This blog actually pertains to a few of the comments that were made on my facebook after writing my last blog titled “God Bless the Day After Devil’s Night 2009.” If you haven’t read that one and want to, you can do so at http://ricoswaff.com/blog1/?cat=380
In that article, I explained my displeasure of wearing cheap costumes every year for Halloween growing up, while everyone else in my community seemed to have awesome, extravagant costumes. To make a long story short, I always had to wear one of those plastic masks that stay attached to your head by a rubber band, which limited my selection to either being Frankenstein or Count Dracula.
In the article, I also noted that my 12 year old brother, Shea, had a rough Halloween this year due to his hugely anticipated costume not arriving in the mail until 2 days after Halloween. I concluded the blog by stating that the curse of unsatisfied Swafford youth during Halloween continues.
What I didn’t realize until recently is that this curse had actually existed on both sides of my family prior to the existence of my brothers and I. Both my mom and dad wore shitty Halloween costumes growing up. Here is the exchange which took place on my facebook between my dad, mom, brother and myself after I posted my last blog. To those of you who know my dad, you will find this to be absolutely hilarious. To those who don’t know him, you can get to know him better by watching this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECNfVTDuB5U He is a funny character to say the least.
Mark Swafford (my dad): Joshua…when I was reading this, it brought back some of the same memories. Mom (your grandma) used to wait until the last minute to get our costumes every year. By then, everything was picked over. Kevin and Brian (dad’s older twin brothers) got to pick their costumes before me. I was a witch almost every year. The only year I wasn’t a witch I had to settle for a PRINCESS outfit. Do you believe it….a flipping PRINCESS. I was so totally mortified. I always wanted to stay home from school the days we were supposed to wear them. You know what? Maybe that’s why I’m such a killjoy about Halloween to this day. Mommy traumatized me.
Justin (my brother): Holy moly dad. How’s come we’ve never heard this before? Its unfortunate, but actually rather funny when you think about it…maybe we can get you into the Halloween spirit next year and come up with something awesome for you to wear.
Jacinta Swafford (my mom): OMG–Its even funnier to hear him tell it in person! I never heard this before either. I think your Mom really wished you were a girl. Lol. Josh and Justin, your costumes weren’t that bad. I just can’t see spending a lot of money on something you only wear once. I had to be little red riding hood every single year because we were too poor to buy new Halloween costumes. A PRINCESS? Hahahahaha!
Me: Mom, you are right. Our costumes weren’t that bad… For 1965.
Mark Swafford (my dad): I’ve never talked about it because it still irks me. This is one of those things that stick in your head. In kindergarten I had the biggest crush on this blonde haired girl named Jodell Allen. She had the cutest face. She looked just like a princess. In fact that STUPID mask looked just like her. It ruined my crush. I do believe I finally pinpointed why I totally dig brunettes. I remember whimpering to mom “But it’s a girl, mom. I don’t want to dress up as a girl.” Mom just said, “oh be quiet and don’t be silly. No one will know who is behind the mask.” I wore a STUPID blonde-haired, cute, little, chubby-faced, big-smiled, rosie-cheeked, tiara-wearing flipping princess mask for Halloween. Not to mention the flamboyant colored costume gown that went with it….urgh.
Jacinta Swafford (my mom): Now, I know why your Dad has always been so negative about Halloween! When u guys were little and I had to work on trick or treat night , I had to beg him to even take you. When I had to work on trick or treat night with Shea and Brennan, I had one of u guys take them.
Well, it sounds to me like my parents had worse Halloweens’ growing up than my brothers and I did . I can’t even imagine my dad dressed as a princess. My dad is a cool cat, but also very intense and traditional. He would be one of the last people in the world I could see being dressed up as a princess. The title, “Princess Mark Swafford” is an oxymoron. The words “princess,” “Mark,” and “Swafford” don’t even belong in the same sentence together and I can not believe I now have actually seen it happen.
So my mom dressing up as “Little Red Riding Hood” for Halloween every year. How ghetto fabulous is that?! That basically means that my mom’s annual Halloween costume was a red hooded sweatshirt. It makes you wonder if the person dressing her up for Halloween was actually my Grandma or something else. It could have been the big, bad wolf itself, dressing up it’s own “Little Red Riding Hood” and throwing her on the street where there were plenty of kids dressed up as werewolves roaming around, searching for candy. I wonder if my mom ever got her candy stolen from her by a werewolf during Halloween. It wouldn’t surprise me.
I bet my mom and dad wished they could have exchanged costumes back then. My mom could have been a princess, which is acceptable for little girls, and with a red hooded sweatshirt, my dad could have claimed to have been Muhammad Ali or something.
Now that I know a little more about my parents’ Halloween situation growing up, it not only makes me feel lucky that things weren’t even worse than they were for me during Halloween, but it makes me wonder how bad my grandparents had it.
Ok, so my mom’s family was so poor when she was growing up, that she wore a red hooded sweatshirt for Halloween every year. What would be a step down from that? Were her parents even able to afford clothes for Halloween? What if my great-grandparents were like, “well, ya’ll will have to just go to Halloween naked this year because you sure as hell aren’t wearing your good school clothes for Halloween!”
So my dad was a princess for Halloween one year and a witch every other year. So what did HIS dad dress up as? I am guessing Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz.” My Grandpa and Grandma Swafford are huge fans of that movie. That was probably another reason besides everything being “picked over” why my dad had to be a witch for Halloween most years. My Grandpa Swafford has always had a mad crush on Judy Garland aka “Dorothy,” and instead of internalizing feelings of bitterness for her due to dressing up as her for Halloween, maybe he developed his mad crush on her. Mystery solved! And yes it WAS a mystery because quite frankly, I never knew what my Grandpa saw in Judy Garland. The celebrity chicks I always thought were hot such as Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, Goldie Hahn, Kari Wuhrer, Darryl Hannah, etc. are WAY hotter than Judy Garland ever was.