I sat sprawled across my striped comforter last Thursday afternoon, frantically listing off necessities over the phone to my mom a few states away. My requests for makeup remover and baking supplies echoed over the chorus of Justin Bieber’s latest single that played in the background. I flipped through my notebook, hoping my mom might hear the pages and misleadingly think that I was doing my homework and wasn’t just waiting for the weekend. As we finalized the list of things she so generously would bring up for me on her trip to Boston the next day she noted that Halloween was quickly approaching and asked if I needed anything from the closet downstairs.
Oh God…the closet downstairs.
Hidden in the depths of my basement, behind doors and through hallways, sits one weathered wooden door. Scratched and damaged after a strenuous existence, that door has held back evidence of some of the most questionable decisions throughout my 20 years. I was genuinely surprised that my mom would even offer to search through its depths, through the terrifying history that was middle school Sarah Moore, but she was right—Halloween was approaching and I still needed to finalize a few costumes.
I’ve decided that the costume closet is a space unique to my humble, suburban home. It is probably a product of me being an only child and thus having an excess amount of space for an excess of toys, or maybe I spent more hours than I remember playing dress up and my mom decided that my girlish game deserved its own sanctuary. Regardless, the costume closet houses the physical reminders of my embarrassing pre-teen tendencies, from rouched, spaghetti-strapped homecoming dresses to overworn, size-five, clunky, jelly sandals.
I heard my mom flipping through hangers and searching through drawers. I could see the tule and tackiness overflowing out of the closet—the button-up chef dress I wore sophomore year of high school with, of course, a matching hat, the grossly shiny eskimo suit I begged her for as an eighth grader, and the white stockings that I put on after I left the house en route to my first party as a freshman. Not the spookiest Halloween costumes, but all horrifying.
Just this week, as my mom resurrected some of my alarming past, MBTA workers coincidentally exposed some of Boston’s scary history.
During underground construction on the Government Center T Station, which has been closed since March of 2014, a few workers recently uncovered two costumes that had been tucked away in a hollow section of concrete for at least 60 years. The costumes, more eerie than embarrassing, are blue and red capes sewn on to masks and adorned with white stars. Though hauntingly representative of the city’s past, rich with American tradition and a focal point of the nation’s history, no one knows their original source.
Although this isn’t the first discovery in the depths of Boston’s underground since the construction began—they found a century-old newspaper too (how appropriate)—it definitely is the most shocking. Although a T spokesman told The Boston Globe that there would be no investigation into the source or history of the costumes at the moment, they remind the city that no matter how many years or layers of concrete have accumulated little hints of history are never fully covered. In a way this find uncovered Boston’s own costume closet and the city, like me, is confronted with evidence of its questionable past.
Who did I think I was, dressing up in costumes fit for a 25-year-old when I barely looked 15. I cringe as I see those pictures now—honestly I thought I deleted the majority of them on Facebook—but they have their way of scaring me when I least expect it. As questionable as the past may be though, this costume discovery reminds us all that even the most embarrassing elements of our past make their way into our personal history. I’m sure the costumes of this weekend will end up in the cluttered craziness of my closet at some point. No matter how spooky they may seem in the future, they are still laughable ghosts of Halloweens past.
Featured Image by Francisco Ruela / Heights Graphic