I wrote the following as a Halloween memory for my ward's writing group. I figured it's an applicable flashback for the Friday before Halloween. It's a bit long, but if you make it through, I hope you enjoy!
In an uncharacteristic moment of boldness, I once dressed up in my Halloween costume for school. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. I must have been motivated by extra credit or succumbed to peer pressure, I’m not sure which. But, either way, I decided to dress up. . . I just didn’t know as what.
I was in seventh grade. The only year I was at school without a sibling. That may have been part of my motivation too. Seventh grade was the year for me to make a name for myself before I was once again known as, “Scott’s sister,” or “Layne’s sister.”
So, Halloween morning, after teaching early morning seminary, and in the midst of making breakfast and also getting my four brother’s ready for school, my mom helped me put my costume together.
I decided to be Pippi Longstocking, another decision I can’t account for. She wasn’t exactly in the mainstream of popular characters in 1992, but I guess for that reason I figured I could pull it off. I wore a red dress with small white polka-dots. It was an old choir dress that one of my aunts gave me for dress-up clothes. I had dressed-up in it for years, but finally grew into it a little bit. I paired the dress with a white pinafore apron from my mom’s youth as a dancer in a church youth dance group. Along with the dress, I borrowed a pair of my dad’s light brown argyle socks that I wore with one pulled up and the other pushed down around my ankle. I squeezed my feet into some old Ked’s tennis shoes, my white one, and my mom’s too-small for me red one. To finish off the costume, my mom used her eyeliner to dot freckles across my cheeks and nose. Then we moved onto my hair. It was long and blonde, which didn’t represent Pippi’s bright red locks very well, but we did our best. My mom cut off the hook part of an old wire hanger, straightened out the hanger, and expertly strung it through my hair so that it was well disguised on my head. She then proceeded to braid my hair along the outstretched ends of the hanger, securing it occasionally with a bow of red yarn. Somehow, with all of her finagling, she was able to arrange my hair so that the braids were sticking out on either side of my head. I’m convinced it was a moment of engineering genius.
Once I was all dressed up, I threw on my backpack and headed to the bus stop. Yes, as a matter of fact, I did ride the bus. Not only did I ride the bus, but I rode a bus in which I was assigned to the second to last seat at the back of the bus, with two other students. When the bus arrived, I had to turn sideways in order to get my hair through the door. I then had to continue walking sideways down the aisle, so I didn’t accidentally poke anyone. I made my way to my seat, which was already occupied by my two fellow bench mates. We decided that I would sit in the middle and lean forward, suspending my braids out in front of my classmates, but keeping them away from the window and the aisle. It was a bit of an uncomfortable ride.
At school, I turned a few heads and received a lot of comments. My teachers complimented or laughed at my costume, and my hair marveled many of my classmates. I required kind of a large berth, so I walked pretty freely through the hallways. I just ran into a problem at my locker. Those next to me either couldn’t reach their lockers while I was at mine, or they had to dive and maneuver around me. I remember having to apologize a lot that day. At one point during the day I was coaxed into having my picture taken for the costume contest. I reluctantly agreed, and found my likeness posted on the board with fellow dressed-up classmates, vying for the title of best costume.
I managed through the day in my ridiculous outfit, occasionally longing for my usual position as resident wall flower. Near the end of seventh period they announced the winners of the costume contest. I sat in my class and listened to the voice coming over the intercom until I heard, “for seventh grade, Lesa, dressed as Pippi Longstocking.” My classmates cheered and applauded, and I sat in wonder. The winners for each grade were instructed to report to the office to claim their award. I made my way down to the office, where I picked out one of those pens that has multiple inks housed in one big pen case; the kind where you choose your ink by sliding a button at the top of the pen that corresponds with the applicable color. I then had to pose for one more picture that ultimately made its way into the year book that year, thus memorializing my moment out of character.
After a long day and another long bus ride, I made it home completely intact, hair and all. I stayed in my costume and went trick-or-treating that night.
It was a fun day, but I never wore a Halloween costume to school again. IN fact, I don’t think I ever dressed up on Halloween again until college. I guess it just took me that long to get over the embarrassment of all the attention I drew to myself that day.