Last Halloween, my first in NYC, was spent all by myself. As alone as one can be surrounded by thousands of strangers, I had no friends to go out with. Which is why I was even more excited than usual for Halloween this year.
My roommates and I plan to go down to the village, combine forces of all our individual friends, and have a great night of watching the Halloween Parade, drinking, not being sick, and dancing in the streets. I am pumped. Talking to my Trader Joe’s Crush about Halloween I learn he has no plans for the evening… and he asks if he can “tag along” with me and my friends…While I was very much looking forward to a night with just friends, I know how lonely Halloween alone is. I make the compromise: Well after the parade we’re planning to go do 21-year-old things, so be warned: we’ll probably ditch you. But yeah, you’re welcome to join for the parade!
My roommate Miranda and I dress up as Gay Cheerleaders for Halloween. Uh What? Miranda’s co-worker was dying to have someone, anyone wear her old cheerleading outfit so that she could tell her mother that yes there is actually a reason for having a bag of things she hasn’t used in 10+ years taking up storage space. When asked if she “wanted to be a cheerleader for Halloween?” Miranda showed mild interest and was immediately handed a green and gold duffle bag filled with 2 full outfits (home and visitor apparently), a track jacket, pom poms, and palpable team spirit. She came home that day, showed me her loot, we may or may not have played dress up in a way that would rival 5 year olds, and we knew on Halloween we were wearing these costumes.
To simply be cheerleaders seemed too boring, too easy. Zombie Cheerleaders? Vampire Cheerleaders? Too predictable. Too much makeup. Having just watched the cult classic But I’m a Cheerleader we decide to be Gay Cheerleaders. No, it didn’t exactly make sense, (I wish I was as creative with costumes as my cousin,) but we had fun accessorizing excessively with rainbows, glitters, writing GO GAY! on our arms, coming up with political cheers GO GO FIGHT FIGHT WE DESERVE MARRIAGE RIGHTS! and worrying we’d offend actual gays (we so didn’t, quite the opposite actually.)
It was surprisingly warm Halloween evening, as we head down to Greenwich Village for a pre-parade drink. The Halloween Parade is a Thing To Do in NY. It’s composed of anyone who shows up at the proper location at the proper time properly costumed. The best thing about Halloween, when you’re at a place in life where it is not socially acceptable to peak in the homes of people who then give you candy, is people watching. Thus this parade is perfect.
Our mini “parade” headed to the parade includes two Gay Cheerleaders (duh), Audrey Hepburn, Alex from A Clockwork Orange, a Hick, a Chef, a Vampire, and Eloise. Later we are joined by a Zombie, an Asian Tourist, a Toilet, and a Plunger. Such a contrast to the loneliness of last year. Our crew is all assembled save my Trader Joe’s Crush who is coming from Brooklyn (and has an annoying habit of being habitually 30+ minutes late). Before he arrives, before we get to the parade, before the night’s really begun the humidity gets the better of the night and it starts to rain.
For 22 years, I’ve been severely spoiled by Halloween weather. Growing up, I never had to make an umbrella part of my costume. Nor had said costume fall apart due to sogginess. So I know I can’t complain too much when our parade plans are spoiled. It’s not much of a set back as we planned to explore area bars after the parade anyway. The rain just speeds that up. Except now I’ll have a 20-year-old in tow, a 20-year-old I was counting on ditching when the “PERSONS UNDER 21 NOT ADMITTED” portion of the evening began. Well, that plan is now down the toilet (and I don’t mean my friend dressed up as one).
When my 20-year-old finally shows up he’s outfitted as a Nerd. Now let me give anyone who’s ever considered this costume a hint: if “Nerd” hits close too home (really, in any vicinity of home) to your actual personality, you may want to re-think your choice. Now Trader Joe’s Crush isn’t really a nerd, but tonight I honestly can’t tell if he’s getting too into the spirit of his costume or just being awkward around me and my friends. I think it’s the former but I’m not sure. What I do become sure of, after a series of awkward silences I make no attempt to fill: It’s not working; I can’t do it any more. I spend the rest of the night madly conflicted between having an awesome time with my friends and knowing I have to break up with my boy.
I can’t break up with him tonight, on Halloween (can I? “No. You can’t,” my friends assure me). Then his 21st birthday falls mere days after Halloween….and I’m stuck the rest of the week, knowing it’s over but unable to end it.