This is Halloween.

People usually get the impression that I really like Halloween for some reason.  Not sure if it’s just because of my ridiculous nature or the random antics I pull from time to time that perhaps, when extrapolated, can be loosely related to the mischief which is associated with Halloween.  Regardless why it may be, when it comes close to Halloween time, friends always seem to have relatively high hopes and expectations in seeing what I’ll do, in terms of costume or anything event related.

It’s not really disappointment, but mostly a look of confusion that I get when I tell them that I’m actually not that into Halloween other than just really liking The Nightmare Before Christmas.  I don’t really like dressing in costume, and when you take that away, Halloween is mostly just a good reason to have fun in whatever way you want, which is what I try to do all the time anyways. 

However, this has been an exciting year of changes and revelations.  For this reason, I wanted to give Halloween a serious try.  I got super excited about our company party, but most importantly of all, I really wanted an awesome costume.

After a while of contemplating, and going through highs and lows of wanting a full body fox costume and realizing how hard it would be to find one my size, I was falling back into my old habit of “let me just wear my old rave clothes and call that a costume.”

I tried going back in my mind to previous Halloweens and thinking of any cool costumes I remembered.  Most I quickly brushed off assuming that they just wouldn’t work for me.  Finally, I remembered a costume my friend Dat had last year.  He was a Pinterest board - in other words, had several pictures pinned on his shirt.

I remember really liking his costume, but I didn’t quite understand why at the time, but it hit me now: interactivity.  It wasn’t just a costume you’d look at and admire, but rather, the viewer could participate.  They could add their own photo to his shirt.

I now had a new goal: an interactive costume.  I’d like to say that it took me a really long time to come up with the idea from here, but I was in a point in my life where this concept resonated with me so strongly that it came to me immediately: I would be a personification of Post Secret.

For those of you who don’t know what Post Secret is, it is “an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard” which are then posted on the website.  I was actually really surprise to find out how many people didn’t know about it, but it just made me that much happier to meet someone that got it right away.

So what does that mean in terms of a costume?  I decided to wear mostly black and carry fabric markers with me asking people to write their secrets or confessions onto my clothes.  I quickly bought some pants and a shirt from a thrift shop as well as suspenders and a tie.  I decided to use my fedora as a sign post to give people a clue as to what I was.  My costume was complete, or rather, more like “ready.”

Since Halloween fell on a Thursday this year, there were parties and events going on both the weekend prior and the weekend after.  I decided to wear my costume on Friday and Saturday night on the prior week, as well as Thursday all day.  I walked around the streets, asking not just my friends and acquaintances, but strangers, baristas at coffee shops, waiters, drivers, and anyone that seemed even mildly interested if they’d like to post a secret on me.  Though sometimes impossible, I tried my best to keep the person’s identity anonymous to myself, and made sure to not survey what was written on me until the very end.

Though I really loved the idea of the costume, my expectations were very low.  You can’t really stop people from simply using you as a human blackboard where they’d write on me any nonsensical thing.  And though there was a fair share of people that drew penises or left their phone numbers, I was really impressed and touched at some of the secrets people left.

I’m afraid my demons will win.
Men have wounded me.  It’s scary.

Here is a couple written over each other:

For 3 years I had to fake it w/ my ex. | I’m having a good time.  It’s weird.

This one is hard to read, as it’s been overpowered by other messages on top of it, but it’s still somewhat decipherable if you look closely:

I make jokes b/c I have no reason to laugh.
I’m secretly a sad person.

And so many more…honestly, I started this project hoping to provide people a safe space for expressing things they have been holding on to, but I never realized the impact it would affect me.  Coming home at the end of the day on Halloween night and taking a look at some of the messages written on me, nearly all for the first time, actually made me tear up.  It was a true reminder that we’re all more than what we make ourselves seem.

Thank you to everyone who shared a secret with me.  I really appreciate you sharing a little vulnerable part of yourselves.

Written on November 18, 2013