Journal entry: October 31, 1973 (age 4) – Halloween Costume Accords
As I admired my new Halloween costume in the mirror, I said, “Ri ruv Ralloreen.” To play Scooby-Doo, you have to match his speech impediment. (Calling it that seems unfair, though. If he’s the only dog in the world who can talk, should a few extra r’s be considered an impediment? Ri ron’t rink ro.)
For weeks, I’ve been trying to talk my 5-year-old brother, Dan, into dressing as Scooby’s human pal, Shaggy. The costume would be easy: bell-bottom pants, an ugly green smock and a goatee. Dan has two of those three things in abundance.
But for some stupid reason, Dan wanted to be Batman, and has lobbied equally hard for me to be Robin. I held firm to my conviction that being a talking dog was way cooler than being a guy in tights called “the Boy Wonder.” Robin doesn’t even have any superpowers. Shouldn’t he be really, really good at…nesting or something? His main talent seems to be creating synonyms and yelling them out between the words “holy” and “Batman.” If he sees a table, he yells “Holy cereal-stabilizing device, Batman!” If he sees Catwoman, he yells “Holy late-career comeback for the always vivacious Eartha Kitt, Batman!” I think Batman wishes the kid who ended up being Aqualad had interviewed better.
Casey Kasem does the cartoon voices of both Shaggy and Robin – a fact I exploited in my efforts to get Dan to compromise. “Maybe we could pretend Batman loaned Shaggy his Shark Repellent Bat-Spray to carry in his ‘utility smock,’” I offered. “Or maybe you could dress as Shaggy, but really be a supervillain who disguises himself as Shaggy so he can operate rides at the carnival while he figures out how to rob museums!”
With the matter unresolved, the ownerless dog and the sidekick-less leader joined forces tonight to go trick-or-treating. I almost didn’t get to go. As I was getting into costume, my mom and I had a heated argument about adding a knitted winter hat to my costume. “It’s 40 degrees out, Timmy, and you are not going to get sick,” she said. “But, Mom,” I replied, “the hat covers up the ears on my mask, so no one will know who I’m supposed to be!” I went on to make the argument that altering the Halloween costume’s function also altered its form, thereby debasing the organic integrity of the piece. She didn’t buy that, so I started screaming. That didn’t work, either. Faced with the possibility of a protracted Sweet Tart famine, I swallowed my artistic convictions and put on the stupid hat.
As twilight settled over Vine Street, we ventured out into the candy-filled world. We walked from house to house under the sorta-watchful eye of our 12-year-old brother, Bob, who said he was too old for dressing up. I forced myself not to join Dan in laughing at him when a neighbor answered her door, saw Bob’s street clothes, and told him he was “a really good hobo.” As we walked away from the house, Bob punched Dan right in the utility belt. Then he grabbed the hat from my head, threw it in my trick-or-treat bag, and said “Happy Halloween, ya little puke.” “Ranks, Rob!,” I yelled, and decided that I wouldn’t tell on him later when he raided my candy.