For Pacific troops, Halloween’s all about the gear
October 24, 2006
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — When you were a kid, Halloween candy was free and costumes were either cute or scary. Sometimes both.
Halloween for adults is a whole different house of wax. No longer can you trick-or-treat with a pillowcase in hand, change costumes, then hit the same houses again, Lance Cpl. Daniel Erker from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni bemoaned Monday at Yokosuka. Then again — costume planning is simpler when you’re a grownup. Erker’s Halloween attire now consists of things lying around the house, he said.
“One year I cut a hole in a keg of beer,” Erker said. “I have no idea what I’m going to be this year, but I’ll probably put together some random parts and figure something out.”
Cpl. Cristin Bartter, also from MCAS Iwakuni, says she’ll be delving into her closet for inspiration. She’ll don her “BCGs,” military slang for “birth control glasses” for the virtually indestructible eyewear worn during boot camp, and go as a Marine recruit, she said.
“Halloween costumes get more humorous as you get older,” Bartter said. “Now it’s just an excuse to party and get together with friends. It’s a chance to show off your creativity and have fun. It isn’t about being scary as much as it is about having a good time.”
But Spc. Jessica Felts hasn’t given up on “scary” just yet. Frightening people will be the 21-year-old veterinary technician’s job this weekend at the Ikego West Valley Campground’s Haunted Forest event. She’s making a scary costume: “Sally” from the film “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
“I get just as excited about Halloween now as I did when I was a kid,” Felts said. “I love the thrill — I’m an adrenaline junkie.”
As of Monday afternoon, only one costume remained at Yokosuka’s Navy Exchange — a testament to the holiday’s popularity among adults and kids alike, said Rusti Rausch, NEX operations manager for the Japan district.
“We probably sold 250-300 assorted adult costumes, candy sales go up 25 percent and this is one of the biggest decorating holidays of the year — second only to Christmas,” Rausch said.
Retailers are treated well this holiday, according to the National Retail Federation, with 64 percent of American consumers celebrating Halloween — a 10 percent jump over last year, Rausch added. It’s the sixth largest spending holiday, pretty impressive considering there is no gift giving involved, she said.
Chundric Terrell’s family doesn’t do Halloween for religious reasons, but the 33-year-old Defense Department civilian still has a costume picked out for someday, he said.
“I’m too old for Halloween, but if I did dress up, I’d go with the ’70s look — big afro, platform shoes and bellbottoms,” Terrell said.
And if adults don’t want to pick their own costume, they have the luxury of living vicariously through their kids, said dependent Brynn Woods, 24. Her 2-year old son will hit the streets of Ikego as a skunk, she said.
“When I was small I’d get really excited about Halloween,” Woods said. “Now I look forward to dressing him up.”
All things considered, there’s only one downside of being an adult at Halloween, Bartter said:
“Now we have to stand in the check-out line and buy our own candy. I loved running up to each house and trick-or-treating as a kid. But once you get past a certain age, people start looking at you funny.”