I used to love Halloween. When I was a kid I went all-out with my costumes and my family would decorate the house with fake spider webs and skeletons. My mom and me would make fresh pumpkin pie and caramel apples and my father would dress up and scare the children as they approached the door for their candy.
When I got together with my ex I stopped celebrating Halloween. He said that it’s a holiday for children and any adult who dresses up on Oct. 31 can’t be taken seriously. He never wanted to go to Halloween parties and when I tried to dress up he would condescendingly make me feel childish and small. He succeeded in squeezing Halloween out of me and by the end of our relationship October turned to November without two thoughts about Halloween.
Well, when I got a divorce with him I also divorced his policy about Halloween. This year I decided to get back to my roots and take Halloween seriously again. At first I was imagining dressing to the nines in some elegant, sexy costume. But, when I saw a poster at the grocery store advertising a costume competition for pets I forgot about everything else in my life.
I really went crazy. I spent every waking hour for three days making the costumes: One for the dog and one for me. I purposefully didn’t keep my receipts and account of expenses for the costumes with my usual fastidiousness. I was determined to making the costumes better than the competition and resigned to the expense. Money was no object, but I think I spent around $500 on fabric, thread, paint and molding plastic… Whoops
Although I studied graphic design, my degree is from a liberal arts university. We were required to take a variety of art classes from sculpture to painting, in addition to our regular design courses. A lot of time has passed since I last worked with my hands, but I called upon all of my material knowledge from college and everything my mother taught me about sewing to make the elaborate costumes for my dog and me… I realize how ridiculous and maybe even sad the exercise sounds, but I had a good time.
The costumes I made were Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. I made myself an elaborate dress, put real flowers in my hair and I made my dog a tiny man’s dress shirt and pants with . He looked adorable.
The costume competition for pets and their owners was help at the humane society where I adopted my little fur ball. The winner received a free grooming session and basic check up for the dog, and a spa day for the human. All the proceeds from the event went to the humane society.
Before the competition, I had been so focused on making the costumes that I hadn’t even thought about the event. When I arrived at the humane society I was immediately nervous and started sweating in many layers of fabric. Everyone was in good spirits. They were mostly adorable families, the children dressed up with the pet. I felt a little self conscious for being there alone. But then I saw a group of singles mingling by the bar and I went over.
They were employees of the human society and their friends. Our dogs got along and so did we. One of the girls recognized me from when I adopted Chet Baker (my dog). Next thing I knew, after a few drinks, we were heading to the catwalk for the main event.
Someone positioned me in line between a man and his dog, both dressed up like aliens, and a family with three kids and two dogs all dressed like zombies.
As we fiddled around behind the curtain waiting for the emcee to announce our names the man turned to me and said, “beautiful.” I thanked him and said that I made it myself. He confessed that he had purchased his costume and made a joke that next year he would hire me to make his. When the emcee announced his name as Dr. Drew Roberts I didn’t bat an eyelid and was, in fact, feeling very nervous.
After we had all awkwardly walked the stage and showed our costumes off, the judges announced the winners. I got second place! Although, I was perturbed to see that first place went to a beautiful woman in barely any costume at all (I thought it was supposed to be a costume party not a anti costume party). But, when the man I was behind in line approached and took his mask off, I forgot about the competition all together. He had light brown curly hair, gentle blue eyes and a five o’clock shadow that gave him an air of intelligent scruffiness. He’s a veterinarian! So basically, every woman’s dream man. I was too shy to ask for his number, even though he seemed eager to talk. But, I did exchange numbers with a woman, one of the friendliest assistant vets, and we made plans to all have drinks together.
It was a relief to connect with smart, kind people my age. And an even bigger relief to realize that I’m not the only single 30-year old in this city. I’m doing all right, I think.