WHAT DOES A ZOMBIE WEAR FOR HALLOWEEN?
When I was sixteen a great debate ensued at school the week prior to Halloween. The year before all my classmates had planned for days what they would wear, and what streets in the neighborhood their parents would take them to trick or treat. But somehow during the last year everyone seemed to have matured. We were in the tenth grade now, and the debate centered on whether or not we should go trick or treating. Some of the boys in my tenth grade home room said that trick or treating was for kids. But others said they’d never pass up an opportunity to get free candy.
The choice was simple for me. I loved Halloween! Not only was it the one time of the year I could go looking like my true Zombie self, but I just loved visiting all the homes with their Halloween decorations. The candy was not a big deal for me, I’d much rather prefer a dead rat or dead squirrel. And of course after Mom drove me back from trick or treating, I’d hide in the bushes next to our front door, still looking like my zombie self, and scare the kids that came to trick or treat at our house. The best fun of all!
But now I was facing a new problem.
Something had changed. I no longer looked like my authentic zombie self when I didn’t apply make-up. For the past week I had checked myself in the bathroom mirror daily and I could see
my zombie pallor was diminishing. I was beginning to get a more human tone to my skin. I needed less and less make-up to maintain my Mexican look.
So now what would I be for Halloween?
Mom tried to help out by taking me to Target to shop for a costume. But all the costumes they had there were real dorky. Darth Vadar? Batman? Hulk? Frankenstein? Dracula? All so predictable and goofy.
I thought of how everybody in the United States had one day where they could be anyone they chose to be. I suppose that’s a natural human thing, trying out being someone or something else. But for everyone there was the comfort of being able to go back to who they really were. The rest of the year, they could go on being themselves.
But that was not true for me.
I could never be my true self because if my zombie identity were discovered my mom and I would get into trouble. They locked both of us up. Mom for grave digging and I’m sure they’d want to examine me. For sure they’d want to find out how it was that I could be a zombie and still be growing like any normal kid. I had wondered about this as soon as I got old enough to understand my situation. I had no heartbeat, no pulse, smelled of death, was cold to the touch, yes, and craved brains. Yet in every other way I seemed to be just a Mexican kid.
All of this thinking just made me go right back to the secret palm symbol and what that might mean and what that had to do with me being a zombie. I got to admit, I was one mixed up and confused kid–zombie or not.
Then it hit me.
I put away the costume I was looking at. “Mom, let’s go.” I said.
“But mijo, we haven’t gotten your costume for Halloween yet.”
“Don’t need a costume from Target,” I said. “I’m going to make my own costume.”
“You are? What will you be mijo?”
“I’ll show you tomorrow mom.”
The next morning, Halloween, I showered like I usually do but didn’t put on any make-up. I only put on a little Patchouli, just a suggestion of it. My zombie smell was now almost gone. I got dressed for school and then walked into the kitchen where mom was preparing my breakfast.
“What do you think of my Halloween costume, ‘ama?”
She turned around, gave me a once over and then looked very perplexed.
“Mijo?” She said, “what costume?”
“Mom, this IS my costume. That’s what I’m going to be for Halloween this year. I’m going to be just as a regular Mexican kid!”
Copyright 2012 Lazaro De La Tierra and Barrio Dog Productions, Inc.