(I was going to post this towards the end of Halloween night, but I got wound up in the 6-hour Ghost Hunters Live event…oops!)
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Halloween my entire life. On the one hand I love a holiday where we can embrace our darker, more macabre sides. (If you haven’t gathered over my 100’s of blog entries yet that I tend to lean towards the darker side of things, you don’t catch on very well) I’ve always loved the ghost stories, the traditions, all of the usual aspects. However there was a side I hated most of my life…costuming.
My paternal grandmother was the daughter of a Polish immigrant and through some reason that was never explained to me, she opened a costume business in Phoenix,AZ that grew to be the largest costume house in the Southwest, outside of Hollywood studio firms. When I was 8 years old, my mother opened her own costume shop in Kirksville,MO in…our living room. Yes, our living room. Let me tell you, there’s nothing like sitting in the kitchen eating your dinner listening to people ask “How much for this pint of blood?” It was an odd arrangement, but it allowed us to start for a very small investment and it brought us some notoriety. We were scheduled to be on Good Morning America once as “The Smallest Costume Shop In America” until some major news story broke…darn it.
So it’s easy to say costuming was in my blood from the day I was born. By the age of 11 I had my own make-up kit and was learning how to make bullet holes in people’s foreheads from Hollywood make-up artists. I was darn good at “chopped off fingers”. By the age of 14 I was told by Don Post Jr., son of the legendary Don Post who made the original King Kong, that I should finish high school and then see him about a job. Which I obviously didn’t, but who knew I would open my own business a year later?
So, with all these good aspects, where does the “hate” part come from? Try working in a costume shop on Halloween. You will be hard pressed to find another time where you get called names, cursed at, things thrown at you, and just generally treated like a whipping boy as you do during that time. It got so bad we had to hire an off-duty sheriff’s deputy to come in each year for a couple days, and yes, we did have to have him remove people. My favorite had to be the guy who tried shop lifting a 3 foot long metal sword…by shoving it down his pants. Yeah, we weren’t going to notice the limp.
Sadly it sucked my love of the holiday out of me, and though it has been 13 years since I had to do that, I am just now getting my love of the holiday back. What an odd time to get it though considering I’m 35…and I don’t have a costume shop in my living room anymore.