Halloween 2021 (part 1)

Halloween (or, as Miss Jensen in 7th grade English always told us to spell it, Hallowe’en) was pretty fun growing up. We’d all get costumes on (can anyone guess what my go-to costume was as a kid lol?) and go trick or treating – we lived in a neighborhood with enough kids to make it possible to go door to door. Then, when me, Turner and Gardner got to be around 12, we used Halloween as an excuse to misbehave some. We never did anything too bad, but let’s just say we got very creative with TP. The funniest was the year we did each others’ houses thinking it would be a great joke on the others. Only we all did it, so all three of our houses got TPd. We thought it was hilarious…although our parents didn’t exactly agree and we spent November 1st cleaning up the messes we’d made. That was kinda fun too, actually, since we did the cleaning up together and spending an afternoon with your buddies climbing up on a ladder and clearing away toilet paper isn’t such a terrible punishment.

I already told you that me and Monica became a thing after a Halloween party, but I’d rather not remember too much of that. Probably the best Halloween I ever spent as an adult was the year Joyce made me my own haunted house. That really was awesome, and I doubt it’s gonna get topped by any Halloween anytime soon.

Still, this year I had plenty of fun on Halloween. This was the first year I’ve had kids to take care of on the holiday, and it turned out to be a something of a blast, even if we weren’t just having Halloween, me and the boys…we were having Halloween for the TV cameras. (Yes, we’re off hiatus as of last week.) So we went trick or treating with Ethan and a cameraman, while another cameraman stayed home and got footage of Maya and Robert going to the door and handing out candy to the kids who came by.

Ok…I can be honest here and tell y’all that the kids that came by the house were all planned. Ethan and Sandy went around the neighborhood last week to find out which kids would be dressing up and if they’d be interested in coming to the door and getting filmed. They passed out the release forms as well, although some parents didn’t want their kids filmed from the front and arrangements had to be made for taking their pictures from the back. I don’t think that bothered Ethan too much: let’s face it, what they wanted for the show were shots of Maya and Robert handing out candy. We’re not making a show to promote the neighborhood kids lol.

So that took care of Maya and Robert’s end of the operation. Mine was a little more complicated, since we wanted to capture Jacob and Matteo having what looked like a super fun Halloween. I was also interested in making sure that it really would be a super fun Halloween for them and that they wouldn’t just be going through the paces for the cameras.

We needed to work out a place they could go and be filmed, and, not to my surprise, our San Marino neighbors didn’t like the idea of a whole film crew showing up to film them handing out candy. I suggested that the boys still go trick or treating around the neighborhood without the cameras.

“Yeah, Hunter,” Robert said when we were having a meeting the first week in October to plan the Halloween show, “but we need film of them trick or treating.”

“Is there someplace you know where they could go and be filmed? People who wouldn’t mind signing releases and being on television?,” Maya asked.

“I think I have an idea,” I said. “Keaton lives in a fourplex…his new neighbor is a buddy of ours and I know the manager since I used to live there. I know the fourth neighbor, too…it’s a single mother living with her mother and her daughter. They’ll probably get into it. Let me call Keaton and see what he can set up.”

“Good news, bubba,” Keaton said when he called me later that night.

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. Travis and Juan Diego are down for your plan. Lucinda said yes on behalf of the Ramriez’ too. Turns out she’s a huge fan of that gayass show you’re on. Her only condition is that she get a kiss from the pool boy.”

“I reckon that can be arranged.”

“On camera. So all her friends will believe it happened.”

“Sure,” I said. “I just hope she’s ready for my costume.”

“You’re wearing a costume?,” he asked. “How gayass is it gonna be?”

“Pretty gayass,” I said.

“What is it?”

“Better you not find out until Halloween,” I said. “I don’t want you talking me out of it.”

“That bad?”

“You’re gonna think so,” I said.

Ok, y’all are probably gonna think so too, probably. But it seemed like a good idea when Matteo suggested it, and everyone started running with it before I could stop them.

There was gonna be a ‘Costume Meeting’ the week after the meeting I just told y’all about. It was supposed to be just me, Maya, Robert, Ethan and Jean-François to discuss the boys’ costumes, but then I said that the boys deserved to be there, too. A kid should be allowed to pick his own costume for Halloween, even if he’s gonna be on TV wearing it. I know that the show drifts away from reality pretty often – and it was drifting pretty far with all the set-up trick or treating – but I thought that it would be going a little too far for the grown-ups to pick the boys’ costumes.

So we had the meeting at the kitchen table. Both of the boys made up lists of the costumes they wanted to wear, and the idea was that we’d all decide – together – what they were going to go as this year.

There was a long discussion about whether they boys’ costumes should have something to do with each other, or whether that would be too cute for boys their age. Robert suggested they go as Buzz and Woody – the boys are both Toy Story fans – but Maya nixed the idea as being too young. I think Maya was right about that. All Jacob’s other ideas were getting dressed up in sports uniforms. Baseball was his first choice, but they tried to talk him into football, because it would look more costumey…the audience sees him in baseball pants all the time. He said it would be retarded to get dressed up for a sport he didn’t play (although he’s got plans to try out for it when he gets to middle school), so he’s going as a Dodger. He’s wearing his Clayton Kershaw jersey along with the rest of a white baseball uniform. He’s even insisting on wearing spikes, although he’s not going to be walking on too much grass. (Someone – I think it was Jean-François – suggested getting Jacob a fake beard, but then we decided it would look kinda creepy on a 12 year old.)

As for Matteo, he wanted to be a little more creative and not wear something he already had, so we all finally settled on Harry Potter. That’s pretty easy in a way: all he needs is a robe, and Maya said she could put her tailor (the same one who tailors my baseball pants to…I might as well be honest about it…show off my butt) in charge of that.

“I need glasses too,” Matteo said. “Black round ones.”

“I’ll have Sandy take care of that,” Maya answered.

“And what about his hair?,” I piped up. Matteo’s hair’s almost black and he’s got it cut very short. That’s not at all what Harry Potter’s hair is supposed to look like.

Everyone looked at me like I was nuts.

“The cowlick,” I said. (Yeah, I went through a huge Harry Potter phase when I was a kid, only mine was closer to when the books first came out.) “Harry Potter’s supposed to have a cowlick. All the books say so.” They were sloppy about it in the movies, and that’s always bothered me.

“We could get him a wig,” Maya said. “If it’ll make it look right.”

Matteo, I could tell, was liking the idea of a wig.

So they ordered one from some place in Beverly Hills. It’s a semi-secret, but Maya sometimes – only sometimes – wears a wig. Her hair’s not naturally straight, so, to get it to look as straight and like the Maya Bedrossian ‘look’, she either has to work hard with a blow dryer…or wear a wig if the blow dryer doesn’t work. So she has a wigmaker (I guess that’s what they’re called.) One of the good things about being a movie star, I’ve noticed with Maya, is always knowing the right person to call.

We were afraid Jacob would be jealous, since Matteo’s costume was being made and he was just wearing things out of his closet, but he didn’t seem to care. I even asked him afterwards, and, among the things he said was that he wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a wig lol. It’s funny what a difference a couple of years makes.

“What about Hunter?,” Matteo then asked.

“What do you mean what about Hunter?,” I asked back.

“What’s he gonna get dressed up as?,” Matteo clarified.

“Aren’t I just the driver?,” I asked, figuring that I’d stay in the SUV while the kids and the crew did their things.

“Of course you’re not just the driver,” Ethan said. “You’re a part of the show. People are going to want to see you as part of the Halloween special.”

“What kind of a costume can we get him that doesn’t have a shirt?,” Jean-François asked. I don’t usually want to punch people. That made me want to punch him. “He could just wear his pool boy outfit.”

“Do you realize it gets down into the 60s at night this time of year?,” I asked, pretty annoyed. “Maybe even the high 50s. And you want me running around shirtless and in board shorts?”

“What about Tarzan?,” Ethan suggested.

“Dude,” I said, “he wears a loincloth! That’s gonna be even colder.” I wanted to say something about freezing my ass off, but the boys were there.

“I was thinking one of those leopard things that…you know…cover some of your chest but leave your arms and legs bare.”

“Naah,” Jean-Francois said, “we need to see his abs.”

“Again,” I said, trying to be polite but not wanting to freeze to death, “think about the weather.”

“Maybe Hunter should go as something else,” Jacob said. “Something totally different that no one would expect him to be.”

“I know!,” Matteo blurted out. “A witch!”

“But you’re already a wizard,” I said.

“I didn’t say wizard,” he explained. “I said witch. Like in a pointy hat and everything.”

“Of course,” Jacob said. “Can we get him green makeup, Mom?”

“Johann would love that!,” Maya said. “He’s all excited about my Mistress of the Dark makeup. This would put him in seventh makeup heaven.”

“Isn’t Johann a she now?,” Jacob asked, correcting his mother.

Honestly, I don’t think any of us is sure what Johann/Johanna is. He’s a cool guy…he…she…but he changes gender like other people change underwear. Which is good, since he has a sense of humor about ‘his pronouns’ (which are sometimes her pronouns.) We’re always getting them wrong, but that’s hardly our fault…he (she…) changes them so often.

Meanwhile they were all looking at me expectantly.

“Are y’all saying I have to wear a dress?,” I asked.

“Well…of course, if you’re going to be a witch!,” Matteo said.

“At least you’ll get to wear a shirt,” said Robert.

“Yeah…but…I….”

“I think your female fans will think it’s hysterical that you got dressed up in drag…,” Ethan said.

“Do you have to call it that??”

“…that you got dressed up as a witch. And the guys who like you will really like it, too. It’ll be a huge hit with the viewers. We just have to do it right. Where can we get the costume?”

“There’s always Western…,” Maya suggested.

“You really think we’re gonna get a witch costume form Western right before Halloween?”

“And one that can fit my shoulders,” I said.

“Good point. Well,” Maya continued, “if Cassandra is going to make a Harry Potter robe, I guess she can make a witch costume for Hunter.”

So that’s how it got decided…pretty much without asking me. I have to admit that I wasn’t at all sure about it, but I also clearly wasn’t getting a choice in the matter.

They also move fast around the Sharpmans. The next day, Cassandra arrived to measure me for, well, let’s face it…for my dress. She was very excited about making a witch costume. She was going to pull out all the stops, I could tell.

“The only problem is that, with those shoulders of yours, you’re never going to look like a woman. Oh well,” she said with a sigh, “we’ll just say you’re an 80s witch.”

I didn’t get it.

“That’s when shoulder pads were big on women’s clothes,” she explained. Then she asked me a whole bunch of questions about how I wanted the dress to look, but I really didn’t know how to answer them. I realized I was just going to have to be surprised when the dress showed up. Part of me thought that it would be a cool idea in its crazy way, and part of me was resisting the idea of wearing a dress.

I told Joyce about my Halloween costume plans that night, when I was over at her place.

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