My Little Parasite

Every year, my husband and I look forward to Halloween. We plan for months in advance to make sure that we have cool (though sometimes obscure) costumes. One year we went as characters from children’s books — he was the man in the yellow hat from Curious George and I was Madeline. Another year we went as “evil” characters — he was a punk Grim Reaper with a real scythe (don’t ask) and I dressed up as Gogo Yubari from the Kill Bill movies. That was a great year, despite the fact that we went a little overboard with the authentic look for my costume, and he ended up with a bleeding gouge in his head from my spiked ball-and-chain accessory. He blames me, I blame the whiskey.

Unfortunately, for the past two years, we’ve let ourselves get behind the eight ball with regard to our Halloween costumes. In 2005, we moved from California to Pennsylvania. Short on time and energy, I ended up being a vampire (I have a lot of black clothes to choose from and just needed to buy teeth) and he ended up being Evil Spock from Star Trek’s “Mirror, Mirror” universe (it was a spare costume we had on hand — again, don’t ask). In 2006, we’d just bought a house and we slacked off again. He was a pirate and I was a vampire, again. 2007 just had to be different. Then, two weeks after St. Patrick’s Day, I got pregnant.

Halloween choices are limited when you’re of the female persuasion. You can choose from: slutty nurse, slutty cop, slutty doctor, slutty maid, slutty witch...sense a trend here, folks? Even for our adolescent daughters, Halloween costumes are getting more and more sexualized. I guess it’s not just Halloween, though — don’t even get me started on the whole Bratz phenomenon.

There are some subsets of womankind, however, that are spared this focus on sex appeal. The pregnant woman happens to be one of those subsets. Never mind that I find this to be both a blessing and a curse — why does being pregnant automatically disqualify you from the ranks of the sexy? The point is that instead of opening up a whole new field of choices, it limits your choices even further.

Search for “pregnant Halloween costumes” on the Internet, and you’ll get as many hits as if you’d searched for online porn. But the difference (or similarity, depending on your perspective) is that each click of your mouse takes you to a website that looks similar to the last. Apparently, as a pregnant woman, you have to resign yourself to the following choices: painting your protruding belly to resemble a pumpkin (or other round object), dressing up as a knocked up fill-in-the-blank (i.e., cheerleader, nun, famous starlet à la Britney Spears), “hiding” the belly in a full-body costume (like a clown), or crapping out and just wearing a T-shirt on which some underage sweatshop worker bedazzled the word “Boo.” Because you’re pregnant, you don’t even get the benefit of being able to drink away your shame over your piss-poor costume choice! Now that, my friends, is a crime.

By October 1, I was feeling pretty morose about the whole Halloween affair. I was looking forward to the party a friend was throwing and to seeing some friends who were coming in from out of town, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little depressed about not being able to come up with a spectacular costume idea (and, okay, also about being the only sober adult on Halloween). Then, an inconspicuous cardboard box arrived in the mail, addressed to my husband.

To preface, throughout my entire pregnancy I have been prone to referring (affectionately, of course) to my unborn daughter as “my little parasite.” Apparently, this inspired my husband, and he found a plush “chestburster” toy (from the movie Alien) on the Internet. A $1 thrift-store shirt, fabric paint, and some space-age–looking clothes I already owned completed what I considered to be the best Halloween costume I had ever worn. On Halloween, I celebrated the festivities with Violet (the name that both my unborn daughter and the plush chestburster alien now share) emerging from my chest amidst black, red, and glow-in-the-dark neon-green blood and guts.

Before we ended up at our friend’s house party (where, I might add, the pregnant lady outlasted half of the party’s attendees), we’d stopped into the Jekyll and Hyde, a Halloween-themed bar in Pittsburgh. Excuse my immodesty, but I had the best costume among the ladies and gents alike. Still, I’m sure I would have lost the 1 a.m. costume contest to the slutty pirate or slutty flight attendant, or maybe even the slutty Red Riding Hood. Oh, the injustice of it all.

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