If you’re a regular reader of my posts here (bless your heart), you know that I spent last week, along with three generations of my family, at Walt Disney World. We make a pilgrimage about once a year, and most of our last few trips have taken place on our local school system’s fall break. Going this time of year has afforded us the chance to go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
For the uninitiated, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is a special event at the Magic Kingdom that requires a separate ticket. Cast members usher non-party guests out of the park at 7:00, and the fun begins – including special parades and fireworks, trick-or-treating for everyone, and, most importantly, shorter lines for attractions.
Sunday afternoon, we set off for the Magic Kingdom, with my nieces dolled up in their costumes. My sister and brother-in-law put their girls in cute, late summer dresses inspired by Minnie Mouse and Snow White – not the actual replicas, mind you, but stylized dresses – while my brother and sister-in-law dressed their daughter as a hula girl. It didn’t take long for us to find out that those costumes were mere child’s play compared to some of the adults we saw.
Before I go any further, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve never really been a costume kind of guy, and Halloween was never a big deal for us growing up. I grew up in a rural area, and few of our neighbors bothered with candy, so we just didn’t make a big deal of the whole costume and trick-or-treat thing. Besides, at Walt Disney World, I’m all about comfort. At the party, I wore a Haunted Mansion themed T-shirt that netted me quite a few compliments, thank you very much. But enough about me.
The first real head-turning (or head-scratching) costume we saw belonged to a guy we saw on the ferry from the Transportation & Ticket Center. Keep in mind that the time was about 3:30 in the afternoon, and the temperature was 87 degrees. The guy’s wife or girlfriend wore a fairly standard witch costume, but he dressed as a scarecrow, covered in burlap from his neck to his feet (remember…87 degrees). I knew as soon as I saw him that we were in for some wacky sights at the party. I only wish I’d been able to get some photos of them.
I kept finding my mind blown by the inappropriateness of some of the costumes. The party was pretty clearly a family event – and Disney bills it as such – but that fact didn’t stop some women (many of whom had no business dressing the way they did) wearing sexed-up takes on Disney characters. Sexy Alice in Wonderland was a common choice for some odd reason. One allegedly sexy Alice (whose costume was so tight she must have put it on three years ago) arrived with a guy in costume as the live action Mad Hatter to such detail that Johnny Depp would have told him, “I think that’s too much.”
Food costumes were a big theme this year too. If I saw one woman dressed as a fried egg, I saw enough to fill a grocery store shelf. Several folks wore impossibly hot bacon costumes – I’m not sure how they didn’t fry. One couple showed up as salt and pepper shakers, and my sister in law finally figured out what they were two days later (“What were the guy in black and the woman in white supposed to be?”).
A number of families donned similar costumes or themed their costumes together. I have to give props to the family who wore matching baseball uniforms, though they were overshadowed by the family of at least 12 who dressed as the 101 Dalmatians, give or take 90 or so. (Or were they cows?) My favorites were this massive guy in his 20s with the build of a football player who arrived in Wreck It Ralph attire accompanied by his elderly grandfather in Fix-It Felix garb.
One trend in particular baffled me. I saw several families where the parents arrived decked out, while their kids wore regular clothes. The idea of parents going all out to adorn themselves in one costume or another but go to no trouble to dress their kids just stuns me. I also saw couples around my parents’ age dressed in costume with no kids travelling with them – and theirs were some of the most elaborate disguises.
But I’ve saved the best – sorry, the worst – for last. Two costumes took the cake as the most disturbing ones I saw all night. One woman showed up dressed as a white cat. Now I’m not talking a cute little headband with ears and a tail pinned to the back of a short skirt. I’m talking full blown, make-the-cast-of-Cats-blush verisimilitude. I couldn’t tell where the body suit ended and the makeup began, and to make matters worse, she moved as much like a cat as one can on two legs. The costume wasn’t so much cute and creepy as it was unnerving.
Another, um, gentleman turned up in a caveman costume. It was a pretty standard caveman costume – one piece garment shredded in just the right spots with a headband and belt in an animal print – with one glaring difference: it was alarmingly short, and he wasn’t wearing pants. I still shudder thinking about how close I was to his tighty whities while I was sitting on the bench at Casey Jr’s Splash & Soak Station and he walked by.
This was my second time attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and, though I like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party better, I’ve enjoyed my time at these events. Other than great family time at the Magic Kingdom, I took away from the Party a sense of an almost dumbfounded awe at the lengths adults will go to dress up for Halloween. Maybe it’s a chance to relive childhood memories, or maybe it’s a sense of mischief that drives them, but I don’t guess I’ll ever truly understand it.