Somewhere in early October, kids start asking me, "Mister Caven, what are you going to be for Halloween?" Not a bad line of questioning since it puts off the what I want for Christmas discussion for a month or so. I have a pair of standard answers. One of them goes something like this: "Oh, I don't know. Something really scary. Like a teacher." That last bit is delivered with as much menace as I can manage, depending on the time of day. The second is much more off the cuff. When someone asks me what I am going to be for Halloween, I tell them "late."
Eventually I stumble home and start to consider my options. Twenty-two years of hanging around a playground on Halloween will give one a bit of a closet when it comes to potential costumes. All of which tosses me back into that bin of "you are what you wear." There was a time when I thought that I could be the cool teacher who wore Hawaiian shirts to school every day. And my Converse hi-tops. That notion was abruptly torn asunder by a principal who insisted on a "professional manner of dress" from her staff. That's when the shirts with collars and khakis started to fill my wardrobe, and became my "school clothes." The Hawaiian shirts made an annual appearance during Spirit Week on Wacky Tacky Day.
Later, when I got a gig teaching PE once a week, I was able to trot out a T shirt from my vast collection, giving special consideration to keeping the slogan and images kid-friendly. This year that role has been expanded to three days a week, so my polo shirt gets a rest and I can be more of what I truly am through my selection of concert, sports, and pop culture outerwear, careful not to slip and sneak that Texas Chainsaw Massacre shirt in there accidentally.
Which leaves me with the conundrum of how to dress on Halloween. I thought about the idea I have circled around several times over the years: Growing a goatee and go as "The Evil Mister Caven." In 2018, that Star Trek reference may be a stretch too far for most of the students and their twenty-something teachers. Then there's this: Because of the nature of the day, we wait until after lunch to put on our costumes for the parade we are going to make around the block. This year, that will take place around one o'clock and conclude somewhere around one thirty. It's a minimum day, so kids will be sent home somewhat abruptly after that. This means all of this speculation and consideration will be for the benefit of half an hour.
And the photos that will be posted on the bulletin boards and uploaded to our web site and Facebook. So I guess it had better be good.