Friday, October 31, 2008
That's No Casper
My mother, an imaginative sort who loves to sew, created wildly elaborate Halloween costumes every year of my childhood, nothing was ever simple. One year I asked to be a ghost. A ghost like Charlie Brown was a ghost, a ghost like my best friend Stephanie was going to be; I envied, like mad, the Casper outfit her mother bought at the Katz drugstore. I loved the smiley Casper face, the crispy plastic mask and the 100% polyester sheath that tied in the back, that is what I wanted. My mother heard ghost and dashed off to buy felt, plenty of white felt. She worked for days, sewing like mad, whipping up what I was assured would be the most amazing ghost costume Kansas City had ever seen.
On Halloween morning I dressed for school and my mother brougth forth The Costume. She slipped it over my head, my small eyes peeking out from the two round holes she created in the front. She and my father stepped back, looked at me, and looked at each other. My father said, "she can't go to school like that". My mother threw her head back and laughed, "she's fine, you're so paranoid, really" and trotted off to sew something. I assumed they were discussing how well I could see from beneath my super ghost outfit.
That afternoon my father recieved a call from my school. My little elementary school in Prarie Village, Kansas, quite likely the most homogeneous and lilly white suburb in all of the country, was calling to confirm that I was simply a ghost and there were no racial undertones to my costume as that simply would not be tolerated.
The Costume was a floor length white column with a very tall and pointy top.
The next year we bought a really horrible Queen outfit at the drugstore. I hated the plastic mask, the polyester sheath and the fact that there were 6 other Queens in my class. Mom was back at the machine the following year, thankfully, although I was never again a ghost.