I thought I’d take a break from Vengeance Upon the Dust (it looks like the story will finish up Halloween Month) and provide something a little lighter before the month was out.

I had intended to do a big retrospective on the history of my Halloween costumes over the years, starting when I was a wee tyke, but it looks like I’ll have to save that for next year (which is good, since I can pretty much guarantee I won’t be doing this again—so it’s good to have a big-ticket item to run next October). I’ve been so busy I didn’t even get a chance to carve a pumpkin.

So instead, I thought I’d provide you with a photo of the costumes DG and I wore to a Halloween party last night…and the lengths to which I went in the name of costume accuracy.

DG and I didn’t decide on our costumes until pretty late in the season. A few weeks ago, DG stayed home sick and watched a bunch of On-Demand stuff. One of them was the Scooby-Doo movie (which, along with its sequel, I am willing to call “not that bad” and in fact, “pretty funny at times”). I walked in while she was watching it and commented that Fred and Daphne would be pretty easy costumes to make, plus it would be a theme. DG liked the idea, but what really won her over was my promise that I would bleach my hair. (For some reason, DG has a thing for bottle-blond hair.)

Now, I had bleached my hair before. I did it during college and it went fine. My hair was fairly short and it grew out in about a month, and it looked pretty good during the intermediate “frosted” stage. However, Fred has a fairly poofy coiffure, so to be accurate to the costume, I would have to get quite a bit of my hair bleached.

DG had recently gotten a haircut at a place down the street. On her recommendation, I went down there on my day off last week to get the bleaching done. Now, this wasn’t Supercuts or one of those franchise places; this was just a small salon in Brighton. Primarily a women’s salon, I think. Ordinarily I get my hair cut by the local barber, complete with uncomfortable anecdotes about his teenaged sexual escapades and constant (and often welcome) interruptions by townies. At 11 AM on a Thursday, however, this salon was deserted except for two female employees and one patron.

I walked up to the desk where an older woman was sitting and said I wanted to turn my hair blond. She responded, in a thick Slavic accent, whether I wanted highlights. I said no, I wanted to turn the whole thing blond. She took my name and I assumed I would simply sit down and wait for the competent-looking woman cutting the other patron’s hair to finish, but no; the older woman, who had already had significant trouble understanding me, got up and led me over to a chair.

She then asked me a few times how “white” I wanted my hair. I emphasized that I did not want “white” hair, just blond, or rather a kind of cartoon-ish yellow. I’m 100% certain she had no idea what I was saying when I said “cartoonish yellow,” but she seemed to get the gist. She then disappeared somewhere in the back, leaving me staring at my admittedly handsome reflection for about ten minutes. She reappeared with a cart, a bowl of white goo, a tool not unlike that rubber spatula-thing used for cake decorating, and the sort of gloves one would expect to wear when handling radioactive material.

The woman then proceeded to slather on the peroxide in great heaps into my hair. Initially this went well. About five minutes into it, my scalp began to tingle, and it was at that point I remembered: peroxide hurts. A lot. I made a half-hearted joke about the stinging; the woman nodded but said nothing. By the time the woman had finished applying the peroxide, my scalp was on fire and all visible hair had already turned a fairly bright yellow. At that point, the woman said something to the effect of, “It might hurt a little,” though I was still having some trouble with her accent, so it’s possible she was saying, “Is it safe?”

Now, I vaguely remembered my previous bleaching taking maybe twenty minutes. As I said, my hair already looked pretty yellow. But the woman then put a plastic shower cap on my head, stuck my head into a hair dryer and left me there. After about five minutes of exquisite pain from both the stinging and the heat, I decided to blow $8 on Tetris for my cell phone. (On a side note, EA has apparently contracted to create the mobile version of Tetris, and the design is so mind-blowingly overdone that it took me almost five minutes to figure out what the hell was going on—it has this crazy science fiction theme that manages to make one of the world’s simplest games utterly confusing.)

After what I assumed was an eternity but was actually fifteen minutes, the woman freed me from the dryer and pulled off the shower cap. I assumed the worst was over, but I hadn’t counted on the utter torture that is the salon shampoo. I leaned my head back over the sink, and by the time five minutes of shampoo, conditioner, and rinsing were over, I was sincerely wishing I didn’t have a neck and counting myself lucky I hadn’t passed out from the strain of holding up my head.

Finally, after some final snipping, I was the proud owner of a shockingly bright head of hair. I was actually pretty bothered by it initially. It was a lot brighter than I’d intended, and the thing is I had known that was going to be the result as soon as I’d come to understand how little of what I saying my hairdresser understood. I went back to our apartment and called DG, informing her of my ordeal. I then sent her a picture and she assured me gleefully that it was not too yellow and that it looked good. She then demanded I send another picture, this time without the angry grimace. (That’s the one at right.)

I’ve gotten used to it now, and it did turn out perfect for Fred (see below). I feel good knowing I went the extra mile for my Halloween costume, and DG seems to like the hair. What amused me most was how few people at my job commented on it. My co-workers did, of course, but everyone else—the students and professors who come in to the library—seemed completely unfazed. Does this mean I give complete strangers the impression that I’m the type of person to turn my hair platinum-blond at the drop of a hat?

Anyway, other than the $40 bleaching, the only other thing I had to buy was a $3 scarf to play the role of Fred’s ascot. DG’s outfit was assembled primarily at the Garment District, with a headband from Target and a scarf we found at a mall kiosk.

Those meddling kids
  1. Freddie Prinze WHO???

    You, my friend, are the true embodiment of Fred. Great costume and great effort getting it assembled.

    I am most impressed!!!

  2. BTW You and I must think alike. I had a similar idea in mind (post Halloween costume pics). Mine is actually not a retrospective of my personal costumes – just a collage of friends over the last few years – including my first ever video clips. Look for that tomorrow – along with my Top 5 Scary Movies.

  3. Kate left a comment on October 30, 2006 at 9:14 am



  4. John left a comment on October 30, 2006 at 9:46 am

    Awesome costume …

  5. Mollie left a comment on October 31, 2006 at 1:02 am

    You are the cutest ever. Well done, and well done doubly for surviving the peroxide torture!

    Keep the blonde! At least til Christmas! It’s adorable!

  6. Mumma left a comment on October 31, 2006 at 8:32 pm

    Hey! That was the color of you hair unril you were about 8!!

  7. Look at Ed pimping his blog over here…

    Great job on the costumes J+K. I have a friend at work that did the same with her husband a few years ago, but you guys totally kicked their @sses.

  8. @Sean – I’m shilling for Skoal over on your site tomorrow. I don’t use the stuff (never touched tobacky or a drug in my life) but hey, anything for a buck, Chuck.

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