Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. When I was a kid, I would begin designing my costume on the day after Halloween. Everything had to be built with cardboard, duct tape, markers, construction paper, yarn, and whatever else we had around the house.
A big challenge for me was integrating the candy bag into my costume. I never wanted a garish plastic pumpkin or plastic bag to ruin the effect of my masterpiece. When I was a knight with my broomstick horse, I built a container into the back of the horse’s head. When I said “Trick or treat!” I would part the horse’s mane revealing a bin of candy. This bit of cleverness was my absolute favorite part of designing costumes. I only wish I had saved my years of carefully drawn schematics.
One year, my Halloween brilliance manifested itself as a “Visa Card” costume. I had found a thin, rectangular box that had held a framed photo, and transformed it into a human-sized visa card. My entire torso stayed inside the box, though there were tiny finger slots near the edges so I could keep the costume straight. I won first place in the “Funniest Costume” contest that year, one of my crowning Halloween moments.
Later that night, while trick-or-treating, I discovered the fatal flaw in my design. I tripped on the sidewalk leading up to a neighbor’s door and fell flat on my face. My mom recalls watching in horror from the street. I recall watching in horror from inside my costume.
After that year, all designs involved the full use of my arms. No “form over function” for me; I’ve been a believer in “form in the service of function” ever since.