Costumes of Halloween Past

Around Christmas, many people enjoy sitting around with their families, fondly reminiscing about joyful Christmas memories.

Similarly, I do the same thing on Halloween. I enjoy sitting around with my family (I mean, by myself), fondly reminiscing about joyful Halloween costumes.

And I thought this year, I would share.


2006: My first college Halloween. My roommate Alyssa and I decided to dress up as rock stars. Because college was teaching us to think outside the box. I, on the right, was Ashlee Simpson (the brunette, post-nose job version, of course). I can’t remember (or tell) who Alyssa was. I also can’t remember why we were posing with a poster of Pirates of the Caribbean.

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2007: I said farewell to my female emo pop star days, and hello to “Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam.” At this point in my life, my obsession with The Office was palpable, so it just seemed obvious to dress up as one of the characters. Especially the one that looked exactly like me.

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2008: This was the year after Juno came out and, like any teenage/early-20’s girl, I was a huge fan. So much that I simply had to figure out how to make it look like my eggo was preggo and walk around like a hormonal, sarcastic 16-year-old. Honest to blog it wasn’t so hard.

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2010: My job at the local Australian steakhouse (Outback) permitted us to dress up on Halloween. While most of the other female servers used this opportunity to show off what they normally had to cover with frumpy uniforms (a few girls even got sent home to change, as I recall) I used this opportunity to show off my love for kid game shows from the ’90s.

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2011: My first and only Halloween living in Australia. Generally, I try to get pretty creative with my Halloween costumes. But as you can see, this year I made an exception. Perhaps I was afraid no one would get my pop culture references. Perhaps I didn’t know what was culturally normal. Perhaps I was just lazy. But for this costume, I found a cheap pair of cat ears and paired them with every piece of black clothing I had brought with me. It appears that everyone else had the same mind set. Better luck next time.

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2012: It’s a-me! (Sorry). My BFF and I wanted to dress up in complementary costumes this year, so naturally we landed on Mario and Peach. What I learned: World of Mirth has great clip-on mustaches, and overalls are great for concealing a flask.

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2014: This was the year of my gloriously broken foot. And since I couldn’t remove the boot from my costume, I decided to let it influence my costume instead. Which is how I ended up as Tiny Tim. Disclosure: I am wearing pants.

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2016: Due to a haircut a few months prior, which came out very mom-esque, I could only think of one way to spend my Halloween last year: in a turtleneck/cardigan combo passing out freshly baked cookies while making sure everyone made it home safely.

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And let’s not forget this year, where I simply couldn’t decide which homemade costume to use.


And now: the opening of the Trick-or-Treat files.

1992: Was I a princess? Was I a ghost? Was I a bride? Did my parents just use Halloween as an excuse to put me in the dressy clothes that I never wore otherwise and would soon outgrow? Whatever I was, I’m sure I was unhappy about not looking as cool as my brother the skeleton, and my other brother the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Also you can tell I was totally cheating at that game.

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1993: No, not a cow. I was obviously dressed up as Perdita from 101 Dalmatians. And too busy thinking about something else (candy) to notice there was a picture being taken.

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1994: If you really think about it, those Lion King costumes are pretty dumb. The character’s mouth was designed to fit over the wearers head, making it appear that the lion cub is eating the child. But you can tell from my expression that I thought I looked cool as hell. Because frankly, I did.

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1995: If you’re here to make fun of my makeup, you can keep those comments to yourself and move along. I killed it this year with my costume, tiara and all. I don’t remember much about this Halloween, but I do remember staring at myself in the mirror for a long time. I was just so darn shiny.

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Driving in the Snow

The biggest running joke in Richmond is the fact that no one knows how to drive in the snow.

Well, actually the biggest running joke in Richmond is that there are too many grocery stores.

But the second biggest running joke is that no one knows how to drive in the snow. The minute the weather channel so much as mentions the possibility of snow, people suddenly forget how to maneuver a car; there are dozens of unnecessary fender benders, vehicles stopped in the middle of the road, and utter confusion as to what these red, yellow and green lights mean.

And ha, ha, I love pointing and laughing and making fun of locals for being bad at driving in the snow just as much as the next guy.

But here’s the thing: I’m terrified of driving in the snow. I’m that person that everyone hates for driving so slowly, and for braking where there’s not a stop sign, and for putting on my emergency flashers even when the snow isn’t sticking to the road.

But here’s the other thing: I don’t drive in the snow. Because it gives me extreme anxiety, and also because I’m not good at it and I don’t want to cause unnecessary accidents. But mostly because it gives me extreme anxiety. I’ll cancel any sort of plans or commitments that require me to drive in the snow, and if I can’t, I’ll walk.

So I say I’m one of those snow-drivers that everyone hates, but no one will ever know because they’ll never witness it.

Anyway, as you all know from the bare bread shelves among the hundreds of local grocery stores, Richmond just had a “severe” snowstorm, and you’re thinking this story is going to be about how I had to drive in it and the horrors that that entailed.

It’s not at all. This story is actually about how I almost died in West Virginia.

I did. I almost died in West Virginia.

Last Thursday, my roommate Kathleen and I took her car and set out for a weekend ski trip at Canaan Valley, West Virginia on a Thursday at noon. A four-hour trip seemed like a breeze, even with the looming snow forecast that evening. With Waze set and a phone full of podcasts, we left, plenty of time to spare before the snow began.

Not that that even mattered because frankly the only snow we were concerned about was the kind we would be skiing on over the weekend.

One stop for Sheetz sandwiches and another stop for Starbucks coffee later, we made it halfway to our destination. Kathleen drove, and I sat as navigator. We got through Harrisonburg, jumped off the highway, and, based on the GPS, we were looking at back roads for the remaining two hours. Par for the course, right? That’s the price you pay for skiing in the mountains. Totally, no big deal.

But then those back roads became really narrow.

And then we both lost service on our phones.

And then those narrow roads became curvy as well. And the wind started blowing. And the sky got darker.

And that’s when it began…

The snow, I mean.

But I also mean the terror.

It wasn’t so bad watching the snow fall for an hour or so. But then the temperature plummeted. And the snow started sticking. And our phones continued not to work. And we didn’t know where we were. And suddenly I regretted ever watching a horror movie in my life because this was exactly how they all began.

Enter that extreme anxiety I mentioned earlier.

It took us about 45 minutes to realize that the directions we were following from Google maps were completely wrong, and we had missed a crucial turn a long time ago.

Which was completely fine, because we were surrounded by busy streets and bustling city centers with plenty of people who could help us out.

No, we were surrounded by snow-covered trees and isolation.

We did remember seeing a dimly-lit lodge a few miles back, so we yanked a U-turn, drove back, and pulled into the parking lot. They had just closed for the night, but there were people inside; so we desperately banged on the glass doors like any well-mannered girls would. A woman opened the door.

“Hello, we’re trying to get to Canaan Valley Resort?” Hoping she’d tell us we were just a few miles away. Or, by some miracle, already there.

It’s never a comforting feeling when someone looks out at the cascade of snow, then cautiously asks what kind of car you’re driving. Then looks at you like she might be the last one to ever see you again.

But, with a lot of backtracking and many more miles to go, she did tell us how to get there.

“If…you can make it,” she said as we walked away.

No, she didn’t say that, but I’m SURE SHE WAS THINKING IT.

So, we got back on the road, with snow rapidly wedging itself between our tires and the road.

We continued up and into the mountain, with the roads getting narrower and steeper, and the snow getting slicker.

At this point, I just want to share all of the thoughts I had in my head, thoughts I thought would never get out into the world because I figured they would be trapped at the bottom of the ice-covered mountain inside my lifeless body within the hour:

  • I’m never getting into a car again if I survive this.
  • I still have never seen the movie “Goodfellas”
  • Do UFOs really exist?
  • I wish I at least had fulfilled my dream of winning a car on the Price is Right.
  • Even though I would never drive it!
  • I hope no one finds those dirty magazines under my bed.
  • By dirty magazines, I mean weed.
  • Come on, no one has dirty magazines anymore.
  • But did Adnan kill Hae?
  • I really wish I had done that “IOU” thing for Christmas presents this year.
  • Did I leave my hair straightener turned on?
  • I’m simply dying to know who’s wearing whom at the Golden Globes.
  • Who is going to inherit all of my clothes?
  • Who is going to inherit the buy-nine-get-one-free Sheetz sandwich I’ve saved for so long?
  • At least I’m having a good hair day.

I know everyone is dying to know the outcome of whether or not I survived this.

An hour and a half of narrow roads, ice, heavy snow, fishtailing, cliff sides with no guardrails, white knuckles, and regretting all of my life decisions…we made it to Canaan Valley Resort.

One extremely large glass of wine later, we were able to laugh about it.

And even though I made it through this incident, I still will never have any interest in driving in the snow.

So if you’re ever traveling through snow-covered Richmond and you see my car stopped in the middle of an intersection, or driving slower than someone walking next to it, please forgive me.

Or, get into my car and drive it home for me because, I’m probably suffering from PTSD.

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We forgave the snow.

Why I have been so bad about blogging lately

…Two months, to be exact.

As an aspiring writer, novelist, and commitment-maker, I vowed to blog once a week. That happened maybe once. So then I changed my goal to a more realistic biweekly. That happened a couple of times. Now I’m setting my sights on an annual blog post, and so far it’s going well.

Before you think I’m a huge slacker, just know that I have reasons for being so inconsistent. And many of them are unrelated to the fact that I’ve prioritized HBOGo and happy hour. So for all both of you that have asked why I haven’t posted anything in awhile, here’s why.

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  • I’ve been trying to increase my coffee consumption, which takes a lot of time and dedication
  • I have a full time job, okay??
  • I decided to try my hand at math instead
  • I was busy holding this baby

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  • I was busy holding this avocado

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  • I’ve been making a list of things to blog about
  • I’ve been planning a trip to Cuba
  • I’ve been painting all of those murals around town
  • I finally watched this Star Wars thing
  • I was reading Chicken Soup for the Soul
  • I’ve been learning how to make latte art

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  • I was doing some spring cleaning
  • I’ve been working on my presidential campaign
  • I started and finished writing a novel
  • I was getting a bunch of tattoos

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  • I was busy celebrating my quarter birthday
  • I had to take out my recycling

 

But fear not everyone, the next annual post is just around the corner and will be here in 2017!