FatherSon Ventures

Building a Relationship through Adventure

Zombie Dad

Written By: Scot Butwell - Nov• 22•17

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I didn’t want to go trick-or-treating without a costume since Halloween has become an annual night of father-son bonding with D, and here it was four o’clock and I had no costume.

D was a scientist. He had a white lab coat, goggles, and boots, so I thought if there was any last-minute way to complement his costume. And then I hit on it…I could be a Zombie Dad.

L allowed me to use her make-up, dabbing black rings around my eyes, and I took over from there, adding splotches of red blood to my face, thanks to a bottle of her nail polish.

I shredded a dress shirt and jeans, ransacked bathroom cabinets for accessories like a blood-splattered band-aid for my forehead, and wrote Zombie Dad on my teacher badge.

An image from Plants vs. Zombies guided the last part of my costume: a clip-on tie from D’s closet, a tan suit jacket from mine, and I applied nail polish generously to my costume.

“You are overdoing it,” L said of my increasingly gory appearance.

But D thought I looked good. So did D’s friend C, and when we rang the doorbell of my former high school Journalism-English teacher, she complimented me on my creativity.

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“You are so creative! You are a fun dad!” she texted the next day. D and I even made it on her Facebook page with the title, “1987 South High grad trick-or-treating at my door.”

I felt like Cinderella under the ballroom lights, and knowing the clock was ticking on my zombie persona, I cherished this chance to shed my everyday identity for a few hours.

“My dad is my creation,” D the Scientist told a few neighbors.

So I must have serendipitously succeeded in complementing his Scientist costume, and in my effort to bond with D, I had finished just in the nick of time to go trick-or -treating.

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We joined up with C and his dad, plus two middle-school girls and their mom. D’s pillow case filled up, and we roamed the streets until we all began to wear out, and it was another sweet Halloween in the memory bank.

What I learned is that it only takes a modicum of creativity to enter my son’s imaginary world; a pair of scissors, an old shirt and jeans, make-up and a bottle of red nail polish.

It was an old lesson, as I remember, a few years back, making a homemade Tin Man costume with an oil funnel, silver make-up, a plastic ax, a poster board with a Sharpee drawn red heart.

As soon as I walked into the living room on that Halloween, D began checking out my make-up, hat, and ax and jumping off the living room sofa and chopping down imaginary trees.

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He had a similar reaction last year when I stuffed pillows under my shirt and painted my face green to be the Incredible Hulk. He ran up and body slammed into me like in a mosh pit.

This is why I love Halloween. With a   tiny spark of imagination, D and I can become the Scarecrow and Tin Man, Captain America and Incredible Hulk, or a Scientist and his creation.

I am already looking forward to next Halloween, and those few precious hours to wander the streets with D, and to shed my Dad identity and assume the persona of my costume.

I saved my shirt and jeans–just in case my creativity wanes, and I need a last-minute costume; plus, I enjoyed my alter ego of being a Zombie Dad and could see bringing him back to life.

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