My parents weren’t fans of cheaply made Halloween costumes. I’d look at the pictures of Superman and beg to buy one of these costumes so I could look like that on Halloween. Instead, Mom would decorate me with varying household objects.
One year I was to be Humpty Dumpty. Mom pulled out a pair of Dad’s long-john underwear and grabbed some pillows. I stepped into them and she stuffed me until I bulged. I looked in the mirror and sneered. I wanted to be Superman, not a tick wearing thermal underwear. “You look good,” Mom said. “Everyone likes Humpty Dumpty.”
It was a chilly night, so Mom insisted that I put a cap on my head. “Humpty doesn’t wear a hat,” I protested.
“It’s cold, so you have to wear something on your head,” she said. I pouted. That didn’t work, so I cried. Mom sighed and went to the closet. She returned, pulled off my hat, and plopped a wig on my head.
“Humpty Dumpty doesn’t have hair,” I wailed.
“He did when he was your age,” she said. “Now get in the car if you want candy.”
My cousins were loaded in my aunt’s station wagon, and we piled in with them. None of them had store-bought costumes, but they were dressed like vampires. And they didn’t have hats on their heads.
Aunt Kae drove to a nearby neighborhood and we all piled out with our bags. I ‘accidentally’ dropped my wig in the backseat. “Get back here,” Mom said, and plopped the wig on my head. “You have to wear this or you’ll get a cold.”
I ran to catch up to my cousins and my pillow-stuffed long johns fell down. I pulled them up and ran onto a porch. “Trick or treat,” I said.
“Are you a fat rock-star,” the lady asked.
What? Do rock stars wear long underwear? “No, I’m Humpty Dumpty,” I said.
“Your hair looks like you’re trying to look like the Beatles.” I didn’t know who the beetles were, but I wasn’t pleased.
I ran off the porch and my pants fell down again. I pulled them up and ran toward my sister and cousins. I sprinted up the stairs of a house and felt my pants slipping again. I dropped the bag, pulled them up, and ran to the door.
“What’s with the Beatle’s hair?” the man holding a bowl of candy asked. “Are you Paul McCartney after retirement?”
“I’m Humpty Dumpty!” I snorted.
“I didn’t know he had hair,” the man chuckled, and then dropped a peanut shaped marshmallow into my bag.
Peanut marshmallows were the worse candies to get. “Mommy says he had hair when he was younger,” I said. The man laughed. I didn’t have time to debate the issue. Especially not with someone who gives marshmallow peanuts. The man laughed louder when Humpty’s belly and pants fell to the ground again. I pulled them up and ran toward the station wagon. “Mom! My pants won’t stay up,” I complained.
“You probably need to have them pulled up higher,” she said. Mom grabbed my waistband and pulled upward. I levitated off the ground. “There. That should be better.” I wasn’t sure a Humpty wedgie would do it, but I couldn’t slow down. There was candy to harvest.
Five strides later, my pants dropped again. A group of passing girls giggled. Actually, giggle might not be the most accurate word. They were bent over and wheezing. One of them said something about not being able to breathe. I turned back to the car. Mom wiped what looked like a smile off her face and tried to look serious. “Mom!” I whined.
“It’s okay, Eddie. Just hold your pants up with one hand.”
I pouted. I thought about having a meltdown, but then remembered that lost time was lost candy. I huffed in protest and trotted off to find my cousins. A few houses later, my pillow popped out. Mom stuffed it back in. I grumbled, but there was candy to get. I hit a few more houses and a man said, “What are you? An out of shape member of the Beatles?” I stomped my foot in anger, and the top pillow fell out of my shirt onto the porch. The man laughed and said something about rapid weight loss. I stuffed the pillow back into my shirt, and my pants fell down again. I pulled them up and tried to ignore the man’s rude cackling.
My bag of candy grew heavy, and I panted while trying to hold up my pants with one hand. A very tired hand. Half my pants hung down, and the pillow hung sideways through the gap. I staggered to the next house, hoping it wouldn’t drop out. It did. The man on the porch looked at me and said, “You better slow down on the candy. It looks like you passed a marshmallow.”
Another man on the porch said, “I wish I had hair like that. What are you supposed to be, Ringo Star?”
“I’m Humpty Dumpty,” I chuffed at him.
One man looked at the other. “Does Humpty Dumpty have hair?”
“I guess if he can poop a marshmallow, he can grow hair,” the other one said. They both laughed and then dropped a piece of candy into my bag.
I snatched up the pillow and staggered toward the car. I could only take tiny steps because Dad’s long johns were hanging around my ankles. “I don’t want to be Humpty Dumpty!” I shouted.
Mom put my pillows in the car, and then pinned my top long johns to the bottoms with a safety pin. Unfortunately, she only had two pins. It held my pants up, but I felt a breeze on my bottom for the rest of the night. No one called me a fat beetle from that point on. Instead they kept saying something about a homeless rock star.
Oh the price we kids had to pay in order to get a bag of candy!