Halloween, Unleashed:
The Truth at Last

By Alyce Wilson

My mission was a simple one. Infiltrate the Halloween parties in State College, home of Penn State University, and discover the truth.

Vampires, spooks, Playboy bunnies, rock stars. They all roamed the streets on this infamous evening. But why? Why should one person dress as a magician while another masquerades as ... a tobacco-chewing truck driver?

Was there a common theme, a reason behind it all?

I had some theories, and my mission was to uncover the truth behind the masks.

Disguised as a cowgirl and taking with me only a mini tape recorder, I struck out for the darkened streets.

My first break came when I accompanied my sister to a friend’s house, where two friends were preparing their costumes: Fembots from the first Austin Powers movie. But that was just luck. We were really there for one thing -- a hairdryer.

My sister’s stroke of genius was to dress as a heavy metal chick. Super tight jeans, bright aqua pumps, an obscenely tight black T-shirt splattered with a homemade logo for Slayer. The only thing needed to make the transformation complete was an hour with a can of Aquanet and a hairdryer. Not just your ordinary hairdryer: the kind that could loosen wallpaper.

As luck would have it, her friend had one.

The first peek behind the mask wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. As one of the Fembots squeezed into her homemade glitter and puff costume, I asked her why she chose to go that way.

“It’s the most, like, popular costume this year,” she said. “Did you read the (Daily) Collegian article? Like, everyone’s getting Austin Powers stuff.”

I pressed for more. “So, did you choose this because it says anything about you personally,” I asked another Fembot as she zipped up the back of her dress and slipped on her boots, sprayed silver.

“No, not at all. ... I usually don’t wear tight clothes.”

Aha. I was onto something. Perhaps the Fembot costumes were some sort of disguised desire, a way of realizing a fantasy. I might have discovered more, but right then a drunken Santa wandered in and whisked them all away to a Caribbean cruise.

Just my luck.

As soon as my sister’s hair was laquered to the appropriate Big Hair height, we headed out for our first mission ... uh, party. Loud music drowned out most of the talk, and the hosts passed around homemade pumpkin cookies, frosted with orange and black sprinkles. A clear attempt at bribery.

But I was not about to be distracted from my mission. I approached a strange, spotted faerie.

“Why do you go as a faerie, why?” I asked, at the top of my interview game.

“I’m not a faerie,” the strange, spotted faerie replied. “I’m a ladybug.”

“Okay, what’s this about ladybugs and everything?” I followed up, brilliantly.

“It was about 8:30 p.m. and I had no costume,” she said, waving her elaborate black-gloved arms and shaking her antennae. Her spotted wings trembled.

“Oh come on. That took hours. Don’t tell me that.”

Fortunately, a catwoman chimed in. “I’ve known her for about six years and ... we’ve lived together two different times and she has this secret fantasy of having a VW bug painted like a ladybug. I think this is an obsession she doesn’t want to reveal to you.”


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