Why are we obsessed with adults in costume?

April 17, 2012


I don't know about you, but adults in costume kind of freak me out.


As kids, we were all scared of certain things. The dark. Brussel sprouts. Monsters.

As adults, we are all scared of certain things. Caffeine-free anything. Brussel sprouts. Tax day.

But that’s the best part about today. Even if you’re scrambling to get that last-minute return done before midnight tonight, after today we won’t have to fear the tax deadlines and “the IRS is coming to get you for back taxes because you never filed and if you don’t believe me ask Wesley Snipes” movie scenes that creep into our heads for another nine months.

And that’s all fine and good. But my favorite part of tax day has nothing to do with slipping the IRS for another year or even the refund I hope we’re going to get and that I already am referring to affectionately as “Our new Internet-ready TV.”

No, my favorite part is that come tomorrow, when I make that last turn on my drive home and pass the Liberty Tax offices, I won’t have to see those two freak shows dressed like the Statue of Liberty waving at me in between sidewalk dance moves and holding their sign out in front of them just a little further telling me to come meet the nice tax people. Makes me think of the make-believe guy my parents always used to tell me about who was going to drive by someday and ask 10-year-old me if I wanted some candy, then pull me into the car and drive off. Or the “stranger danger” I learned about as a kid from Malcolm-Jamal Warner’s Home Alone video when his post-Cosby Show acting career really took off in the after-school-special realm — seriously, props if you’ve seen that one.

I was only able to get a picture of one of the aforementioned freak shows above — not really safe to take pictures while driving — but the other one actually wears a mask along with the Lady Liberty getup. And it looks like the mask from Scream. I kid you not. Would scare the shit out of any kid or adult who sees it.

I know, I know…this is not the first year I’ve seen it and Liberty Tax is not the first company to do it. Still, this cannot be a successful long-term strategy to connect with people, can it? Scare the crap out of them and make them have a stranger danger conversation with their children? This can’t help people see you as a trusted tax professional? Can it?

Or maybe it can. Because if you think about it, we as a society are obsessed with adults in large, over-sized costumes. We embrace them. We take our kids to sit in their laps several times a year. And we invite them to our childerns’ birthday parties.

Take Easter for example. A couple weeks back I saw more pictures than I can count on Facebook of kids under the age of three sitting on the lap of a six-foot-plus, gigantor bunny that could give “Lakers Shaq” trouble in the paint. Now I know getting your picture with the Easter bunny is sort of a right of passage as a kid. But let me tell you that when I studied at all these pictures, I saw two looks on these kids faces:

1. The “if I just sit here and don’t move, they’ll take the picture really quickly and I can get away from this giant bunny whose breath smells a bit like coffee and alcohol and btw, since when do bunnies lay eggs” look.

2. The “Time to cry. Time to cry right now. Time to cry as loud as possible and make that face. Anything to get away from this Barry Bonds Bunny and back home to my house where we have normal-size bunnies in our yard” look.

All kidding aside, the Easter Bunny is a bit sketch. But don’t worry kids. Because you’ll probably go to some friend’s birthday party and get to hang for a couple of hours nearly unsupervised with a guy who has his face all painted and is wearing a big red nose so he’d be impossible to recognize if anything weird ever happened. But no worries, that’s just a clown.

Sorry if I’m ruining birthdays across America, but I tend to have the Uncle Buck stance on clowns. And I’m sure 95 percent of you have seen Uncle Buck, so I won’t elaborate on that. Plus, if you haven’t seen it, you really should. But I digress.

If you think about it, we as a society have an unhealthy obsession with adults in costume. I don’t get it. Frankly it creeps me out. But there are years of history and tradition backing this “love” we have for people who dress up and act the fool.

Not my cup of tea and you won’t see any clowns at Baby Goldsborough’s birthday parties. But at the same time, as much as I want to call them out, I can’t blame Liberty Tax too much for hiring the dancing Lady Liberty in the Scream mask to get the word out about tax day. Research supports the efficacy.

I’m just glad I won’t have to see those two dudes on my drive home after tonight. I’m still a little bit afraid of monsters as an adult.

Related posts:

, , , , , , ,
Post comment as twitter logo facebook logo
Sort: Newest | Oldest