I love Halloween, but I hate wearing a costume. No – I hate wearing a costume. Costumes are a delight for young children, but I don’t feel like being a dinosaur or a pig or an oreo or Snow White for a few silly hours on October 31st.
Back in the Cleveland suburbs, I had to dig up a costume every year for the annual Super Bowl-sized Halloween party hosted by my neighbors, the Tresslers. Halloween is John Tressler’s favorite holiday. While the party inside was a hit, the decorations outside of the Smithsonian’s Tressler house were worthy.
On Halloween afternoon, John took his extension ladder outside and got to work. He hung skeletons on trees. He dangled huge furry spiders from wire nets that stretched between sturdy maples and his porch. He let Dracula sneak across the roof. He positioned ghosts peeking out the windows. In the courtyard, he strategically placed the pumpkins in a beautiful setting. Then he put on little lights to make the jack-o’-lantern eyes go on and off.
I loved watching Tressler perfect his artistry. I also enjoyed the Tressler parties. They were gushing with costumed friends, food, and fun, but I feared the costume required.
For a year I put on a pale green nightgown, made a crown and torch out of tin foil, and went as a Statue of Liberty. Another year I slipped into blue jeans, rolled up the sleeves of a white T-shirt, put on a headband, and went out as Bruce Springsteen.