I went as myself for Halloween

Because I blew my modest costume budget on an upcoming cosplay, Halloween came up and I was searching for a $0 outfit. And then I thought to myself, here is an opportunity for maximum irony.

  • I was raised by Catholics.
  • I am an atheist.
  • I am a minister. (Jealous? Fine, you can be one, too.)
Credentials of Ministry

Thank you, Universal Life Church!

So I got a button-up black shirt, some safety pins to fold the collar points, a stiff piece of white paper, and a little Gideon’s Bible, and tried my best to keep a straight face:

Don't I look positively radiant? It's a wonder what a softglow filter can do.

I wore my outfit to a residence hall dance on the 28th — it wasn’t well-suited to dancing, what with the collar, and all. I also wore it to work on Halloween. I was a little worried that some stodgy customer would give me an earful about blasphemy, because I did get an earful last year…for dressing up as a hippie, of all things. But I was in back instead of at the register for the majority of my day, so I only encountered a few non-associates. The people I did help tended to lead off with “Father, forgive me, for I have sinned.” 😀

I also got two or three suggestions that the outfit would be complete if I found a small child to follow me around… You might notice the rainbow bracelet in the above photo, a nod to the many good closeted priests, who no doubt are considerably less light-hearted about the relationship between the Catholic church and homosexuality.

Besides offending people and giggling to myself, I took my costume idea (which is, honestly, not a costume but a business outfit) as an opportunity to reflect on religion in my life. The choice of outfit reflects my upbringing, the examination of my beliefs, my continuing admiration of the mere pomp and circumstance of church procedure.

My dad continues to predict that his boys will grow up to be fathers, or Fathers — and while I have no desire to be the one, I was delighted to become the other, which he was very surprised to find out when the ministry certificate arrived in his mailbox last year. It’s not like I didn’t think about it when I was growing up; essentially I shadowed the job several years after I’d made up my mind.

The truly startling thing was realizing I didn’t have a cross or a rosary anywhere. Kind of drives home the passage of time.

Did I get much out of it? Not much that’s tangible; maybe enough to bullshit an artist’s statement. Simply put, every kid uses Halloween to let out what they are or think they would like to be, and I’m no different.

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