Carroll County Times Opinion

Sprinkle: So many superb and scary costume options this Halloween

Celebrated every year on Oct. 31, Halloween is believed to have originated with the Celtic festival of Samhain (“sow-in” is one of several indicated pronunciations), literally meaning the end of summer. For the Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in what is now Ireland, the U.K., and northern France, Samhain also marked the beginning of a long, cold, arduous winter — a time associated with death.

On the 31st, according to the Celts, the human dead returned to wreak havoc on the people. To insulate themselves from the mayhem of those spirits, the Druids (Celtic priests) built sacred bonfires; and the Celtic people (usually wearing costumes of animal heads and skins) burned crops and animals as sacrifices to their Celtic gods.


Two thousand years later.

I returned from the mailbox the other day with an invitation to a Halloween costume party from the [XXXXXs] (name redacted to protect their potential third- and/or fourth-party “whistleblower” rights — on any occasion, one can never assume who heard who whistle what to whom about whatever).


Our calendar was free on that date, so my husband and I thought it might be fun to join the [XXXXXs] in the celebration. Accordingly, we began the discussion of selecting costumes in keeping with the origin of the occasion.

We didn’t want any of the usual boring costumes that were supposed to be frightening — Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Dracula. We wanted something designed to be genuinely bloodcurdling to scare off those spirits. So we tossed around a few ideas.

“We could be Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi,” I suggested. “First, I’ll pray. Then I’ll prance in my stilettos, wave my hands, and announce the somber occasion of impeachment. And I’ll carry my gavel so I can keep the four neophytes in line. And you can be Chuck. Of course, you’ll need to practice speaking out of both sides of your mouth at the same time.”

“Or,” my husband offered, “how about Jerrold Nadler and Adam Schiff?”

“Not a bad idea,” I said. “But I want to be Jerrold. I’ll stare down over the rim of my glasses at those insignificant bumpkins, grimace sternly, and pronounce with profundity: ‘…it falls to Congress to respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing … and we will do so.’”

“Well,” my husband said, “Adam is easy enough. A simple, two-piece costume: bottom half, business attire; top half, cobra — and can’t forget to wind the string of ‘Pinocchios’ around my neck.

“Not everyone can assume that haughty air of omniscient arrogance,” I warned.

“No problem,” he assured me. “I’ll simply follow the majority and make it up as I go.”


That could work.

In our continued quest to find the perfect costumes, we considered several scary presidential candidates and a Virginia governor. Costuming would be a breeze — adults in white coats, scalpel and scissors in one hand, hypodermic in the other, and an infant marionette running for its life.

Then, of course, we considered Bill and Hillary Clinton, but rejected that idea when I couldn’t find a suitable recording of “Hail to the Queen” to announce my entrance. And keeping a straight face while wearing a $12,000 Armani jacket and delivering a speech about income inequality? Impossible! I lack sufficient chutzpah.

Although we’ve not yet decided, I think I may want to be Alexandria, a young (well, that would be a stretch!), nicely-dressed legislator (or legislatress — or PC whatever), and the head of the costume would be a large tin can with a few pebbles rattling around inside. Of course to complete the costume, I’m going to need to borrow one of the local farmer’s cows. And my husband has agreed that he could be a frogman, prepped and ready to swim to Kansas when the water starts closing in on the East Coast.

It’s hard to decide; there are so many superb possibilities. But whatever the decision we finally make, I’ll need to call the [XXXXXs] and have them warn their other guests. It would be an “existential threat” to the general public to see costumed adults screaming and sprinting through the night, clutching their heart with one hand and their pocketbook with the other. That’s just too bloodcurdling.

M. K. Sprinkle writes from Hampstead. Her column appears every other Saturday.