Costumes

Dearest Rachel –

There are so many things to say on this Halloween; so many memories to call up. It was a Halloween I am which I first sat with you in the cafeteria at breakfast, decked out as a denim clad mime, but unable to keep silent. Since I’d made up my face to be half white and half black, I tried to talk to you out of my black side of my face, but I couldn’t do it very well. I don’t think I made anywhere near the impression on you that morning as I already had previously I at BASIC; I doubt this redeemed me much in your eyes.

I remember our first Halloween together as a couple. Since we were living in a condominium (and we were by far the youngest people living there), we knew we wouldn’t get anybody trick-or-treating, so we decided to go door-to-door ourselves en route to a local nightclub (which has since gone from one identity to another as a series of restaurants) to dance the night away. I was dressed in a battered pith helmet, ripped khakis, and a bloody shirt, while you wore a catsuit we’d gotten from Fredrick’s of Hollywood, along with a pair of cat ears and a painted face. I would ring the door at various houses along the way, and rather than asking for candy (because I was a bit old to be doing that), I would ask who answered the door if they’d seen a certain wildcat in the area, at which point you would bound from the bushes and attempt to grab me, at which point either you would throw me on the yard or I would yelp and run away from you, to prevent myself from being mauled. I wonder how many people we freaked out that night. Meanwhile, I don’t remember what the dancing was like at The Big Kahuna, but I’m pretty sure we had a good time together.

I also remember our first Halloween with Daniel. Since we were still at the condominium, we went about the neighborhood dressed in biblical togs we’d borrowed from the church attic (which has since been removed as part of their renovation project). We went as the holy family – Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus – and rather than asking for candy, we were soliciting donations for UNICEF. I think we raised something like sixty dollars that night, but after sending the funds, we were bombarded with appeals for money and donations from UNICEF for years afterwards. I don’t know about you, but it kind of turned me off.

I wish I had photographs of those Halloweens to remember them by.

At least we have some pictures of all the costumes that you created (with Ellen’s assistance) for Daniel throughout his childhood. Most of the memorable ones had to be handmade, because the ideas he would come up with were so unusual and obscure that there was nothing available in stores that could even come close to what he was envisioning, even at that age:

Someday, I’ll talk a little bit more about each of those; I think I mentioned the tie fighter once before, but the others certainly have their stories behind them. I’ll need to get them at some point, but I figured I’d be talking today about the costumes that you wore.

To be sure, there are probably a whole lot of pictures of you in costume in your family photo albums from when you were growing up. But even after nine months, I haven’t the heart or the strength of character to go looking through those. Besides, I have so many pictures of you in costume already, and at the ages I remember you:

Now, not many of these were actually from Halloween (although the last one was from the previous Family Fest in 2019 – we actually went to a Wendy’s dressed like that afterwards, and scored ourselves some free Frosties); most of these were from one convention or another.

The one from the Doctor Who convention, in particular, is somewhat poignant: we’d found three others dressed as Osgood, the fangirl science adviser, and staged an Abbey Road-style tableau. Naturally, you were the one willing to pose barefoot like Paul McCartney. But we all know what that pose allegedly said about Paul. Only in your case, it came true.

I suppose that’s the closest thing I have to a spooky Halloween story about you and your costumes.

I think the costume that you treasured the most, though (aside from the scarf that you’d been knitting way back in college), were the bear pajamas from Serial Experiments Lain. The moment you saw that character padding around in those PJs, you pointed at the screen and said “I want one of those!” And after a lot of research, and a fair amount of hunting at various fabric stores, the three of us (you, me and Ellen) managed to put it together, complete with bear slippers and a doll of ‘yourself.’ I think you wore it to at least three Anime Centrals, although you did remark on how warm it kept you in the middle of May, which was not necessarily a good thing.

I’m afraid we’ve gotten rid of most of Daniel’s costumes, as the basement and attic suffered the occasional animal attack over the intervening decades. But your convention costumes are still boxed away and preserved. I don’t know what else to do with them. I offered your Lain pajamas to Erin, but she turned them down, despite finding it so cute. She knew what they meant to me, and at this point, I’m grateful that she refused the offer. But it pains me that these will go unused ever after.

I wish you were still here, honey. There was so much left to do.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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