Well, it pains me to say this, but you were all right. Yes, I heard all of your concerns but I continued on undeterred. Three Halloween parties. Three. And despite all my efforts, my brilliant costume was an unprecedented flop. The legend of the Gabba Ghoul will go down in history as one of the worst Halloween blunders in my career.

The night began with so much hope. Staring at myself in the mirror with $275 dollars' worth of cured meat stapled to a white robe, I carefully adjusted the Scream mask that I artfully airbrushed in the style of an Italian cold cut. Damn. I was looking good.

Surely the general public would gush over the cleverness of my costume. It was the right time, that's for sure. The Sopranos was back in the pop culture lexicon and after a year of cancelled Halloween parties, people were gathering in person and ready to check out each other's pop-culture-influenced costumes.

“This is gonna be huge,” I whispered to myself, flattening the various cold cuts dangling from my body. Hours later I found myself speeding to the next party, completely shaken to my core. I had become overtaken by the smell of meat and was forced to unroll every window in my car. I assumed it was the salt and nitrates from the cold cuts that had me feeling faint, but looking back now, it's clear it wasn't the smell of salami, it was the stench of failure.

In my defense, I felt I could do no wrong after the Halloween zoom party the year before. My costume, “Tony the Tiger King” had been an unadulterated hit. Screenshots of my elaborate orange and black body paint, sunglasses, and mullet had been all over Instagram for almost a week. The likes and mentions came rolling in and I have to say: It felt good. It felt like the culmination of years upon years of grinding out pop culture Halloween costumes that were wasted on poorly attended house parties or lame work functions. All the toiling had been worth it. The internet opened its large arms and let me into their warm inner sanctum.

So what happened this year? I think it was the pressure. Coming down from Tony The Tiger King took months. I decided to ride the success of the costume and just enjoy the moment before concocting the next great viral Halloween outfit. After all, next year's spooky celebration seemed so far away. But the months passed quickly and I felt like I was in a creative dry spell.

Suddenly it was September and I was sweating bullets. I racked my brain for weeks, the stress got so bad I made the difficult decision to take a leave from my work at the chicken plant. And if anyone knows me, they know that my other passion in life is my work at the chicken plant.

I knew I wanted to go meat-based. It was a gut feeling. My first instinct was David Bo-Loney, my sandwich meat take on David Bowie, but I found the product too slippery to handle and ultimately too unpredictable to apply to my face in the fashion of that Mr. Bowie had on the cover of “Aladdin Sane.” The drawing board was pretty empty when I opened up Twitter for some inspiration. I came across an account that subtitled socialist ideas over Sopranos' screen grabs. I was trying to understand why millions of people followed this account when it hit me. I leapt in the air, knocking all the baloney to the ground, but I didn't care. My meats would be salted, not wet and unpliable. I would be the “Gabba Ghoul.” I RSVP'd to every Halloween party I could find.

The second party was worse than the first. Maybe the Gabba Ghoul was too high-concept. Maybe it's because the homeowner yelled at me when I stained the couch and the chair in the living room when I sat down to relax. These people were basically strangers after all, and I had barged into their home with my cured meat dangling everywhere. Every conversation was the same: me explaining what the costume was, even at one point resorting to writing out on a piece of paper to show how clever it really was. I think I got a few people to check out The Sopranos, but no one laughed, guffawed, or wanted a picture of me. I was in one group photo on Instagram, but the lighting was so bad that I looked like Edgar Winter in a fur coat.

Despite everyone's scorn, I still felt that my creativity should be acknowledged. All the low rent costumes in the house and I was the one made to feel bad? Yeah, cute pirate outfit, Bonnie. Oh! The Joker? Did you get tired of dressing like The Crow, you loser? But in the end, these raging emotions left me nowhere but sucking air through my open car window and feeling bad for myself.

The third party. The one with the dog. I don't even want to talk about that. That animal won't be shitting solid for a week and I'm confined to this goddamn bed till the streptococcus clears up, which is kind of a coincidence because I thought that was an Italian cold cut for the longest time.

So, folks, I'm taking next Halloween off. This is not defeat, though. This is a recharge. I put everything I had into the Gabba Ghoul. My time, my stress, my passions all went into this costume. But next Halloween, do me a favour: Find the person who isn't satisfied buying a costume off of a shelf, even if they missed the mark a bit, and tell them “Good job,” or “I totally get that weird thing you're talking about.” It'll make a world of difference.

This is the Gabba Ghoul signing off.


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