once as a werewolf, with brown hair growing out of my face, on my hands and through the holes in my jeans. No one recognized me, and no one wanted to hook up with me either time.

After those couple of excursions in the world of gay-bar costuming, I gave it up to concentrate on finding someone to spend the night with. More oft en than not in those days, I was successful. Once again, I’d abandoned my love of dress-up.  Of course, I’d find that groove again later when I started my Halloween drag phase….but that’s a story for another time. And another shade of eyeshadow.

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