My Favorite Childhood Halloween Costume

Before the days of Man vs. Wild, Top Gun wingmen, and Dharma Initiative costumes, there was trick-or-treating. The primary objective was the acquisition of candy needed to last until Christmas. Costumes were simply the currency we exchanged for the candy.

I honestly don’t remember a lot of my childhood Halloween costumes, but a few stand out. My mom made elaborate Native American costumes one year, and there was another year when I made a very constricting robot costume out of a large box.

But looking back, I most affectionately remember dressing up as a Japanese businessman.

Yes, a Japanese businessman. Right now you should be asking yourself three questions:

  1. Why would a kid dress up as a businessman?
  2. Why a Japanese businessman?
  3. How did he pull it off without offending the neighborhood?

You may know that I studied abroad in Japan. But you probably don’t know that I started studying Japanese in seventh grade. My perception of Japan was that of a bustling economy with cool technology, so who better to represent the country than a Japanese businessman? (In hindsight, I don’t know why I didn’t choose a samurai, or, even better, a ninja.)

Perhaps my mother will scan a photo of me in the costume so you can see that there was nothing Japanese about it at all [update: she sent it!]. I was dressed in my first Communion suit and carried a briefcase. As I collected candy, I thanked people in Japanese–that’s it.

But still, how many kids dress up as a Japanese businessman for Halloween?

What was your favorite childhood Halloween costume?

10 thoughts on “My Favorite Childhood Halloween Costume”

  1. I was a giant pumpkin. A family friend had a pumpkin costume that they’d sewn a few years back and I was allowed to borrow it for Halloween one year. I think I was in 3rd grade. It was basically a large orange shell, for lack of a better term, and you had to stuff bed pillows inside of it to round it out. I was huge! There is a funny picture of just my legs sticking out the door of our minivan because I was so big that I got stuck trying to get inside and then I fell and couldn’t get out. I could barely move my arms to get my candy (think snowsuit x10) but I loved it anyway.

    How did your neighbors react when you told them what your costume was?

    • That sounds amazing–I’m sure the photos are hilarious.

      I think I had a lot of neighbors who said, “Really?”

      See updated post for me in the costume.

  2. is that a cat dressed as a Japanese business man?

    i went as a book one year. we decorated white pillow cases and cut holes for the head and arms. yes, i was that nerdy.

  3. Make a note, the picture says 8 years old. Clearly Jamey is not 8 years old in this picture. Dracula is 8 years old. What I think is funny in the picture of Jamey, is not just that he is a business man for Halloween, but he is a business man in white shoes. I guess that makes him a ‘old’ business man maybe living in Florida or Arizona. Or maybe he is a dressing this way so cars would see his white shirt and white shoes

  4. What made you remember your Halloween costume from 8 years old? What sparked that memory? HOW HILARIOUS!:) If anything it showed you were a cultured young person!

    Two all time favorites: ‘Tired housewife’ or ‘Cousin It’.

    What made me think the first one was funny I don’t know, but it was really comfortable. (I too was 8 years old at the time.) It involved wearing slippers for a greater portion of the day. Everyone else had elaborate costumes for the school parade and I had a bathrobe.

    The second one is due to the fact that I for once wanted to actually hand craft my own costume. I checked a book out from the library, and saw the perfect costume in there. All it required were two black trash bags shredded length wise, sunglasses and a funny hat. Viola! It still didn’t help though in disguising who I was, the neighborhood kids still played a prank on one of my best friends and I…then again we were kind of obvious.

  5. I’ve been trying to avoid your blog, but I just couldn’t help myself so here I am commenting.
    My favorite Halloween costume that I actually remember was when I was 10 years old. I was a Southern Belle, I had a fascination with Gone with the Wind for a couple years and that’s what happened for Halloween. I had this big frilly pink dress, complete with the hoops and extra layers of skirt. My hair was done up in curls, more so than what I naturally have, and had fake flowers in it too. That year when I trick-or-treated, I deliberately did a southern drawl, my best Scarlet O’Hara voice, and made sure to thank them all with a curtsy. I carried around a pink parasol, which also doubled as a weapon against my older cousin who was a werewolf that year and was bent on making me one too. My parents have me on video playing rough with my cousin saying “I do declare! You will not touch me hairy sir!” and smacking him with the parasol a couple times.

  6. So many jump to mind. But I have two childhood (Birth to 13yrs old) favorites.

    The first was not my idea, as I had problems with polysyllabic words at the time. We had what looked like a yellow plastic trash can, I think less than 2 feet tall. I think my parents used as a diaper pail at some point, and I know for a fact was later covered with glow-in-the-dark stars. But for simplicity’s sake, this was perfect. By standing in the trash can, which mom or dad (probably dad) carried around, I was Oscar the Grouch.

    The second gets Most Elaborate costume. That year thre was a catchy commercial that I couldn’t get out of my head. So dad took a picture of the product, projected it onto foam, and stencilled it for me. Why would someone do that much work? “Why ask Why, Try Bud Dry.” Nothing better than an 11 year old walking around as a beer can.


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