For Halloween this year I dressed up as a Serrano Pepper. It was an involved costume. I bought a pair of red spandex leggings and a red V-neck top. The incorporation of spandex meant defying my own moral fiber. I have long since had a rule about Halloween and spandex–Halloween and corsets are no different. I’ve always felt as though fat people use Halloween as an excuse to wear the two–sometimes, frighteningly enough, together–as though magically, and for one day only, they had lost 50 excess pounds of flesh.
To rectify my own error, I was sure that the top that was to be worn over the leggings had ample length to cover my rear, and the legging ample length in the waist. Pulling the leggings up past my navel certainly seemed to state a clear message:
I am not pretending that I am thin. I am not claiming that I am sexy. I am pretending to be red.
I spent a painstaking amount of time drawing out the perfect stem. I knew it needed a curl, something fabulous, but not so fabulous as to be considered “Seuss-y.” I showed the drawing to my husband. He laughed.
In my relationship, a word-less laugh means one of two things:
1. You are out of your mind, and you absolutely may not have that.
2. You are out of your mind, and I know you are going to make me support you in this.
My husband pulled the recipe for paper machet out of the broken pieces of his poverty-stricken childhood and handed it to me in a bowl. A Pyrex bowl. One of the 36 that we received as a wedding gift.
A second Pyrex bowl was employed as the mannequin for my stem. I sat below the kitchen sink and tried on all of our Pyrex bowls until I was able to find one that fit my head perfectly. I then said a silent, and somewhat unexpected, thank you for all the Pyrex bowls we had.
The stem was fashioned from an old Martha Stewart Living magazine. It seemed the only appropriate hommage.
A friend’s husband painted it the perfect color of Serrano-pepper-stem green. Actually, it was some spray paint left over from the earlier painting of an umbrella stand.
Finding a way to fix the stem to my head proved tricky. The tying method I had imagined failed miserably, and I ended up having to pin the somewhat heavy stem to my delicate strands of hair. It made no difference, though. I looked phenomenal.
Later that night, we won a costume contest.
Congratulations to the Mormon Missionary and the Tomato.