Ahh, Halloween, the holiday that conjures up visions of giddy young children frolicking about the neighborhood in search of the one house dishing out full-sized candy bars and average adults dressed up like dead celebrities.
Children high on Nerds and Tootsie Pops are darling and all, and I love an army of teenage mutant transforming X-men marching up and down my street as much as the next mom, almost as much as I cannot wait to see the thrilling throng of Michael Jacksons sure to moonwalk their way around town this year.
But it is revelers like my brother, Otis, who help make Halloween one of my favorite holidays.
Otis lives the happy life of a hot and happenin’ 30-ish-year-old in Chicago. He has a great job, lives a few blocks from Wrigley Field, and can play guitar as late as he wants every night of the week, for Otis has no wife, no fiancé, no live-in girlfriend. (He is a catch, ladies.)
Last year for Halloween, Otis decided (at the last minute, because when one is single one can do anything one chooses on a moment’s notice) (from what I recall) to attend a Halloween party downtown.
Wearing a banana suit, of course, because he lives alone, with no one around to talk him out of it.
Taking a cab from Wrigleyville in a banana suit on Halloween was not a problem. The cabbie did not question him. In fact, he hardly seemed to notice.
Attending a party dressed like a King-Kong-sized banana was not a problem either. Sure, he may have stood out among last year’s many Sarah Palins, but after a few goblets of witch’s brew I imagine he began to blend right in.
No, the problem came the next morning when Otis, still dressed as a banana, woke up at a (female) friend’s house, nowhere near his home. His friend did not pass judgment on Otis for staying overnight on her couch wrapped up in a yellow foam – and surprisingly realistic-looking – peel. That is a true friend. A truer friend would have discretely driven Otis back to his car, but this friend did not own transportation.
The best she could do was loan Otis $2.25 for the bus and send him on his way.
Otis contemplated his next move. While the $2.25 was most helpful, as Otis had left his wallet behind at one of the haunts from the night before, a change of clothes might have come in just as handy.
For some reason, however, the thought of changing into a girl’s clothes was out of the question. That would have completely stripped my brother of his dignity.
And so off to the bus stop Otis went, wearing black tights, a black t-shirt, and an overgrown banana peel.
He arrived at the stop just as the bus was pulling away, taunting him into running after it, waving his arms and yelling, unconcerned with the stares he was receiving on the streets of Chicago in the early hours of November 1st.
Fortunately the bus slowed down, and Otis, the Man-Sized Banana, hopped on, breathing heavy from the short run and was greeted by a busload of awe-struck passengers and one crying toddler.
“They started yelling at me to slow down for the banana,” the bus driver said, pointing to the people behind him.
Otis chose a seat near the middle.
One passenger was sympathetic to his plight, though. A young guy who leaned across the aisle to Otis and simply patted him on the back saying, “It’s okay, man. Everyone’s done the banana walk of shame at some point.”
I like to think there is a special place in heaven for people like Sympathetic Bus Guy.
So remember this year, when November 1st rolls around, to be kind to those still in costume from the night before. For you know not their struggles. But feel free to photograph, otherwise no one will believe your story. Which is why I have just one more detail to add before bidding you a happy, happy Halloween: