14 Costumes in 14 Hours

14 Costumes in 14 Hours

By Madeleine Cain

Most days, I'm just a humble bookseller. You might not even notice me at first, lost in the shelves, trapped behind a pair of thick reading glasses.

This isn't most days.

This is Halloween, and today, I can be anybody. Indeed, now that I have a brand-new pair of contact lenses, today I'll be everybody. My goal is to wear 14 different Halloween costumes — one every hour. It won't be easy; it took days of planning — packing my bags, layering my outfits, stashing accessories throughout the bookstore — but I think I'm ready.

On a day like today, everything can change.

The only thing I won't be changing today are my new contacts — with OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH® solution, I've got enough moisture to back me up all 14 hours.

I'll be jotting notes as I go — my trials and tribulations, my successes (and inevitable slipups), and all the reactions along the way.

Wish me luck!

Hour 1 (8am – 9am)

14 costumes

Costume: Hausfrau

Notes from the field:

Mud mask maybe not such a good idea — can't move face now that it's hardened. Speaking makes me look like a bad ventriloquist. At least my pores will be squeaky clean?

Wig w/ fake rollers is super itchy, and I'm getting heatstroke from the big, fluffy robe. And I thought this would be a nice comfy costume to start the day.

Ringing up customers in this getup very irritating. Someone asked if I was the Bride of Frankenstein. Thanks so much.

Hour 2 (9am – 10am)

14 costumes

Costume: Fisherman

Notes from the field:

Much better. Big yellow slicker cumbersome but easy to wear. Quickly ditched itchy beard (What do they make those out of? Rat hair?) when asked if I was God during the Great Flood. Guess a fishing pole would have helped.

Customer guesses now running 50% fisherman, 50% horror movie villain. Do they even wear rainslickers? Thought that was a flasher.

Hour 3 (10am – 11am)

14 costumes

Costume: Wizard

Notes from the field:

Am now very easy to find in the store among the bookshelves...just look for tall pointy hat. Wizard robes just as hot as bathrobe but more flattering w/ stylish bell sleeves. Wand doubles as backscratcher in a pinch.

Next person to call me 'Hermione' gets ballpoint pen in the throat.

When customers approached automatic door, waved wand & cried, "It's MAGIC!" Most severely underwhelmed.

Hour 4 (11am – 12pm)

14 costumes

Costume: Doctor

Notes from the field:

Very puzzled why doctor costumes always include big shiny thing on forehead — have never seen real doctor with such a thing. Would not trust any doctor that did.

Stethoscope fun excuse to examine cute coworker as I check his cardiovascular health. Diagnosed him with chronic heartache & prescribed 20cc of drinks w/ me after work.

Customers enjoying nametag... Fun to get help finding a book from Dr. Feelgood.

Hour 5 (12pm – 1pm)

14 costumes

Costume: Mad Scientist

Notes from the field:

Same coat, new nametag… Customers now getting help from Dr. Sinister. Big bright blue rubber gloves make typing difficult, lab coat caught in ladies' room door. Nobody said supervillainy was going to be easy.

Taken to laughing manically when customers hand over credit card. Got a talk from the manager.

Thick goggles remind me of my old reading glasses — don't think I'll be going back to those any time soon. Contacts still feeling great!

Clueless customer thought wild bird's nest wig was my real hair. Not sure how to take that.

Hour 6 (1pm – 2pm)

14 costumes

Costume: Construction Worker

Notes from the field:

Thank goodness, back in jeans and a t-shirt. Toolbelt very handy for carrying coffee & hand scanner. Considering clumsy nature, perhaps should start wearing helmet all the time.

Poorly shelved book glances off head minutes later, proving my point.

Best perk? License to wolf-whistle at cute co-worker. It's nice to be the one whistling for a change.

When register malfunctions, pretend to hit it w/ my mallet. Another glare from the manager.

Hour 7 (2pm – 3pm)

14 costumes

Costume: Cowgirl

Notes from the field:

With this costume have reached 33% Village People saturation. Alert the authorities!

10 gallon hat does not hold that much liquid. Or any liquid for that matter. At least mopping up the break room in spurs made me feel like a country song.

Was almost hoping for shoplifters, so I could try out my lasso. Instead, a little kid managed to steal my water pistol & squirt me in the face. I'm no Doc Holliday.

Hour 8 (3pm – 4pm)

14 costumes

Costume: Valley Girl

Notes from the field:

Can't believe this look was ever cool. Platform shoes, shoulder pads, leg warmers, headband — all in colors so bright even dogs can see them.

Enjoy costumes that come w/ funny accents, though. Bought an old brick-style cell phone & pretend to gossip with my gal pals. Coworkers starting to look at me funny (as if the first 7 costumes didn't do it).

Customers getting into it now, saying "gag me with a spoon" when I tell them their total. Tubular, dude.

Hour 9 (4pm – 5pm)

14 costumes

Costume: Firefigher

Notes from the field:

Dying of heat. Too uncomfortable to care about the irony even.

Firefighter coat way worse than fluffy bathrobe, and helmet not as light as you'd think. Had to borrow real coat from cousin. Couldn't have gotten much lighter costume version, nooooo. Had to be authentic.

Someone on staff thought it'd be funny to put "Burning Down the House" on the PA system for me. Wish I'd gotten the authentic axe to go w/ everything else.

Hour 10 (5pm – 6pm)

14 costumes

Costume: Ghost

Notes from the field:

Riding the bus home, thought traditional sheet-with-holes over clothes would be simplest. My mistake.

Unable to see my feet, I tripped on bus steps, falling into lap of booze-soaked crazy person muttering to himself about Elvis. Hope he doesn't think I'm his ghost. After all, Elvis is still alive, right?

Insult to injury: Passing kids called my costume lame. Feel a bit like Charlie Brown at Halloween. "I got a rock."

Hour 11 (6pm – 7pm)

14 costumes

Costume: Schoolgirl

Notes from the field:

Big improvement over the ghost. Little plaid skirt & pigtails a good look for me. Not very well designed for the fall weather, though, is it? Why don't they make sexy Eskimo costumes?

Bigger problem: Everyone thinks I'm supposed to be Britney Spears. Come on, guys — she's like 30 now.

Friends at dinner very appreciative of the look, however. Particularly James & Brad. Chewing's easier w/ your mouth closed, fellas.

Hour 12 (7pm – 8pm)

14 costumes

Costume: Nurse

Notes from the field:

Part of me thinks this seems like a demotion from my earlier doctor costume. Not sure everyone agrees, though — getting lots of looks at this party. Helllooooo, nurse!

Yet another costume not grounded in reality, though. When's the last time any nurse wore a little white hat or tights or a short white dress? Seems impractical, w/ all the blood & various other things that stain.

Took charge of handing shots out to partygoers: "Don't worry — this won't hurt a bit."

Hour 13 (8pm – 9pm)

14 costumes

Costume: Hippie

Notes from the field:

Feeling trippy, man. And I mean that literally. Between long fringed suede vest, beads, scarves and broomstick skirt have had many opportunities to catch myself on stuff. Already ripped skirt twice.

Still, I'm all about spreading the love — esp. since this exhausting experiment is almost over, and I'm almost down to my final costume!

Best of all, no need for my rose-colored glasses — my contacts are still flying high, 13 hours in!

Hour 14 (9pm – 10pm)

14 costumes

Costume: Vampire

Notes from the field:

Number of people offering to buy me a glass of blood: 4. Number of people talking to me in corny Dracula accent: 6. Number of guys who've asked to see my fangs: Countless thousands.

Still, you can't go wrong with a foxy vampire, right? Hope cute co-worker agrees… we're meeting for drinks after party.

As a creature of the night (and an OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH® solution convert), I may still have a few hours left in me yet!

Happy Halloween!

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