I've never been a big fan of adults dressing up for Halloween. It's like they're stealing the kids' thunder. You're grown up; you had your chance. One of the secrets of happiness in life is to know where you are in life and act accordingly. If everybody followed this plan, we wouldn't have 15-year-olds trying to find they baby daddy, and neither would we have guys in their early 40s driving around in convertibles, wearing gold chains with open shirts. (I used to call them Disco Dentists.)
However, if an adult dresses up with a purpose (i.e., making the time more festive for the kids), that's cool. I'm now adding a corollary to that: If you do it just to piss off somebody who needs pissing off, that's OK, too. I added that, because I was thinking of dressing up as Al Gore and going over to George Will's house with a replica of the Nobel Peace Prize in my hands.
Isn't it hilarious to watch the right's uproar over Gore's prize? You'd think someone had stolen an election from them. George Will is the worst. He had a column in Newsweek in which he railed against Gore and the Nobel committee. He quoted from a book entitled Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming. This book is like Freakonomics; it has a handful of "gee whiz" and "yeah, huh?!" moments, but is mostly full of crap.
First off, it's written by an economist, which makes it 84.3 percent likely that it's full of crap. You know how in Bring It On when Sparky Polastri says that "cheerleaders are dancers who have gone retarded?" Economists are bankers who didn't do well in math or science.
It shows the depth of Will's desperation that he would quote an economist on the question of global warming. (It should be noted that the author of the book, Danish economist Bjørn Lomborg, says that while global warming is real, it's not likely to be catastrophic. That's the new fallback position for those on the right who have ridiculed the notion of global warming for the past couple of decades: OK, it's real, but it's not that real. About the only person who hasn't gotten the message is nobody's favorite talk-show host, Sean Hannity, who continues to trot out a quote from somebody back in the 1970s who warned against global cooling as his rationale to ignore the mountain of evidence in front of us all.)
Anyway, Will--who will forever remind me of what Mr. Peabody's boy companion, Sherman, would have looked like had Jay Ward allowed him to age--is in a tizzy over Gore's prize. It may not be the greatest selection of all time, but as long as Henry Kissinger still has one for "negotiating" a five-minute timeout with Vietnam so we could get our helicopters onto the embassy roof while Nixon spouted "peace with honor," Gore's prize won't be the worst, either.
On the subject of Halloween, here's a trick you can play on people who don't read this column: When I was in high school, a bunch of us got together and decided to dress up for Halloween the next day. When this one guy left, we changed the plan, so the next day, we all showed up dressed as normal, and he showed up dressed as a pirate. He wasn't pleased.
What makes it great is that the next year, the same group of guys made the same pledge. Not wanting to be fooled twice, he showed up dressed normally, and we all wore costumes. There's nothing like squeezing two gotchas out of the same gag.
I had a friend in college once who had a big, giant beard. For Halloween, I told him he should spray his beard with Right Guard and go as an armpit.
My wife used to make the most inventive costumes for our kids. One year, she got a cardboard box that fit over my son's head. She cut out a rectangular area in front and covered it in gauze, then placed a glow stick inside the box so it looked like a monitor. She even attached a perfect replica of a keyboard to the bottom edge of the box. Then we gave him a plastic ax and sent him out as a computer hacker.
Nowadays, my son just goes as Alex DeLarge, which elicits an endless chorus of "Yeah, you're that guy ..."
And remember, in those immortal words, written by Tina Fey and spoken in a voiceover by Lindsay Lohan (back when she had a career and some dignity): "In the regular world, Halloween is when children dress up and beg for candy. In girl world, it's the one night a year that a girl can dress like a total slut, and no other girls can say anything about it. The hard-core girls just wear some kind of lingerie and some type of animal ears."
I suppose that applies to guys, too. I just hope they don't knock on my door.