Every few years, my Halloween psychotherapist, Rocci Johnson, is kind enough to “explain the universe” to me. Her words.
It works like this. October approaches. I become agitated by the idea of adults cavorting around in idiotic naughty-nurse and mumbling-mummy costumes. And Rocci reminds me that grown-ups who dress up are perfectly normal.
Me, the guy who refuses to wear a costume?
“You’re such a dork,” Rocci says. “You’re a total dork.”
It’s a healthy doctor-patient relationship. So, this week, when I stumbled across Frightgeist, a Google Trends website that analyzes costume searches locally and nationally, I knew it was time to make an appointment with Rocci again.
The woman is a dress-up expert. She does it year-round while fronting her Rocci Johnson Band at Humpin’ Hannah’s, 621 W. Main St. in Boise. This Halloween weekend, she’ll wear separate, elaborate costumes while hosting a Zombie Prom (Oct. 30) and Exotic Erotica Ball (Oct. 31).
Rocci never repeats a Halloween costume. “That would be a travesty!” she harumphs.
If anyone has the tools to analyze the search trends revealed by Frightgeist, it’s her.
So explain this to me, I ask Rocci: The No. 1 costume trending nationally this year — and trending No. 2 in Boise — is Harley Quinn, the female comic-book enemy of Batman. (I think she bangs the Joker or something.)
“Well, of course,” Rocci explains after a pause.
Of course? Why of course? The Quinn-hyping “Suicide Squad” movie won’t be in theaters until August of 2016. (That didn’t prevent Rocci from dressing up in a Quinn-style costume a couple of years ago, however.)
Yet Rocci makes me realize that it’s totally logical if you’ve seen the movie trailer, which has 55 million YouTube views. Actress Margot Robbie portrays a punky, pigtailed, gum-popping hottie with a bosom-hugging T-shirt that says “Daddy’s Lil Monster.”
We all know what the key to Halloween is for many women: “It’s that one time of year that you have that hall pass,” Rocci says, “... to be a dirty girl.”
Few red-blooded men will argue with witnessing overtly sexy costumes. Yet, conversely, men often choose lame get-ups based on what is cheap or easy. Except for men who dress up like women on Halloween. (Dudes, you need to find your own psychotherapist, by the way.)
Anyway, it’s now time to inform Rocci that the No. 1 trending Boise costume is ... Princess Jasmine.
“He says in a mystified, semi-disgusted manner!” Rocci laughs.
So true. I had to Google “Princess Jasmine.” Apparently, she’s a Walt Disney “Aladdin” character. But, hey, it sort of adds up: Bare midriff, right?
“Right,” Rocci says. “And hardly any clothes.”
The rest of Boise’s top search trends are relatively unshocking: No. 3: Star Wars. (Huge franchise.) No. 4: Mermaid. (“It’s all skin and sexy costuming,” Rocci reminds me.)
No. 5: Pebbles Flinstone (sic).
“What?” Rocci says, adding: “Well, you can see this underlying theme to it all. I mean Pebbles, she’s got a skimpy little costume, too.”
Think we’re freaky, Boise? Check out Twin Falls. The No. 3 locally trending costume there is Banana.
“What is going on in Twin?” Rocci roars hysterically. “So there’s just going to be a bunch of bananas walking around?”
A whole “bunch” of folks must be into that costume. Wow, the Halloween bar scene in Twin should be awesome. Hey, is that guy drunk? Nah, he just slipped on a peel.
At this point, the guffawing on the phone indicates that my time has run out. The Halloween therapy session is over. At least we all learned something about ourselves, right?
Truth be told, I’m planning to don a costume this Halloween for the first time in a decade. Despite my Halloween issues, I am in charge of taking my children trick-or-treating this weekend. I have an old plastic hockey mask; “Friday the 13th” it will be. You will not see me Downtown or at a party, however.
Rocci sounds very encouraged by this progress.
“There’s a big kid in everybody, OK?” she says. “There’s got to be one in you, Michael. I have faith.”
Boo! You’ll never know if I meant that as a ghost sound.