Last night as my wife and I drove to a new friend’s apartment for a Halloween bash, I spoke to her about how much I adore Halloween. It is really the only holiday that has no familial obligations for most people. I also love that Halloween evolves as we grow older–it doesn’t stay stagnant the way holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas do. And, because I’m a little macabre at heart, I love the dark and sinister associations with Halloween.
Best of all, Halloween is the one holiday a year in which you are required to let go of preconceived notions of who you are or are supposed to be. Instead, you get to embody someone completely different from you–or more alike than you’d be willing to admit in the light of day. Costumes allow us a certain kind of freedom that nothing else really does. Some of us like to wear revealing outfits that we’d never otherwise wear, and let go of Puritan notions of our bodies and of sex. Some of us use this holiday to display our wit, humor, and intelligence. Some of us relive childhood through characters we loved to watch on Saturday morning cartoons.
My wife and I have done every type of costume imaginable. We’ve been a sexy angel and devil, a cougar hunter and a cougar (yes, that kind), a yinzeryinzer, Cruella de Vil, and so on. One year we went as real people in our circle of friends and community, and we were so spot on we won the costume contest that year.
As you can probably guess, Halloween and the festivities surrounding it are not new to me. So even I find it surprising that up until last weekend, I’d never gone to a masquerade party!
My first duty as a newly appointed board member of the queer youth center was to attend their annual masquerade fundraiser. This year’s theme was superheroes. Abbie and I wracked our brains to come up with two female heroines with costumes we could compile on a budget. (Sidenote, I went down an internet grammar rabbit hole trying to figure out whether or not I should write “wrack” or “rack.” Turns out either works.)
Readers, friends, we fucking nailed it again this year. We were everyone’s favorite crime-fighting babes, Daphe and Velma.
AND for the second year running, we won the costume contest at our festivity of choice.
I’ve already waxed poetic about how much of a transformation I have felt since starting this crazy project of doing one new thing a week, but it’s worth noting that the joy you see in this photo is real. Even though I knew very few people who attended the fundraiser, I was able to let loose, have a great time, feel excited, playful, and carefree at a public event. I wasn’t anxious at all, for the whole evening. And, while I was imbibing, I didn’t overdo it. I did not use alcohol as my truth serum or liquid courage. I didn’t need to.
I call that progress, friends.
P.S. I realize that at a masquerade you’re supposed to, you know, wear masks, but I wear glasses! I tried to find the kind on a stick that you just hold up to your face, but no luck. Maybe next year?