Halloween is just around the corner. I’ve been invited to a few Halloween parties this year but I’m not that eager to go to any of them. I had a really bad experience 2 years ago that has soured every Halloween since then. I know, I know; it’s stupid to let one night spoil so many other opportunities, but when you give something 100% and it fails miserably (miserably is an understandably), it takes time to pick yourself back up and rediscover your enthusiasm.
Let’s start with the confusion of the event invitation.
Every year my friends host a big, Halloween party at their house. Their house is set up perfectly for entertaining; it has a big, open first floor that leads out to a backyard patio with a lot of seating. There’s also a large basement where one of the roommates and his band perform during the party. They supply all the booze all night for a $5 cover charge and since I know them, I get special backstage access to the hidden bathrooms (no need to wait!). Can you see why I was excited to go?
Here is an excerpt from the end of the invite and the beginning of where the confusion started:
Costumes are encouraged– so is looking good.
You would think from this wording and from the timing (the party was scheduled for Oct 23rd) that this was a Halloween-get-an-awesome-costume-and-party-on party, right? Well, we did.
Excited, Matt and I decided beforehand that we were going all in this Halloween. We were going to assemble the most hilarious duo costume idea we could think of.
After wracking our brains for a few days, we came up with this amazingly hilarious 80’s throwback:
We felt confident that this was a hilarious costume idea that everyone was going to love. We were so excited; we started telling our coworkers, friends and family and building a bit of a buzz. The costumes themselves were not particularly hard to assemble. The tiny, white tennis shorts were from Urban Outfitters. We bought white undershirts and 2 wigs from Walmart. The sweatbands, we had those from previous Halloween costumes. The most difficult part was getting “WHAM!” printed on the shirt in the right color. Fortunately, our good friend Jennifer Almeida is an artist that works with all kinds of prints. She was able to take care of that for us.
Yikes, were those costumes cold. Running around, outside, in tiny shorts on a cold, autumn night was not fun; but we were so committed to the joke! We gathered 2 of our other friends, whom we convinced to dress up as well, and headed out on our 40 minute drive to the party.
We were rocking out on the car ride, getting amped up until we finally arrived. We got there fairly early, there were maybe 35-40 people there. At its peak, these parties usually swell to about 100 people; so we knew we had an hour or so to socialize before the party really got going. We paid the $5 to the girl collecting it and stepped into the kitchen…
It was like a scene in a teen movie – it felt like the music came to a screeching halt and everyone turned to stare. No one was in a costume. It was actually much worse; everyone had dressed up – as in dressed up nicely. The 4 of us tried to play it off cool as we sauntered in. We walked briskly over to the hosts and our friends and asked what the hell was going on.
Get this: some of the people decided to focus on the “so is looking good” part of the invitation (see above). They TOLD the hosts (one of which is a long time friend of mine) that they were dressing up, at which point the hosts themselves then decided to dress up fancy. I assume from that point on they were telling people to dress up nicely as opposed to dressing up in a costume. BUT NOBODY TOLD US!!!
So there we were in a room full of people who were dressed nicely – fedoras, button-down shirts, fancy dresses, the whole nine yards – and we were looking like fools. It wouldn’t have been a big deal if we did some lame costume like a vampire or a zombie…but we were WHAM!, an outrageous, scantily clad, ambiguously-gay boy band from the 80’s. And it gets worse.
As the party ramped up, more and more people showed up. The crowd was a little younger than we were. They were early 20’s as opposed to our later 20’s and the maturity differences between these two groups was blatantly obvious. Kids just out of college still have the remnants of that “clique, cool kid” mentality. I feel that the slow death of the soul from working in corporate america after graduating from college forces people to lighten up, laugh at themselves more and become generally more open to new people.
But these people…they completely ostracized us! With the exception of our friends, everyone avoided us. They shot us dirty looks as we tried to be nice and make conversation with them or just glared at us as we made a joke to lighten the mood. It was awful. As if it wasn’t bad enough that we already felt like fools, we were now being visibly excluded from the party.
Fortunately for the two friends that tagged along, they brought a change of clothing. After they were in normal clothing, they had a much easier time at the party. We, however, did not bring a change of clothing. Looking back that was probably stupid of us, especially because it was so cold out. I guess we figured the alcohol would keep us warm.
We kept mostly to ourselves that night. There were a few people who were brave enough to talk to us and I appreciate that they did. We stayed long enough so it didn’t look like we were leaving because we were uncomfortable; but we definitely were uncomfortable the whole night.
What I Learned
It’s really hard to not let such a bad experience completely ruin any future chances to have a good time. But throughout this whole experience the one thing that made it bearable was Matt. He was a trooper; he was just as excited as I was to get dressed up as WHAM!. He committed just as fully and he stood by my side throughout the entire night. We stuck together and kept each other company, he made the night a lot more tolerable than it would have been on my own. What I learned from this experience is that people like Matt are the ones you should hold onto. Whether they take the form as a significant other or as a great friend, these are the kinds of people you cherish.
…And always bring a change of clothing