We are less than 24 hours from trick-or-treating and are just now getting around to creating the Jawa's Halloween costume. As a result, everyone is in a bad mood, especially the already-overworked Sandra Bullock.
In fact, she does not know I am typing on the computer right now. She thinks I'm helping the Jawa create an "ammo belt," by coloring empty raisin boxes with a black marker.
And what is this costume we are creating? Yes, it is a Jawa costume. Finally. At age 9, our own Jawa has already donned the heroic duds of Obi-Wan-Kenobi, plus various superheroes, followed by a three-year Godzilla run (ended, mercifully, this year, when we talked him out of being either the three-headed King Ghidora or the mechanized Mecha Godzilla.) Last year's Rodan costume looked suspiciously like the San Diego Chicken, so it is probably better that we are going for something with fewer variables this year.
The problem is, we waited too long. Normally, we're done by now. This year, though, with S. Bullock getting slammed at work, and me doing whatever it is I do that seems to fill up my weeks and yet is not at all lucrative and/or profitable, we let the costume-building task slide. Now it is 7:39 on Monday and the would-be Jawa costume is laid out on the living room floor. S. Bullock is "trying to figure out how this hood goes on," while the Jawa tortures our dog in the name of "playing."
The most important part of the costume, of course, is the weapon. Earlier this week, the Jawa came far too close to convincing me that what he really needed, to achieve Jawa costume credibility, was a toy rifle. We would then take it and add some kind of cylindrical attachment, and it would resemble the Jawa blaster used in "Star Wars, Episode IV" to blow away R2D2.
I am not unlike you, fellow San Franciscans. I would never have a gun, have never bought my child a toy gun and have gone out of my way to discourage any interest in firearms. And yet, all of this effort seems to have had very little impact.
He almost had us convinced. And yet.
We came to our senses. "I don't think it's a good idea to be walking around with a fake gun," said Sandra Bullock, coolly. Maybe if it were 1976, but it is not. It is 2006, and I am not prepared to hold up my end of the fierce and rightous wrath that could come down on me from some well-meaning San Francisco parent who objects to my child hauling a fake .22 disguised as a Jawa blaster around on Halloween.
Personally, I hate Halloween. I hated it more as a child, recoiling from the pressure of not only having to be invited to a fun party but also having to come up with an interesting costume. And then you have to put the thing on and risk showing up somewhere as the ONLY PERSON IN A COSTUME. How humiliating that would be.
So I never had a good costume, because I always wanted to wear something that wouldn't look entirely foolish, were I to show up somewhere as the only person in a costume. Usually it involved a suit and a tie, either an oversized one (the year I went as a hobo), or a small, smartly-fitting one with sunglasses (3rd grade, I was a "European industrialist").
As an adult, my responsibilities are limited to following the Jawa around while he trick-or-treats. Each year I threaten to dress as my dad, and wear white Vans slip-ons, "dungarees," a gray zip-up hooded sweatshirt, and stand about twenty feet behind our group of kids, smoking.
Until recently, when the Jawa began choosing his own trick-or-treating cohort, we spent Halloween in Tiburon, guests of Peter O'Toole and Princess Grace. We loaded up our young, costumed children and set out for Peninsula Avenue, where people our ages lounged around with Kennedy-esque grace in well-appointed homes. Every third house seemed to be having a party: candy for the kids, cocktails for the adults.
Afterwards, as we drove back into the city with the Jawa asleep in the back seat, I'd tell Sandra Bullock that I was being "seduced by the dark side," after an evening of high-end Americana in Tiburon.
Last year, the Jawa decided that Halloween was his holiday, not ours, and that we would be trick-or-treating with his friends, not ours. And then O'Toole and Grace went and moved to New Jersey. Fortunately, our back-up -- trick-or-treating with the Shaman and Tony Hawk -- involves parents we truly like, plus the added benefit of access to the truly fantastic homes of Pacific Heights. And then I sat and handed out candy with the Man About Town and Wine Guy, as all of the parents smiled at what they undoubtedly assumed was a nice group of mature and stylish gay men, too old for the hijinks of the Castro but still enjoying Halloween.
So it is that tomorrow we will go back to Pacific Heights. The Jawa just came into the living room wearing most of a Jawa costume -- the robe minus the hood. Looks like we're going to make it just under the wire.