COLUMN: Hardly hallowed, old costumes had perks – but never swords

By Eric Heisig

I was Zorro for Halloween when I was 11.

I had it all — the black cape, the hat, the tight black pants. I even drew on a pencil-thin mustache (in the days before facial hair).

I had everything except one thing: the sword.

My mom wouldn’t let me have a sword for Halloween. Zorro, protector of the innocent, had no way to in fact protect the innocent. How was I to carve the legendary “Z” onto my enemies? With my nails?

Even though I was upset about the sword, my mom picked out the costume. It was her idea, so I had to go along with it.

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That was not the first time my mom picked out my costume for me. In fact, I remember her picking out all my costumes, which included a pumpkin, a ninja – twice, but my mom would not allow me to have a sword either time – Shemp from “The Three Stooges” and a Hershey’s kiss.

These costumes were good. I looked like the thing I wanted to be. Of course, the reason behind this was my mom. She made me look good, so in retrospect I have no reason to complain.

After Zorro though, I didn’t dress up for a long time.

It would make for a more interesting story if I said the lack of sword traumatized me, but that really wasn’t the case. I guess I’m just lazy, and because my mom wasn’t forcing me to dress up anymore, I didn’t.

For the next 10 years, I didn’t make a conscious effort to dress up. In fact, the only time I actually did was a lame attempt to fit in at a high school party when I didn’t know, on Halloween, that it was a costume party.

Clever me, I turned my pants around and said I was “backwards man.” Comfort issues aside, I guess I pulled it off.

Then, last year, I made an effort. I was invited to a Halloween party, and being the lazy procrastinator I am, I put off choosing a costume until the last minute, and went as Earl from the show “My Name Is Earl.”

It was pretty makeshift. I got a red flannel shirt and a fake mustache. For the 10, maybe 15, minutes I put in, it looked good.

Still, it doesn’t even compare to the stuff my mom came up with. My costumes don’t look like what I am going for, like they did back then; they only vaguely remind one of it.

I am 22 now, and this year I was a pea (my girlfriend was the princess. Get it?). It consisted of a sweat suit, pillows and a lot of green face paint. It turned out … OK.

Still, if my mom had helped, I guarantee you I would have had round wire around my body to truly look like a pea. It would have looked good.

If I wanted a sword though, I would get one this time.