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Best costume ever: iPod commercial

By Fred Scarf, 16, Birmingham HS (Lake Balboa)

Fred's iPod commercial costume won first place in his school's contest.
Photo by Alexandra Scarf, 16, Montclair Prep

Last Halloween I dressed up as an iPod commercial. I was so excited about being an iPod commercial that it was the only thing I talked about during October. I was determined to win the costume contest at Montclair Prep, where I attended last year. How did I transform myself? By painting myself black from head to toe and attaching myself to a giant blue board, so I looked like the iPod commercials with the silhouetted figure dancing against a brightly colored screen.

I started by going to a local costume shop and asking if they had any black paint.

“Yes,” the woman said, “we have black face paint.”

I told her that I would like to buy enough face paint to cover my body. The look she gave me—a mix of scared and confused—was priceless.

On Halloween, I woke my sister up at 4:30 a.m. to help paint me black from head to toe, which took three hours. At first the paint felt warm and slimy on my skin, but it dried quickly. The paint kept cracking, especially around my knees and arms. By the end of the day, 10 people had repainted me. During lunch I didn’t eat because my hands were so gross looking. Instead I posed for pictures for the foreign exchange students who were in awe of a skinny dancing boy painted black. One of my teachers asked me why there was black paint on the homework I turned in while I in costume. I started laughing because the teacher was so serious and didn’t make the connection.

I won the costume contest. The prize was some candy,  nothing that I couldn’t buy at the 99¢ Only store. Honestly, I don’t know why I went through all the trouble. I couldn’t get the black paint out of my ears for two weeks and my pores took one for the team. Also, I had to compete in Mock Trial with black bits of paint in my ears.

This year I am going to be MySpace. I plan to wear a big board and decorate it as if it were someone’s profile, and attach a piece of cardboard to my left arm as the bulletin board. I just hope it works.

A Halloween tree?

By Katherine Lam, 17, Ramona Convent (Alhambra)

As I sifted through my e-mails earlier this month, I opened an advertisement from the fancy food and cookware company Williams-Sonoma. Surprise, surprise, they sent me an advertisement for some Halloween gift items. Since commercialization of a holiday is a given, I figured these were probably some everlasting, titanium witch-shaped cookie cutters.

To my disgust, they were advertising the new Williams-Sonoma “Halloween Tree,” which seemed way over the top. How in the world could someone love Halloween so much to come up with this—a dead-looking “spooky” tree with gnarly wire and smiling ghosts and baby bats, which seemed to defy the eerie feelings normally associated with Halloween. The wires twisted out to form long branches, which were, according to the Web site, covered in “ribbon.”

As I started to move onto my daily e-mail readings, my mind fixated on the tree. My days of pumpkin carving are long since gone, and the concept of hanging miniature bats on a tree started to appeal to me. I was being sucked into the commercialization, and there was no way out.

As I thought about it, I felt that the tree almost resembled a shrine in a way; if you worship ghosts—caramel popcorn ghosts that can be attached to the branches. As I crowned myself the best online window-shopper of the day, I decided that on Halloween, the only chocolates and s’mores I could eat were Williams-Sonoma’s smiling pumpkin truffles and bat-shaped s’mores.

In our consumerist culture it’s un-American not to celebrate Halloween! Williams-Sonoma’s advertising tempted me to rush out and buy a tree like a good American consumer. But since I’m a poor teenager, I’m going to save my $49 (and instead spend it on some nice new stockings in December).

No, not my candy!

By Stephanie Deutsch, 16, Harvard-Westlake School (North Hollywood)

I hate candy. It’s too sugary, it inflicts cavities and transforms into unwanted pounds. But somehow, the atmosphere of Halloween triggers a sense of childhood nostalgia that forces me to give in to the candy high.

Last Halloween I stepped out in my go-go girl costume with only one goal in mind: to get as much candy as possible. I set out with my friends, tackling one house at a time. I got so into the moment that at one point I ran ahead of the pack and yelled back to my friends, “I’m going to beat you all to the good candy!” As I was racing to the next house, barely able to steadily secure my bag, I heard a loud thump. Two seconds later, a noise shattered the neighborhood like the piercing cry of a baby. My bag of candy was so full, the impact of it hitting a car had caused the alarm to go off.

My immediate response was to run as fast as my 4-inch-heeled, white go-go boots would let me—bad idea.

I tripped, but was able stop myself from falling flat-faced on the concrete. Unfortunately, my bag of candy didn’t have such good reflexes. Every piece of candy flew out of the bag and scattered on the street. But it was OK, most of the candy had wrappers and I could simply pick it up and everything would be fine, right?

While regaining my balance, I noticed a flash of light coming my way. Before I could scream, “Stop!” a car ran over my candy. Chocolate oozed out of Hershey wrappers, lollipops crackled and licorice flattened.

My friends were laughing so hard they fell to the ground holding their stomachs. I just stood frozen. I was like the kid who got her ice cream taken away.

But now that I look back on it, I never really liked candy that much anyway.