Sometimes in the age of adolescence kids fall in with a bad crowd. Motivated by what the popular trends are, its hard to listen to your own voice instead of following suit, even though it may lead you down a bad path. In 5th grade, I fell victim to peer pressure, ignoring my better instincts and instead let my parents choose my Halloween costume, knowing it would end badly.
All 10 year olds are ugly. There is no exception to this rule, including myself. Yes, mothers of 10 year olds, your child might be the rare exception, but looking back on yourself, which school photo would you be most likely to throw out? My guess is 10. At this age, you’re in that odd stage in life where you are too old to be cute and to young to be pretty, thus leaving you in this abyss of awkward and unpleasant. Fortunately, most people grow out of this phase, while others put it off for a later age, mainly, child actors who were given a pass and now have to walk through life with their pinnacle of beauty having peaked at 13 (see: cast of any 90’s sitcom you can think of). What makes this age 9,000 times worse is when you are juxtaposed against a small, evil demon taking the host of a cute 6 year old otherwise known as your little sister. When I was going through the phase of growing out of my fat baby face, Caitlyn, my cute as a stupid button younger sister, made every family photo between the years of 1994-1997 seem like an illustration of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde….if Dr. Jekyll had a horrible bowl cut with bangs.
Faced with the task of finding shows that weren’t too adult for his growth spurting daughter, my father got into the habit of watching old Laurel and Hardy episodes. Grasping for anything that wasn’t a cartoon, and always eager to please my parents, I enjoyed the duo and would occasionally watch episodes, a welcome break over Barney the Dinosaur, Caitlyn’s most viewed show of the 90s. When October rolled around, we were all sitting around the kitchen table after dinner, brainstorming costume ideas for the two of us. “What about Laurel and Hardy?” my mom said, “You could wear my suit jacket!” my father squealed, before I could brush my knotty, cow licked bangs out of my face, my fate was decided. I did however, manage to insist that I was Laurel and not Hardy, because going as an old-timey slapstick male actor that nobody my age knew was one thing, but to go as an old-timey slapstick male actor who was fat was out of the question.
Another problem with being 10 is that it’s the age where everyone stops playing together and cool kids start to rise above taking reign. In my grammar school, the two blondest girls took the reigns. My brown average hair not having the genetic luck to compete, I was forced to struggle with failed attempts at popularity, settling for mediocrity only until my ego caught up with me and I realized how utterly awesome I am (around sophomore year of high school, I estimate). So between this inner struggle called middle school, you could imagine my shock to be invited with the two cool kids trick or treating. But what was a Laurel to do without her Hardy? Luckily, there was another famous black and white slapstick male actor left, and with the addition of a cane and some black mascara under my nose, Stan Laurel turned into Charlie Chaplin, and I was on my way.
1995 had an exceptionally warm Halloween. That, coupled with the fact that I was wearing a men’s suit and black cotton pants, and a bowler hat, made my short bob haircut a slicked back, sweaty mess. By the 5th block of candy stalking I was a hot mess, and decided to take my coat and hat off. The father of one of my Aryan classmates subtly hinted that I should stay in character, but I declined, noting that I still had my fake mustache to remind everyone who I was. It wasn’t until years later when I realized that the culmination of my greased back hair, mustache, and jacket less suit ensemble made me a spitting image for one of the most awful dictators the world has ever seen. I can’t exactly recall my neighbors reactions, but I’d imagine given the choice among the grotesque zombie, grunge rocker Kurt Cobain, and Hitler, my parents were the ones judged the hardest.