One Halloween, Maree Gaetani, director of public relations at Gardener’s Supply, dressed up in a brown shirt and brown tights, smeared brown paint on her face, and strapped a Teddy bear to her head. She was (drum roll, please) Winnie’s poo. This will always be among my favorite Halloween costumes ever, and not simply because it has allowed me to use the word “poo” in this column.
This year I asked readers to share with me costumes that they felt might top Gaetani’s. The following are some of the responses. Not only are they brilliant in a “Winnie’s poo” sort of way, some can still be cobbled together in time for tonight.
Kym R. Lindsey: “My favorite costume is simple but effective. A guy I knew tied a box of Cheerios around his chest and drove a knife through it. He was a cereal killer.”
Elaine Steele Maynes: “A friend from Bristol wore fishnets, a short skirt, a tight sweater, and tons of cheap makeup. She teased her hair and wore the Chevy logo as a necklace. Her costume? She was a Chevy pickup!”
Robin Mayer: “A lazy friend in middle school put on a suit, grabbed a flashlight, and told everyone he was an usher.”
Kristin Efman Reynolds: “During the heyday of the Cabbage Patch doll craze, my mom made me a giant cabbage costume. Not the doll. Just a giant cabbage.” (I should note that Kristin is my cousin in Georgia and so the mother in question is my aunt. As I recall from my childhood, my Aunt Karin baked an awesome chocolate chip cookie. So, in all fairness, it wasn’t all cabbage, all the time.)
Brighid Moret: “I have a friend who is 6 feet 8 inches. One year he showed up at a party dressed mostly in black, and when we accused him of not coming in costume, he protested and pointed to his legs. He had purchased two children’s costumes and cut holes in them, and then strapped them to his legs from the knees down. ‘I’m two trick-or-treaters,’ he explained.”
Anthony Connolly: “Wear all black, tape colorful balloons all over your body, and cover in clear plastic sticky wrap. Ta-da: You’re a bag of Jelly Beans.”
Deb Mager Rickner: “When I was eight months hugely pregnant, I went to a grown-up Halloween party as Hester Prynne, complete with the scarlet A. My hubby went as the minister, complete with collar. And one year — many years later — our daughter, Hannah, went as Moaning Myrtle. She had a Hogwarts robe, some ghostly gauze over her head, and a toilet seat around her neck. We did buy her a new toilet seat; we didn’t recycle an old one.”
Amy Wiedenbeck Nash: “When my son, Nicholas, told everyone, ‘My mom can make anything!’ you bet I’d figure out a way to create any Halloween costume he wanted. So when he wanted a shark swallowing a man, he got one.” Amy sent me a photo. It’s terrifying, a nightmare straight out of “Jaws.”
Kerry Skiffington: “This is just sad: I got dressed up as Rod Stewart one year, complete with gunk in my hair to make it wild and tight leggings. No one recognized me/him, and when I did explain, only the grandmas knew who he was.”
Stephanie Takes-Desbiens: “Go to a party with semiconductor engineers. Did you know that you can make a costume representing a differential equation? And that other engineers will not only get it, but they’ll think it’s funny?”
Carole Goldberg: “I went to a party where a guy showed up dressed in white, with glasses with black lenses and a white-tipped cane. He would speak only in Italian, because he was a Venetian, blind.”
Mary McLoughlin Guarino: “I work with kids, so this year I am thinking of hot-gluing Smarties candy all over my pants. Yeah, you guessed it: Smarty pants!”
I’ll be handing out the candy tonight in Lincoln, and this year there won’t be any bouil
lon cubes masquerading as caramels. I promise. Happy Halloween.
(This column originally appeared in the Burlington Free Press on October 31, 2010.)