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The Column

Happy Halloween From Happy Valley
11/2/03

When I realized my Halloween costume would upset many people, I thought, "maybe I shouldn't wear this." When I realized I would never see those people again, I thought, "I am definitely going to wear this."

The inspiration for my costume first hit me when I was writing a column on Halloween a few years ago. Sarcastically, I wrote, "One Halloween I wore cat ears, angel wings, and carried a pitch fork, and went as every freaking girl on my campus." That quote made it into my book, and lately I've been reading that excerpt at shows. So it made sense that this year, I'd actually follow through.

What made the night much more fun was that en route from West Virginia to Albany, we took in Halloween at Penn State. If you've never been to a campus like Penn State for Halloween, go. Go now. Forget the fact that Halloween is 51 and a half weeks from now. Go now to make sure you don't miss it.

We had to wait on line at a costume store to pick up the cat ears and angel wings. (If you go now, hey, no line). Luckily, the ears came with a tail and a fuzzy bowtie--yes, bowtie--just in case the ears were not enough to give the cat thing away. We then returned to my friend's suite where her roommates were able to provide a pitchfork and a halo. I bet if we knocked on enough doors, we could have gotten the wings and ears free, too.

I assembled my costume, but not before designing the centerpiece myself. Rather than keep explaining the costume, I wore a white t-shirt with big black letters that said, "every freakin' girl on campus." It being the last day of October in Pennsylvania, the logistics of wearing a t-shirt as part of my costume should have been difficult. But it was miraculously in the high 60s outside. It was official - God thought this was funny, too.

Let's go over the numbers. Halloween at Penn State is a party with a mile diameter. Okay, I exaggerate. It's only three quarters of a mile. 90% of the town is dressed up, and 100% of those people are drunk. And of the girls I ran into, I'd say two thirds of them were dressed as one of the three costumes I was mocking.

I saw some great costumes. One guy went as Sam Adams. One guy wore a pirate costume and CDs, and went as Napster. And one guy was Jared from Subway, complete with an empty pair of gigantic pants stapled to his arm.

As for the girls, there were some great ones there, too. Charlie Chaplain, the St. Pauley Girl (she came with Sam Adams), and someone wearing a garbage bag halter-top. See, she was white trash.

But then came the angels, devils, and bowtie-clad kittens. They were everywhere. And most of them had no sense of humor. I discovered this directly after they read my shirt.

At the first party, all the guys and the girls not in those costumes thought mine was pretty funny. Even a devil really liked it. So when two angels (who came together) asked me what kind of angel has cat ears, I confidently showed them my shirt. One of them turned around and walked away. The other said, "so you think you're funny?"

"Actually," I said. "I'm a standup comic."

I'd have offered her my card for proof, but she stormed off before I got the chance.

At the next party, I got some more good reactions from the well-costumed girls, as well as the guys. One of them even said, "dude, you're my hero." That may be because I opened a beer with my teeth, but he also liked the costume. With my confidence back up, along with my blood alcohol level, I decided to show my shirt to another angel. Surprisingly, she loved it, and ran to get the friend that she came with. Who was, of course, dressed like an angel. The second angel didn't like it quite as much as the first.

"So you think you're funny?"

Yes, yes I do. But not as funny as someone who is so devoid of self-awareness that they can't laugh at being called out for choosing a costume that took 5 dollars, 5 minutes, and 5 other people in your hall to wear it first. If a girl had worn a t-shirt that said, "sarcastic guy who uses humor as a defense mechanism," I'd have found it hysterical.

At the third party, there were more angels, and devils, and cats, and nurses, and 80s people, and hoods, and cowgirls, and pirates, and other people I didn't show my shirt to. I had made my statement already (see paragraph, second) and didn't really want to offend any more people. Okay, so I did, but I simply ran out of people to offend. Maybe next year, I'll just be the St. Pauley Girl.

Who am I kidding? I'm totally doing this again.

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