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My mother made the best Halloween costumes. One year I went as a bunch of grapes. I looked straight out of a Fruit of the Loom commercial, and I loved it. Another year she made me a full Tweety Bird worthy of official mascot status. This was before Amazon and ordering anything you need so she RIT-dyed a pair of tights bright orange for my Tweety legs. It’s no wonder I fell in love with dressing up and went on to get a degree in costume design. Costumes are magic. You can be anyone you want.

My early love of Loony Tunes and bunches of fruit transitioned to more macabre subjects, and for the last few years, I spent my down time when I wasn’t writing shambling around film sets as various monsters. I loved being undead. I don’t know what it says about my parenting skills that being a monster was a welcome break from motherhood.

One time I played a background zombie in a horror movie and for two nights, I ran around in the freezing cold in a latex onesie pretending to scare teenagers at a haunted house. (Listen, some fortysomething moms paint tulips on wine night with friends to blow off steam. Self-care is different for everybody.)

The onesie zipped up the back and I couldn’t get the costume off without help, so on this particular shoot I learned to manage my liquids. One thing I discovered about being a monster is that sometimes the monster really has to pee.

After my cancer diagnosis last year and as the ramifications of treatment continue to upend my life, my monster days are over (although during chemo I looked undead for realsies). But I still have Halloween. Oh, how sweet is this time of the year when spooky lovers like me are briefly considered socially acceptable. “Great skeleton shirt! Very Halloweeny!” “Uh, yeah, I totally only wear this for Halloween and not also Valentines and Arbor Day and days ending in y.”

Our house is decorated with skeletons and monsters year-round. A bloody hand reaches out of a hole in the ceiling in the bathroom. Skull throw pillows adorn the sofas. A golden skeleton lounges in the living room, and in the family room, a raven perches atop a skull. We keep our insides creepy, but in October the pumpkins come out and the skeletons spill onto the lawn.

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