Just touching base
Just touching base Credit: Andy Masur

Elaborate, meticulously planned costumes are no big whoop. OK, you’re a re-creation of the Zoltar machine from the movie Big. Bully for you. That costume was dreamed up months ago—or located via a Buzzfeed list—and has been slaved over ever since. It looks sharp and fantastical, but where’s the spontaneity?

Matt Carmichael, managing editor of the literary magazine TriQuarterly, knows spontaneity—and he might prefer you call it that. “I have a strong history of procrastinating when it comes to Halloween costumes,” he explains.

Case in point: A couple years back, Carmichael was headed to a costume party sans costume. The Party City on Fullerton near Clybourn was overrun, so he stopped in to the Sports Authority next door with the hope of getting lucky. “I figured I could find a referee’s shirt and a whistle maybe. I’m not exactly sure what I expected to walk out with.”

And on came the lightbulb. “I thought it was pretty ingenious. It certainly wasn’t appreciated as much as it should have been.” Carmichael ended up buying a set of bases—you can’t buy just one—and going as the phrase “just touching base.” Not that bad, right?

“The general reaction was definitely more of the scoffing or eye-rolling sort,” he explains. “At least my beer didn’t taste like face paint.”

At press time, Carmichael had yet to figure out what he’s going as this Halloween, though writing “MASK” on his forehead may end up the front-runner (yes, he did that one year, too).