It was my final year trick-or-treating. I was 14 and in ninth grade, and wasn't sure if I was too old to trick-or-treat. A lot of the other kids in my grade were going to Halloween parties, but I wasn't invited to any.
I was too old for the cutesy kid costumes and too young (and chubby) for the skanky grown-up ones. I didn't know what to do until my dad came up with the perfect idea: wear his army dress greens from Vietnam.
My dad and I went to our basement and he opened the green metal cabinet that I'd always overlooked. Inside hung two pristine uniforms: my dad's and my uncle's.
Examining the uniform and the dog tags was like visiting history. I asked my dad a ton of questions about his time in the service. I discovered that he was in Chem Corps and got to stay in the states, while my uncle was a medic stationed in Germany. My dad joked that his brother came back 20 pounds heavier from all the food he ate there.
I tried on the uniforms, and, although my dad's was too small, my uncle's fit. I called my best friend Iris, and she agreed to wear my dad's uniform.
On Halloween, we donned the caps, jackets, and trousers and went out. Trick-or-treating was not that fun, and at one point, the police even stopped to ask us where we had been because some kids vandalized a house. I was self-conscious about being too old, and a little embarrassed and upset that I wasn't going to a party like everyone else.
But I loved my costume. I learned a lot from my dad because of it. I felt like I was wearing history, which made me want to learn more about the Vietnam War. It was like I was finally privy to a piece of family history that had eluded me until that point.
I got to look at old photos of my dad and uncle when they were in the service. I found out my dad really did have a giant fro (I never believed it before I saw it), and that he looked like the guy in Welcome Back Kotter.
So even though the trick-or-treating experience wasn't the best, the costume and everything I learned about my family as a result made it an incredible experience.
This post was written in response to this week's RemembeRED prompt from Write on Edge. For Tuesday, reach back to a costume that made an impression. Was it yours? A friend’s? Maybe it was a costume you never got to wear. Show it to us with your words, draw us into the emotions it evoked at the time. Word limit is 400.
Also, I'm sorry if this post is not up to my usual caliber. My youngest, Goober, has been really sick with a high fever since Thursday so I've been preoccupied and totally unfocused.