"I’m pretty good at making stuff, and I’m really good at making stuff up. But the pressure of trying to have a really great costume gets me every year.
In sixth grade I got to hang out with the popular girls, but not because they wanted me to. I’d just moved into another small town in another foster home, and this time the parents in the community were super duper Christian. They took it seriously. That meant that they wanted their kids to take it seriously, too, and those kids were forced to include me even though I was total dork sauce.
I was an attention whore jerk, too. I managed to ruin every single one of their birthday parties by running off to cry in a corner so they’d have to spend the whole night trying to make me knock it off. I was never sure why I was doing all that stuff. I knew it sucked and I wanted to be cool like all of them. At the same time, I knew I was born without the ability to be cool naturally, and I wasn’t quite sure how to deal with that. If I’d been hanging out with other dorks, I could have had a little bit of leeway.
Since I was living in a foster home there wasn’t any extra money for a Halloween costume. It also didn’t occur to me to ask for one. But I knew I’d be trick or treating with the girls, and I knew that they were all going to be cheerleaders. It struck me as funny that they were going to dress up as what they were destined to become in junior high, but I had a bigger problem. I didn’t have a cheerleader costume.
What I did have was electrical tape to create the logo, a sweatshirt, and a pair of coulots that could pass for a cheerleading skirt if you squinted really hard and only looked at them from the side. I’d also found a bunch of Halloween make up that had been shoved into the back of a closet. Perfect.
That was when genius struck. I’d go as a dead cheerleader. That would be so awesome. I would even have this great back-story. “Trick or treat” we’d say. “I see you’re cheerleaders, but my! What happened to you?”, they’d say. “Well,” I’d tell them ominously, “one year I didn’t make the team, so I killed myself!”
I’m not making this up. I thought that was a really funny idea. It’s with horror that I recall that night, following behind the girls, getting to the first house, not even waiting for the adult to ask what I was supposed to be and just blurting that story as the other girls stared at me with hands on hips in a “Oh, come on!” way. After the adult silently candied us and closed the door, one of the girls scolded me. “Know what I wish you would have pretended to be for Halloween?” she glared and spit each word at me, “Normal. Just for one night.”
Shortly after that I moved to another school a few towns over. Each time I’d moved I’d always envisioned doing one of those coolness makeovers where I’d just show up on day one with sunglasses and tight rolled jeans and could stop being Niki, the Freakshow. On this move, however, I tried something new. I found my group of fellow dorks and I stuck with them.
As for Halloween, from that point forward I never dressed up again. I was always too worried that I’d pick a crappy costume, so I’d fret over it until it was too late, then use the old “I’m going as myself.” Until I grew up and got cool, that is. Then I went as Strawberry Shortcake and I was flippin’ adorable."
Nikol Hasler is an American internet content creator, producer, writer, and filmmaker known best for her work on Midwest Teen Sex Show, and her frank, direct, dark humor.