It was October and my friend, Lance, had invited me to a costume party in the ritzy part of Boston that a friend of his friend was hosting. Of course I was excited, but politely declined when I saw the entry fee of one hundred fifty dollars. However, Lance was determined to go and begged me to join him. He used every form of bribery there was beginning with stating there was a cash prize of 10,000 dollars for the most authentic and realistic costume and ending with his offer to pay for me to go. He should have started by waving my fee because the moment he did I was in.
Knowing that there were large cash prizes at stake I quickly began planning my costume. I scoured Pinterest for “original costume ideas” which actually really defeats the purpose so I switched to “semi-original costume ideas” and eventually found a winner. After scrolling through images of trolls, aliens, and girls dressed as nerds I finally found a costume that spoke to my true identity. I wanted to be a giant green pickle. I could already imagine being called to center stage, the lights glistening of my slightly sweating green form as I accepted a giant check made out to Pickle Girl.
The entire month any free time I had was spent getting supplies or fashioning my costume out of cardboard, green plastics and paint, but it was all time well spent because the moment I finished I had the most realistic looking pickle costume the world would ever see. I was fifty shades of green, glistening and juicy. Mastering the art of hot glue I was able to fake a “right out of the jar” look topped with a pickle scented perfume to really seal the deal. For the final week leading up to the party I soaked myself in a salty brine every night before bed to truly understand what it was like to be a pickle. I was going to win 10,000 dollars no matter what it took.
October 30th rolled around and it was finally the night of the party. With the directions typed into google maps I got into the car and drove through an hour of traffic in a clammy pickle costume to the location of the party. From the outside the building was glorious. The front stairs were covered in an elegant red carpet and outside the door were two royal looking house guards like you see in all of those princess movies. Ones with giant plumage sticking out of their royal beehive powdered wig hair. Hoisting up the bottom of my pickle suit I ascended the steps slowly, my eyes glued on each stair before me so that if I had slipped I’d be able to catch myself instead of rolling back into the street. I was not going to be the front headline of the news the following morning to forever be known as the giant rolling pickle that caused a three car pile up in Boston.
Once I arrived at the front door one of the guards scoffed at me. The guard on the left had a fake snooty British royalty accent as he spoke condescendingly to me.
“Excuse me sir, or ma’am… but you need a ticket to get into the party.”
“I do have a ticket.”
I pulled out a large online printed ticket Lance had given me, with VIP access since I was a friend of a friend’s friend who hosted the whole shindig. The guard snatched my ticket and looked at me with confusion.
“And that’s pickle to you.” I quickly added to assert my authority.
Handing the ticket back he gave a short hesitant nod to the guard opposite him and the two reached for the giant doorknobs pulling the massive wooden doors apart. It was when the doors opened that I noticed something was slightly off.
The room was made of decadence characterized by ornate high ceilings painted in gold, turn of the century vases, and paintings painted by the gods themselves. Everywhere around me were hoop skirts, feathers, large fifteen pound wigs and porcelain masks. While my eyes were drawn to the sheer opulence of the room while everyone else’s were drawn to my less lavish and drippy pickle body. I saw Lance in the crowd beside me, but of course I couldn’t tell until he lowered his mask where I saw that same look of disappointment, shock, and embarrassment you might get if you worked really hard on a pickle costume and then showed up to the Halloween costume party to realize it’s not a Halloween costume party at all, but a masquerade ball.
Lance quickly ushered me to a coat room at the back of the party hall.
“What are you doing? Wha-what is this?” he whisper shouted at me.
“Well, I think it’s quite clear that I’m a pickle, Lance.”
He slapped his palms to his face and slowly slid them down the side of his cheeks making himself look like one of those folks in an expressionist painting with the long contorted almost melting faces.
“Oh my god.” He had reached a loss of words. He began pacing back and forth in the tiny broom cupboard before he came up with a slightly reasonable idea for what to do with me.
“Come with me” he aggressively whispered as he grabbed my wrist and dragged me out of the closet and into the kitchen.
I stood in the kitchen alone for about twenty minutes while Lance talked with the caterers. During that time I admired myself in a mirror by the front door that the servers used to touch up their appearance before they hit the event floor. My costume was really well done, I couldn’t deny that. When Lance returned to me he was holding a large silver platter lined with little white cups. He instructed me that there were spicy dill pickle poppers.
I roamed around the party for the remainder of the night carrying the platter of pickle appetizers in one hand and a stack of napkins in the other. Thankfully the pickles were delicious and every guest I visited commented happily about my costume marveling over how realistic or creative it was. Finally, the night reached its end and the costume awards were to be announced. Lance’s friend of a friend stood at center stage with a microphone and a giant check made out for 10,000 dollars. I waited patiently hoping that by some chance I’d win first place in this masquerade costume contest.
“First place goes to Marcy Davis for her outstanding replication of Queen Elizabeth II’s royal ball gown.” The crowd cheered as Marcy carefully made her way up the stage in her giant wobbly chicken wire petticoat.
I can’t say I was heartbroken because I knew I wasn’t going to win, but the night was still filled with a bit of disappointment until Lance’s friend of a friend got back on the microphone.
“Although it’s the end of the night I just want to give a special shout of to the chefs for the amazing meals they provided for us tonight.” The audience began applauding before he could finish.
“And-and… I want to commend them for the lengths they went to with that fantastic pickle costume. Everyone give that pickle waiter a round of applause!”
The crowd cheered for me. I finally got that moment of appreciation I craved, though not how I had originally dreamed it would happen. I stood by the punch table with my silver pickle platter held high and I owned the moment. That night proved to be one of the worst experiences I had ever had, but ended on an upswing when I received the recognition I truly deserved. I even made out with a little extra cash when the catering company asked to buy the costume from me for a couple hundred bucks.