I am a very competitive person. If you beat me fair and square, I will tip my hat, but I will not be happy about it. If it’s not fair and square, however, I will hold a grudge. I hate Halloween because of a grudge I have held since Oct. 31, 1978.
My elementary school had a Halloween night party, complete with a costume contest, and the winner got $50. I know it doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but $50 in 1978 dollars to a 10-year-old kid is the mother lode. I never win stuff like this (the trend continues today), but I was determined to walk out of there $50 richer that night.
The key to winning a costume contest is to do something original. Any numb nut can walk into a store and buy a costume. So I decided to stick with what I knew best (and what I still know best, apparently with the exception of fantasy leagues): baseball.
I went to a second-hand store and bought a cape, and then went to a toy store and bought a crown and a Wiffle Bat. I covered the Wiffle Bat in aluminum foil to make it look like a combination of a sword and a bat. I glued a life-sized picture of a baseball to the crown, and I decorated the cape with baseball cards. I was — drum roll, please — The King of Baseball.
A quick interruption to reassure the card collectors out there: I did not use any baseball cards of value. I made sure any cards that were sacrificed to make the costume depicted players that fans would call scrubs and collectors would call commons. In other words, Reggie Jackson, Carl Yastrzemski, Mike Schmidt and Dave Parker remained in my collection, while my cape was adorned with the likes of Garth Iorg, Dick Pole, Butch Metzger and Ken Clay.
Anyway, back to the contest: I walked into my elementary school confident that I would leave $50 richer. I did not leave $50 richer. Nor did I win second prize and leave $25 richer. Nor did I even win third prize and a measly $10. And all three costumes that “beat” mine were 100% store-bought.
So I put actual thought and hard work into my costume, with some parental help (but who doesn’t get parental help at age 10?), but mostly myself, and I lost out to three costumes that came off the shelf at Lamston’s (yes, I am dating myself, but it was a popular discount department store back in the day)?
Fuck Halloween. Yes, I know, it was 33 years ago, but I learned a valuable lesson: Hard work doesn’t pay when you’re going up against three kids whose mothers happened to be the most involved parents in the PTA. And I decided at that point to put absolutely zero effort into this dopey excuse of a Hallmark holiday.
Maybe I will think differently next year, when I hope to have a healthy six-month-old to decorate, but I will decorate myself with a throwback jersey, a Yankees hat, and a cold beer, and that will be the extent of my efforts. Halloween can kiss my ass. Trick or treat? Try FIX.