I’m not sure whether to file this one under Bad Dad or Halloween, but it pretty much works with either. Just don’t try this at home and leave it at that.
I was flipping through some old photo albums and couldn’t help but come to the conclusion that I’ve always been a little independent when it comes to Halloween costumes, but pretty bloody stupid too. Actually, this observation is mostly applicable to my teen years and I like to think I’ve picked up a thing or two about safety since then, so my kids aren’t really at risk. Other than the fact that every year I try to get the boys to dress up as the Blues Brothers, but that’s more a matter of taste than common sense.
Anyway, feast your eyes on this vintage snap, probably taken by someone hoping to sell it to our local newspaper as the "just before it happened" photo. This would be the year my buddy Dan and I dressed up as werewolves, or pre-ignition human torches. I’m an albino werewolf, apparently. We were 17, which explains about ninety percent of this. Oh, and we also didn’t have the Interweb (yes, I know I’m dating myself now) to point out the right way to go about this sort of thing.
Here’s the checklist for a night that, by all rights, should have ended in tragedy:
1. Werewolf masks at store too confining. Decide to make our own.
2. Buy a big bag of polyester quilt stuffing.
3. Opt for Spirit Gum to attach polyester directly to face, head, neck, arms and hands. Don’t bother to ask about the substance that will remove spirit gum (this isn’t a factor until 4am or so).
4. For a bit of color, spray some of the polyester with auto primer (which just happened to be lying around).
5. Complete the ensemble with a synthetic flannel lumberjack shirt- in October, it’s cold up here in the Great White North.
6. Since spirit gum quickly became prone to cracking and painful tugging, opt to partake in Halloween party libations via a straw.
7. At the time, Dan was known to smoke.
So we have flammable spirit gum holding a big wad of highly flammable polyester onto the skin, with a dusting of highly flammable (and toxic) paint sprayed over the works, complemented by a flammable shirt. How we didn’t simply ignite the first time Dan lit up, or even when we came to close to any strong light source, I’ll never know. Oh, and for the record, my parents had no idea what we were up to.
Some say that teenagers can never be taught, but I pretty much stuck to greasepaint, prosthetics or masks for subsequent Halloweens, so that isn’t entirely true.