Back in the early 80s, I worked with a bunch of crazy, creative people at an advertising agency in New Orleans. So, when I decided to have a costume party for Halloween at my apartment on Magazine Street, it seemed logical to announce a theme and see what they would come up with.
The first year, 1981, the challenge was to come as a character in a personally modified TV show or movie. Mike T. showed up in a Patton-like costume and announced that he was “General Hospital.” Sid B. and his wife came as characters from “The Best Little Whorehouse on the Prairie.” Alan H. and his wife came in blackface and police uniforms as “Chocolate CHiPS” — which wasn’t the sanest idea for the neighborhood I lived in. I dressed in drag as one of “The Dykes of Hazzard.”
In 1982, I had a “come-as-I-am” party and invited everyone to dress as me. (I don’t recommend this for the thin-skinned.) Some of my guests managed to achieve a reasonable verisimilitude, while others seemed to take a malicious delight in gross exaggeration. Stan S. wore an absurdly long miniature rifle as a tie tack (in imitation of the police-style revolver and handcuff tacks I favored at the time). Linda L. came in khakis with an authentic Jesuit High School bookbag. I, of course, had the most authentic costume.
In 1983, with the New Orleans World’s Fair on the horizon, I asked everyone to come as a World’s Fair attraction. I can’t remember what anyone else was, but my wife-to-be, who was still dating someone else at the time, came as the woman featured on the official World’s Fair Poster, with a working fountain cascading from the top of her head, in accord with the “Waters of the World” theme. I was a video machine in an East European arcade: “Warsaw Pactman.”