After scouring two drawers, five boxes, and ten albums of family photos, this is the earliest Halloween picture I could find. Thus, I must assume that I was withheld from trick-or-treating for my first two years of life. Imagine the adorable pot of spaghetti or terrifying little Edward Scissorhands I could have been! Sometimes, I feel like my whole life has been dedicated to making up for those two years of lost candy and costumes.
But one cannot live in regret! Goofy is a classic, and I look amazing.
dismembered Goofy head: Elmer Fudd, the cartoon bounty hunter
I may have been dressed as a bat, but I was serving up some Cat Woman realness! If this outfit doesn’t say “my droppings are toxic, and I’m hungry for some nasty Bit-O-Honeys,” I don’t know what will!
bedazzled mask & cape: my eternally self-sacrificing mother
black hat: Burglars “R” Us (a very short-lived business venture)
color-block shoes: the ‘90s
The logical continuation of the bat trend. Also, I kissed that frog and it did not turn into a prince. Thus began a long road of disenchantment and shattered childhood dreams!
hair grease: probably all natural
make-up: running through a cloud of baby powder
2000 – Marionette
I tore my house apart trying to find a photo of my favorite childhood costume, but to no avail!
For this costume, my father actually duct-taped a 2×4 to my torso so that it towered high above my head. He then slid a shirt sleeve over the board, fixed a glove stuffed with newspaper at the end of the sleeve, placed a hand controller made of paint stirrers in the glove’s grip, and used fishing line to connect my limbs and the stirrers.
It was a costume that screamed, “No! I don’t want to join my friends in the haunted house with a crawlspace entrance, thank you very much!”
Here marks a lazy era in my Halloweening. For a few dark years, a couple props and something smudged on my face counted as a costume. However, I included this particular photo because I have no recollection of the hooded figure looming between me and my sisters, and I just want to make sure that other people can see it, too….
sleeping pad: Z-REST
head lamp: PETZL
Everyone knows that college is the time to finally break free of your parents’ costuming influences and develop your own unique Halloween style! Thus, college marked the Golden Age of my own Halloweening, spurred in no small part by the annual cross country team costume contest.
In preparation for the contest, the freshmen cross country boys organized a series of research and strategy sessions to orchestrate an undefeatable costume: they hail from a place called “The Cursed Land,” they are almost entirely devoid of females, and they were once described by a French sociologist as “a totalitarian and racist utopia”—it’s the Smurfs!
In our lust for costuming victory, we even opted to order skin dye from a theater supply company rather than resort to cheap paint. This required a lot of homoerotic moments in the bathroom applying each other’s dye and meant that our inner ears stayed blue for days.
But, we certainly put the “blue dye” in “I’m blue da ba dee da ba dye,” which is the song we entered to, of course!
(Note: It looks like Matt and I are holding hands in this picture. Alas! It is an illusion.)
pants & Phrygian hat: the Liza Gunnink sweat shop
skin dye: a dark corner of the internet
Having undergone shin surgery, I was unable to run cross country my sophomore year. So, I spent an entire day at my parents’ house painstakingly crafting these costumes while my friends ran their Conference meet. Hooray, college!
However, my efforts were rewarded with what I still consider my greatest costuming achievement. It even fits the three pre-requisites for all good Halloween costumes:
- it’s punny
- it’s sexy
- it’s edible
I would even venture to say that it was worth the series of hot glue burns I suffered while securing one of my licorice wristbands!
short shorts: Gazelle Sports
sunglasses: found in a bush at a playground
In 2011, I had the privilege of embodying a gay icon: Teletubbies frontman, Tinky-Winky. Sporting purple fuzz, rocking an upside-down triangle, and toting a red purse that I can only assume is Gucci Gucci Goo brand, Tinky-Winky was the flouncing queer idol toddlers around the world were drooling for!
While the Teletubbies creator insisted that Tinky-Winky was “simply a sweet, technological baby with a magic bag,” (which doesn’t sound terrifying at all!) everyone knew better. In fact, The Washington Post dubbed Tinky-Winky “the new Ellen Degeneres” while Reverend Jerry Falwell blustered, “As a Christian, I feel that [Tinky Winky’s] role modelling of the gay lifestyle is damaging to the moral lives of children.”
But, Mr. Falwell, before you condemn Tinky-Winky to the fiery depths of Hell, please know that to live in his skin is already to be fleeced into a constant inferno!
purple onesie: the Liza Gunnink sweat shop
fabulousness: born with it (…or maybe it’s Gaybelline)
In 2012 the United States Postal Service was floundering. It had recently announced that it would close half of its processing facilities and eliminate up to 28,000 jobs. So, we decided to give the good ole USPS a much-needed morale boost by showing off our packages and looking envelope-lickin’ good!
envelope bow-tie: United States Postal Service
stamp glasses: United States Postal Service
cardigan: my mom
Because of my biblical namesake, I have been periodically associated with angels all throughout my life. In fact, my grandparents used to maintain a strict tradition of buying me a new angel tree ornament every Christmas season.
I can only assume that my parents and grandparents figured that this would be the logical extension of that.
Also, we senior boys finally proved to be the best Halloweeners of the year and won the costume contest!
We came. We costumed. We conquered!
jacket: Kirsten Brink
tonfas: my cross country coach’s son, whom I am never going to mess with
When I first heard that the staff Halloween costume for my first year in the Forest Hills school district would be inmates, I thought to myself, “Couldn’t this be uncomfortable for students with imprisoned family members?” Then I realized: this is Forest Hills, silly!
I also won the award for Best Staff Halloween Costume, which I suspect was invented just for me. The prize was a flat-bill Huskies hat that looks amazing on a shelf in my room.
dragon tattoo: a Halloween pop-up store
inmate onesie: a very organized staff order form
In 2012, a friend of mine threw a Lady Gaga-themed birthday party while I was away in Spain. I’ve never forgiven him. But I did get to live my dream a couple years later as the sexy skeleton from Gaga’s “Born This Way” music video.
tuxedo: a lifetime of choir
face paint: Rite-Aid
In 2015, Abby and I decided to be a bit meta: we costumed ourselves as Parks and Recreation characters Andy and April, who in turn were costumed as swaggering FBI agent Burt Macklin and devious heiress Janet Snakehole.
This was not the first and won’t be the last time I spend an entire night with my hand in a jar of Nutella.
windbreaker: my dad, embellished with torn yellow duct tape
Nutella: the heavens
Gabe Gunnink (’14) lives in Seattle, where he works for a European travel company and gawks at the landscapes and skylines surrounding him. In his free time, he enjoys practicing Portuguese under his breath on city buses, running far enough to justify eating an entire pan of cinnamon rolls, and faithfully implementing Oxford commas.