Memories of butts a-glow

NOTE: This post was inspired by a response to an email I sent my mother. Amused by a site shown to me, I told my mother that our dog should be a Beedog this Halloween. Her response was simple and direct: an attached photograph with a caption reading “Beemeg.”

As Halloween approaches, I’ve begun to survey my students about what types of costumes they will don for that special night. Forty-three students later, I am convinced that, for the most part, neither parents nor children have any imagination whatsoever. Most told me that they would be “going shopping” to “find” their costumes over the next few days, most of which would probably consist of a plastic mask to transform them into their favorite cartoon character. The result of that sort of costuming is about twenty children who all want to be Shrek. Naturally, I was quite taken aback. When I was their age, we would never dream of shopping for a costume; rather, we would design our own! Once I was old enough to choose for myself, I remember spending months before Halloween deciding on my costume, planning each detail carefully and then giving the blueprints to my mother to sew and construct. Of course, none of my costumes could hold a candle to those designed by my mother.

The firefly costume was one of my mother’s more brilliant creations. It was so spectacular that both my brother (pictured, right) and I wanted one. The best part was the working, glowing butt. If you look closely, you may be able to see a yellow protrusion extending from our posteriors. Hidden beneath several layers of tissue paper was a carefully re-bent wire hanger fashioned into an open “cage” with hanging attachments that draped over our shoulders. In the center of this exoskeleton was a holster, also fashioned from wire hangers, in which was carried a regular, D-sized-battery-powered flashlight. When the flashlight was turned on, our butts shone with a yellow glow that would spark jealousy in any ordinary firefly.

The costume was not only stylish, but functional, as well, which made my mother’s creation even more of a stroke of genius. With her children layered in black sweatshirts, sweatpants and winter hats, they wouldn’t get too cold. The yellow on their chests and reflective antennae made them visible to passing vehicles. And with those butts a-glow, she could watch their movements around the neighborhood from the comfort of home.

Although we wore those costumes about twenty years ago, I can almost feel the sensations of being a firefly for a night. The sweats and the hat were literally sweaty, the headband for the antennae was too tight, the paint on my face itched like mad and the glowing cage weighed me down like a ton of bricks. (Keep in mind that while that cage was only about the size of an average bathroom sink, I was only about five years old, so it was quite formidable.) As uncomfortable as we were, though, it didn’t matter, because we were fireflies, and we had the best costumes in the world that night, all because of our glowing butts.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: On Halloween costumes « Melodic Insomniac
  2. that girl
    Oct 05, 2008 @ 17:26:06

    How great! I love the costumes. 🙂

    I never enjoyed Halloween myself because I never had a good costume. Now I dress my dog up instead. haha.


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