Yeah, My Kid Went As A Gordon McKernan Billboard For Halloween
My kid has a history of always wanting to make his own Halloween costume each year, which usually involves days and weeks and months of deliberation and planning to get everything just right, and then he goes and changes his mind at the last minute anyway.
A few years ago, back before “Netflix and chill” was even a thing, he decided it’d be fun to dress as the popular streaming service for Halloween with me and my wife following behind him while wearing pajamas and eating popcorn. The idea was that, since we’d be watching him go up to houses to trick-or-treat all night, we’d really just be watching Netflix the whole time. So, like, it was pretty much an exact recreation of what we do most any other night that isn’t Halloween.
We got some red craft foam, a pack of stencils and some glow-in-the-dark craft paint, and his costume was done. People loved it, which typically translated into him receiving extra candy at each house, so it was a win-win for everybody.
He’s also way into everything ‘80s (he’s 12-years-old and in 7th grade, by the way), so another year he thought it’d be fun to do a family costume and go as the classic video game, Pong.
We got some more craft foam and cut out two rectangles and one square, then dressed in black and ta-da! We were Pong. He was the little square “ball”, my wife and I were the paddles, and he’d bounce back and forth between as we walked up to each house. Again, people seemed to love it, which meant even more candy, and now this whole homemade costume thing had become Tradition.
He ran into some trouble trying to come up with an idea this year though, and it took him right up until two days before Halloween to finally decide what he wanted to do. And all it took was a trip down literally any road in South Louisiana.
Everyone who lives here or has even just passed through on their way to somewhere else knows how ubiquitous Gordon McKernan billboards are. They’re everywhere. Seriously. Just try driving down any major road without spotting at least one. At least.
We were headed home from the Halloween store on another failed attempt to give him some ideas for what to go as when he spotted one of them and made a joke about how he could just be Gordon McKernan for Halloween.
We laughed for about half a second before the car went quiet and we all had the same idea at once: going as McKernan himself would be funny, but going as one of his approximately eleventybazillion billboards would be Peak Louisiana. It was an easy choice.
A friend of ours is pretty crafty, and since we were already down to the last minute, she jumped in to help us out by cutting out the letters on her Cricut cutter thingie and pasting them onto a sheet of yellow pasteboard we picked up from the dollar store. Later, we trimmed it up and glued it to a piece of white foam core (also from the dollar store) and I added a little stick to the back so he could hold it behind him, with his face where Gordon’s usually goes.
His best friend even went as a trumpet player since he’s, well, actually a really good trumpet player, who then proceeded to play McKernan's “Don’t sign a thing!” jingle every now and then as we walked from house to house. If anyone tripped and fell or dropped a piece of candy, he'd run up and ask if they'd been injured while advising them to, obviously, not sign a thing. People laughed. He got more candy. The circle goes unbroken.
It all worked out pretty well, in the end...right up until we overheard someone griping about how he couldn’t believe McKernan would be taking advantage of Halloween to advertise. No joke, the dude seriously believed my kid was an actual, living, breathing Gordon McKernan billboard paid for by Gordon McKernan to advertise Gordon McKernan on Halloween, which was a little annoying at first but actually kind of perfect when you stop to think about it.
Seeing as how no blank billboard stays empty for long once Gordon gets wind of it, the idea that he might actually pay a kid to walk around as a mini billboard isn’t really that much of a stretch, which I’m pretty sure means my kid nailed Halloween this year.
I wonder how he's gonna top it next year.