My most humiliating Halloween was also my favorite

Sep 28, 2015 at 3:47 p.m. ET
Image: Dolgachov/Getty Images

Growing up, I was always big and somewhat overweight for my age. I was the tallest kid in elementary school, which would have been fine — except I was a girl towering over all the boys. While the rest of the girls seemed petite, my upbeat attitude eventually landed me the label of The Jolly Green Giant.

The label stuck until one Halloween party, when my mother made me a costume and turned me into a giant rabbit!

My mother worked very hard sewing my bunny suit. She fashioned the costume from white, flannel material with small pink bunnies plastered all over it. If you think this costume sounds like a pair of pajamas, you would be right. You see, my mother planned to later adjust her work so I could continue to hold onto that beautiful feeling by wearing the bunny suit as jammies.

Imagine my embarrassment when this bunny suit needed to fit over my coat and swelled me to the portions of a small, printed barrel. I begged my mother not to make the outfit so oversized, but she didn't want me to be cold outside. I had to march down the hill to my school dressed this way.

If the giant bunny suit didn't completely humiliate me, my head gear finished the job. I had what looked like a sleeping cap of the same printed material, tied at the bottom of my chin. Two massive ears, fashioned out of cardboard and aluminum foil, protruded from my head — more like giant antennae than rabbit ears.

I wanted to hide when forced into modeling this, but I also didn't want to hurt my mother's feelings because of all the hours she spent sewing and adjusting it. Anyway, I knew further protests would be useless, so I reluctantly accepted the inevitable and wore the dreaded "bunny suit."

As I prepared to go down the hill to school on the day of the Halloween party, my mother made sure I had a proper sendoff. As I emerged, dressed in my bunny suit, many of our older neighbors greeted me, smiling and waving as my mother finalized perking up my ears.

I may not have liked being a human rabbit, but I'll always remember the line of smiles and happy faces that particular costume brought to all those that I passed. Later at school, when I had been expecting the worst, I was celebrated — and that bunny suit won best costume.