A History of Halloweens

I. I was Bambi for Halloween freshman year. Simple costume, elaborate face makeup gleaned from Halloween makeup tutorials that 18 year old boys still somehow found a way to sexualize. Sexy cartoon characters exist (hello Danny Phantom) but Bambi is not one of them. There’s a feminist analysis here about the infantilization of women but that’s the story I want to tell right now. 

We got drunk in my best friend’s dorm room at a neighboring college. For the life of me, I can’t remember what we drank. Only that it was enough to make me warm and giggly and content to lie on the rug of her floor rather than go to the gay bar. 

I let a stranger walk me home, he was a bassist at Berklee and we had the same glasses. In retrospect, this was one of the many times I should have been murdered in the Fens for my implicit trust in the universe. It was 3 am and our phones were dead so he wrote his phone number on a scrap torn from sheet music. I couldn’t find it the next morning, and I’m still not sure if it was a dream. 

II. The next year I painted my face like a Roy Lichenstein painting and drank wine at a Groupmuse – which is essentially a classical house party. Have I ever mentioned that I’m a really hip and cool person? 

The Groupmuse was held in a three story house in a corner of Jamaica Plains, it’s rooms emptied out in preparation of a move, and festooned with the entire Halloween section of Party City. We wandered from room to room, refilling our cups from the communal bottles of wine on various surfaces, getting tipsy and loose-limbed as the music swelled and filled the small spaces. 

Costumed musicians performed like Disney float characters – including a trio that played a rousing repertoire of Brazilian folk music. I sat cross legged a few feet away, eyes fixed on the violinist. He was not handsome – it wasn’t that kind of draw – but I know it feels to draw a bow across strings and I knew that what I felt then was on a different plane compared to what he felt. There are people that play adequately, with their fingers and their brain. And there are those that play with their bodies – every cell in their body contributing. Watching them – you almost forget to breathe because you want to be held captive in that same way. 

III. Another year, and I modeled my face after a painting from an Indian female artist. Halloween was my chance to be art. Macabre and glitter dusted, but always art. It was a party thrown by an on-campus group I had been a part of. I drank hot toddies the whole night – mint tea with vodka and danced to bachata in a kitchen lit only by fairy lights. I was home by 1 am and woke up early the next day, clean of makeup, but still glinting in the morning sun.

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