• Everything But Imaginary #371: What Should I Be?

    We wait, my friends, as we always do, for the coming of that day of days. In 11 short spans of 24 hours, the spooks and demons will crawl from the shadows, kids will strap on their masks, and it will no longer be considered creepy to sit outside your front porch and offer candy to strange children. It’s that day of days: Halloween.

    Despite my age (shut up) I’ve never lost my enthusiasm for Halloween. Even now, I find myself excited and determined every year to gorge myself on scary movies and books, listen to soundtracks from classic horror films, and most importantly, seek out a bitchin’ costume with which to knock everybody’s socks off. The problem? As usual, I’m struggling to decide on a costume.

    I’ve searched all the catalogues, of course, and aside from the standards I’m not really seeing much that appeals to me. Sure, I could always put on a mask and go as Frankenstein’s monster (or a lab coat and go as Frankenstein himself – ask your English teachers, kids). I could paint myself yellow and go as my favorite M&M. I could paint myself yellow and go as Pac-Man. I could round up two other guys of roughly my body type, paint myself yellow, and go as one third of a traffic light. Clearly, I’m a little stumped for ideas.

    The thing is, Halloween to geeks is like Rush Week is to drunken frat boys: a chance to try to recruit people to your agenda. We geeks want to use Halloween to don a costume that spreads the news of our favorite characters and media properties. Remember the episode of The Big Bang Theory where all four of the main nerds tried to dress up as the Flash for the same costume party? It was a remarkably true to life situation. But what do you do if the characters you’d really like to represent are so obscure that you’d have to spend half the night explaining who you’re supposed to be? Or even worse, if you’re simply not in the right… um… morphology to represent that character?

    What’s my favorite comic book right now? The assorted Green Lantern titles, obviously. But I am not quite in shape to dress up like Hal Jordan. And even if I was, most of the party wouldn’t know who he is yet – although by next year, I expect that will change. I’m also not in shape to be Kyle Stewart, Guy Gardner, or Kilowog. Chasleon is an off-chance, but I’m too tall. On the other hand, if I allow myself to move away from the Green Lanterns to the rest of the Corps, I think I could rock a Blue Lantern Brother Warth costume. Sadly, I have neither the time nor the skill to construct such a thing.

    If you go through the catalogues of costumes (either online or in paper) you’ll see that comic book and sci-fi characters are represented better than ever before. Superman and Batman have had a place in those pages for years, of course, but now it’s also possible to dress up like Spider-Man, Iron Man, the cast of the new Star Trek franchise, to debase yourself by appearing as one of the oversized Smurfs from Avatar, or to get any of several choice Watchmen costumes from the clearance rack. And lady geeks? Fuhgeddaboutit. In addition to becoming any number of characters from True Blood, Twilight, or Sex and the City, ladies have the option of any number of “sassy” costumes based on various geekdoms. [Note: “Sassy” is, according to the Halloween catalogues, a synonym for “slutty.”] Among other things, I’ve seen “sassy” versions of Supergirl and Batgirl’s costumes (fair enough), the Ghostbusters (okay, now we’re stretching it) and Optimus Prime (I swear, I’m not making this up).

    Although I’ve done so in the past, I don’t always order my costumes through the catalogue. Often, I just browse the catalogue in the hopes of finding some inspiration. In the past I’ve wound up as Indiana Jones, Hellboy, Marv from Sin City and (we’re going back to college here) one of the Men in Black, and not a one of those costumes came out of a pre-packaged catalogue. (Although to be fair, I did have to buy the Hellboy mask.) This year?

    This year, I got nothing.

    It doesn’t help that my attention is really divided this week. Just yesterday (as I write this) my sister Heather had her first baby, a beautiful little spud named Maggie. Heather says she’s already decided what Maggie’s first Halloween costume is. If Heather would take my suggestion and dress the kid like Slimer, I’d even break out the Ghostbuster costume I had a few years ago. But as that won’t happen, I now find myself thinking of famous uncles I could dress up as… Uncle Sam? Uncle Ben? Uncle Remus? I could get myself in trouble with Uncle Remus… Or my favorite fictional uncle, Uncle Scrooge? I’ll get myself a pince-nez, wear a top hat and spats with no pants, and swim around in a bin full of comic books (I don’t have enough to make a bin full of money).

    You see? This isn’t as easy as it sounds.

    So I return to the drawing board, with 11 days left until the big night and no concrete plans or even vague notions as to what would make for a good costume this year. I have no doubt I’ll come up with something, as I always do; and it’ll be last-minute, as it usually is; and half the people there won’t get it, as is wont to happen. But it’ll still be Halloween. And that’s all I really need.

    Come back next week, friends, for the annual Everything But Imaginary rundown of all the Halloween comics I was able to scrounge up this year. And in the meantime, if you think you can construct a Brother Warth costume to my specifications and have it shipped to me by the 31st, please let me know.

    Favorite of the Week: October 13, 2010

    Last week’s favorite, as is so often the case, falls to an issue of the aforementioned Green Lantern titles, specifically Green Lantern #58. As Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris continue to defend the Predator entity that embodies the Star Sapphires, the Blue Lantern entity chooses its mortal host, Sinestro and Atrocitous make a pact of their own, and we learn a heck of a lot more about Larfleeze. This issue featured a ton of plot advancement and a dandy helping of backstory teases as well, easily earning it the spot at the top of my reading list for the week of Oct. 13.

    Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast and the weekly audio fiction podcast Blake M. Petit’s Evercast. E-mail him at BlakeMPetit@gmail.com and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page.
    Comments 9 Comments
    1. BigWords's Avatar
      BigWords -
      Go as classic Sandman. All you need is a suit and a gas mask, and everyone has one of those lying around.
    1. Blake Petit's Avatar
      Blake Petit -
      I've wanted to do that for YEARS, BW, but it's the same old problem. Nobody would recognize the costume. Nothing ruins Halloween like spending all night explaining your costume. (I know. I've done this.)
    1. Andrea Speed's Avatar
      Andrea Speed -
      Oh, I know. The year I went as Jonah Hex, I had to explain it to EVERYONE. What a pain. (Yes, I know I'm a woman. Who says I can't be Jonah Hex? It's Halloween, damn it ...)
    1. Blake Petit's Avatar
      Blake Petit -
      Hey, if 50,000 dudes can dress as Cher, you can be Jonah Hex.
    1. Dirge's Avatar
      Dirge -
      I sew a new costume for my self every year, and I say go as the obscure character. I went to a bar the year I dressed as Mysterio, and did have to explain to everyone who I was (especially hard through that bubble). But walking down the street and hearing someone yell "Hey Mysterio" made it all worth it. I got the idea that year to make up business cards with a picture of the character and the name and occupation, and show it to anyone who asks. Sadly, I have never used it.
    1. Blake Petit's Avatar
      Blake Petit -
      Heh -- business cards never occurred to me.
    1. feltonbass's Avatar
      feltonbass -
      Grab a friend, a pair of bib overalls and go as Lenny and George. If you've got to explain it to folks, may as well teach them something.

      I've got a ton of lantern rings ( all colors ) thanks to DC Comics. I'll be sporting a Green one at work all day. That way if someone asks, I get to geek out about Green Lantern to 'em
    1. B. Schatz's Avatar
      B. Schatz -
      I make people guess, and then say "yes" to whatever it is they think. Because people are hilarious.
    1. Blake Petit's Avatar
      Blake Petit -
      Quote Originally Posted by feltonbass View Post
      Grab a friend, a pair of bib overalls and go as Lenny and George. If you've got to explain it to folks, may as well teach them something.

      I've got a ton of lantern rings ( all colors ) thanks to DC Comics. I'll be sporting a Green one at work all day. That way if someone asks, I get to geek out about Green Lantern to 'em
      Interesting concept... I do spent most of my waking hours trying to teach people about culture anyway...