Probably my most memorable and best Halloween costume was Courtney Love, because it was part of a couples costume — Kurt and Courtney. My then-boyfriend repurposed the wig he’d worn two years earlier, when he’d dressed up, horribly, as Elliot Smith (horribly because that was the October that Elliot Smith died.) The Halloween party I wore this costume to was also my birthday party; I often used to celebrate my October birthday and Halloween simultaneously. The party was in a friend’s giant crumbly shared Williamsburg loft. At the time I didn’t realize I was Halloween-peaking. In fact, I remember feeling like I had done myself a disservice by choosing a costume that made me less attractive than usual. I had really committed to kinderwhore-era Courtney, not Oscars-dress/Celebrity Skin Courtney. So I had smeared makeup and fake bruises and a bad platinum wig with black roots. I spent the whole night feeling jealous of my most beautiful and glamorous friend, who had just come back from a year in Spain with some Spanish boy-toys in tow, and they were so thoroughly in her thrall that they had dressed as the Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow and Tin Man to her obviously very sexy Dorothy. In retrospect of course we were all so young and beautiful then. I just remembered that Lucy was dressed as Sexy Harriet Miers (allowing me to date this party definitively; it was 2005).
This year, like last year, I am not dressing up at all. The two years prior to that I think I did some token cat-ear thing; those were the Halloweens when Raffi was three months old and 15 months old. When he was three months old, I went to a party full of kids and babies and was stressed out the whole time because my baby was crying. He was probably hot in his costume, he might have preferred to be sleeping or eating and not at a party. We probably shouldn’t have bothered to go but we didn’t know that yet, we didn’t know anything. At this same party there was a woman with a baby the same age as Raffi who had dressed both herself and her baby in black swan/white swan costumes. Her baby was smiley and placid. That I can still remember this detail, of all the things from that period I can’t remember at all, is a testament to my amazing, preternatural ability to feel jealous of people whose parenting-row I perceive as easier to hoe than mine is.
Halloween is tomorrow, but I am already Halloweened out. Last Friday we weathered a carnival of “Spooky Fun” at Raffi’s school, which had the same chaotic, nerve-jangling vibe as the Pumpkin Festival I described in my last newsletter-complaint. Kids everywhere, sensory overload, long lines, tensions running high. Raffi, of course, loves Halloween. He wants to dress up and offer everyone candy. He has grandiose costume ambitions and no concrete plans for how they might be achieved. He is just like me, or more accurately, just like how I used to be. It’s always striking how much the aspects of me that were excised when he was born are more or less reborn in him. I hope Halloween lives up to his expectations, but he’s like me, so nothing ever will.