We were almost ready for trick-or-treating, but I could tell Shayla wanted to ask something. Her hesitation made it seem unlikely I’d be able to say yes. (No, we can’t take the pet rat with us. No, you can’t unstuff the couch cushons and use the fabric for your outfit. No, no, no….)

I was startled by her actual question: “You don’t think, um, I can’t wear makeup tonight can I?”

Makeup on Halloween seemed so easy, but I’m not a fool. I sensed my advantage and pressed it. “Wow, makeup huh? Well (long, long pause)… I guess you’re old enough to wear makeup with your costume.” It might seem dishonorable, but as the guy who always says no, it’s good to get some mileage from a yes.

After an excited shriek Shayla cried “let’s get the lady makeup from the lady box!”

Ah, the “lady box,” better known as the sad scraps of my drag collection, mixed in with more recent Halloween costumes (big baby, monkey pajamas) in a box in the garage.

I was never a pretty drag queen. Whatever outfit I tried I always ended up looking like Bea Arthur as Maude. And really that’s probably being too generous to me. She looks great here:


bea-arthur-too…so 3 steps below Bea Arthur, at the least. Anyway, most of that stuff is gone, but I have a frock or two, some makeup, and some men’s size 13 red pumps that I never managed to part with. [Late addition: this blurry photo purports to be me in a dress and very big wig. Paul titled it “Daddy’s the one on the left”]

“Did you really wear a dress one Halloween daddy?”

“Oh yes, sweetie. I looked great.”

The blush, eye shadow, and lipstick went quick. Then she found the press-on nails. Again a shriek! What fun.

Then the kids started trying on the huge heels and the wigs. “I can wear these–I can run in these heels!” Shayla shrieked, wobbling around in the giant red shoes.

“No sweetie, sorry. No giant drag queen heels this year.” Gotta hold the line someplace.

But trick-or-treating was a blast, and they brought in a good haul!