Halloween was a complete nightmare for me. I had three parties lined up and the easiest costume in Halloween history. My girlfriend had ordered a Kate Gosselin wig and goofy big sunglasses for herself. I was going to wear jeans, a backward baseball cap, and an Ed Hardy shirt. I wouldn’t have minded paying $50 for a Hardy shirt, but I’d never wear it again. They look so trendy and goofy. I bought an imitation shirt for $15 and painted “Ed Farty — by Christina Aguilera.” I figured nobody would notice. And if they did and had the sense of humor of Beavis, I’d get a chuckle out of it. The best part of the costume? Being able to wear flip-flops.
The first party was dog-friendly, so we were bringing our maltese dressed in a black-and-white-striped costume — a “bad dog” prisoner. The hat made him look like one of those organ-grinder monkeys.
On the way to the party, the dog puked more than I thought was possible. It was like the girl in The Exorcist. When he finished fouling my lap and dashboard, he howled and moaned in pain. We exited off the I-5 in Carlsbad. I called a dog-loving friend, who told me there was a vet nearby. The visit cost us $500 for X-rays and blood tests, only to find out nothing was wrong.
We skipped the first party and dropped off the dog at my mom’s place.
The second party we went to was a disaster. A bunch of college kids in Oceanside had bought a few kegs, and because the party had started early, they were getting rowdy while trick-or-treaters were still coming to the door. I heard one of the partiers cursing at the kids who came to the door. I asked him why he was doing it, and he said, “I don’t know. They looked like older kids, and older kids shouldn’t go door to door begging for candy.”
I mentioned that little kids were coming to the door who were being subjected to inappropriate comments. The guy looked at me and said, “Are you the Halloween police or something? You’re almost more annoying than the real Jon Gosselin.”
We stayed another 20 minutes before leaving for our last party in Mira Mesa.
Laura and Paul had decorated their house nicely. A neighbor handing out candy saw us looking at our directions and said, “Laura’s party is at that house right there. I’m going to be going later. I’ll see you there.”
In the backyard, they had a skeleton in a FedEx uniform holding a package. I said, “This looks like a scene from the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away.”
I found out Paul works for FedEx. I couldn’t figure out his costume. Luckily, my girlfriend said, “He’s Edward, from Twilight.” There were a few women who had dressed as Twilight characters.
They had music playing, and I heard “Thriller” early on. (I figure that was the most popular song this Halloween.)
Laura rolled over on skates to greet us. She was a roller-derby gal, with the name Boob B. Crusher. Someone commented on the number 00 on her jersey, which was drawn to look like breasts.
Laura looked at me and said, “You should have some hair plugs.” As I started to defend my receding hairline, she said, “No, not because of that. Because Jon Gosselin has them. You could’ve used a Sharpie to make them on your forehead.”
Another person chimed in, saying, “Didn’t you see that person on the news? I think he was a burglar. He drew with a Sharpie all over his face, and now they’re saying it’s going to stay marked on his skin.”
One person added, “Can you imagine him going to prison with writing all over his face? His cellmate asks, ‘What are you in for? Messing up your face?’ Then he’d mess up his face even more.”
We then debated how long Sharpie ink stays on your skin.
A man in a penguin costume showed up. It reminded me of one of Elton John’s stage outfits. One of the two big dogs at the party, which had been shy most of the evening, charged the penguin man and barked up a storm. The penguin had to take the head off his costume to calm the mutt. His date got to go the easy route: she wore an Eskimo-style jacket.
An older retired couple that lives across the street came over. They were the perfect guests. The guy reads the Reader and asked me questions about some of the stories. His wife had brought a bunch of cupcakes on a huge stand. Everyone was talking about how she brings the best cupcakes to parties.
I asked her how the tradition got started, and she said, “When my kids were in school, I’d make them for parties and to take to class. And at holidays, it’s always easy to do. I sometimes make pies.”
I found out Paul was originally from Boston, and we talked a lot about the Patriots and the Red Sox. He ended up getting into another conversation with someone from back East. They talked about snow days that kept them out of school. Paul said, “You always liked when there were 18 days you missed, but you didn’t want it to get to 20. If it did, then they’d have you make up all the time during the summer.”
A beer-pong game began, and Laura kept claiming a guy named Brian was cheating. I told her I’d mention it in the story so the entire city knows he cheats.
Laura seemed to be getting tipsy, but it didn’t seem to affect her skating. An hour later, I heard her joking with someone in another area of the backyard. She had taken the roller skates off and was walking around in socks.
Paul’s brother was dressed up as Elvis. As someone commented on his huge sideburns, he took off the sunglasses to show they were attached.
I kept going back to talk to the couple from across the street. They’ve lived in Mira Mesa since the ’70s, and I grew up there in the ’70s and ’80s. We reminisced about the days when Mira Mesa Boulevard ended before it reached Sorrento Valley. In fact, there was no place commonly known as Sorrento Valley.
I told him I remembered playing cowboys and Indians and war games out in those canyons. We once found a broken arrowhead, but it wasn’t until construction crews started building everything out there that we really started looking. It seemed every few months they’d stop because of Indian artifacts found in the ground.
He told me he once found fossils that had barnacles on them. He brought them to class and impressed his teacher.
Even though I had some nachos, a few cupcakes, and lots of peanuts, it didn’t stop me from slipping a few pieces of Halloween candy into my pockets as I left.