24 Hours Dressed As Sexy Patrick Star (A Memoir)
A crazy house party, a celebrity encounter, and getting caught in the rain. The best Halloween costume I ever wore - not because of how it looked, but because of the experience I had in it.
You know when you're looking through your closet of clothes, and you can visualize the great memories you've had while wearing them? A fancy sweater reminds you of a great first date, or a trench coat reminds you of a day you received good news. Sometimes we refuse to give away clothes we haven't worn in years because of the good times we've had in them.
There's a bright pink shirt hanging in my wardrobe I have not worn in a whole year. Although I rarely touch it, it's one of my favorite articles of clothing. Not because of how it's designed, but because I wore it on one of the best days of my young adult life.
This is the story of the craziest costume and Halloween I've ever had. Just last year: October 31st, 2019. Back when people wore masks for fun - not to protect themselves from a deadly virus. Back when it was safe to go to school, go see a scary movie at the theater, or go to a large party with strangers...
If you know me, you know I have a penchant for dressing up in funny costumes on Halloween. In 2017, I put on a bright blue Hanes hoodie and sunglasses like Damien from Mean Girls. It was a total hit. Several kids complimented me at school, and while walking through St. Marks Place, I was asked by a lady to pose in a picture with her! It was fun to watch people crack up as they walked past me. I turned many heads, and I only paid $10 for my costume!
Because school had me busier in 2018, I didn't put as much creative energy into my costume - I was a humble French mime. In 2019, I knew I wanted to take things up a notch. I was dying to turn heads again. My ideas for good costumes were limited until the week before Halloween, when I saw a couple in a subway dressed up as Spongebob and Patrick. I've been a Spongebob fanatic since the dawn of time (NO REALLY - I quote the show on an hourly basis), and figured a Patrick Star costume was easy to pull off.
I already had a pink top to match Patrick's signature color. There was a huge Forever 21 in Union Square about to close due to the company's bankruptcy. Since everything was on clearance, I used the opportunity to find a pair of bright green pants for cheap. Then I made some flower cutouts from purple felt, crazy glued them to the pants, and voila: I was Patrick Star.
But that wasn't the end of it. To add to the hilarity factor of my costume, I bought myself a pair of sparkly black fishnets and wore my aunt's hand-me-down high boots. This was to emulate Patrick's look in the Spongebob Squarepants Movie, during the "Goofy Goober Rock" song.
I took an impromptu photoshoot in my miniscule dorm room, and I was ready to start my day.
HALLOWEEN MORNING - Caught In The Rain
Halloween fell on a Friday last year, which meant I had a morning script writing class. Fortunately, I lived right across the street from my college and didn't have to worry about a long subway commute. Unfortunately, it was raining outside.
It wasn't coming down like cats and dogs, so I thought it best to just put on a raincoat and walk one block. As previously mentioned, I was wearing my aunt's hand-me-down high boots. They were a leathery material and I had worn them for several Halloween costumes before Patrick Star. But basically, they were shabby as hell.
As I strode across the wet sidewalk, I eventually heard a loud clop sound: like a horse's hoof. It was audible on every other step. I looked down. Because of the rain's moisture and years of wear, the heel of my right boot was very quickly peeling off from the rest of the shoe.
Because my boots had a curvy heel instead of a flat one, walking became harder as rain weighed the bottom down. It almost felt like there was a ball and chain attached to my ankle.
If I had gone back to my dorm to get new shoes, I would be late to class. So I slogged through the rain while my shoe decapitated itself, trying to pretend like everything was totally fine. Strangers looked at me as if to say, what the hell is this girl doing? I wobbled like a person who had just finished an intense leg day workout. Just like the woman in the gif below...
Fortunately, I made it to class on time. People looked at my costume in awe.
"Oh my god, are you sexy Patrick Star?!" said my friend, Cassie. Our professor, the amazing Maggie Hames, nodded at my outfit in approval.
"Good costume," she remarked with a smirk. Maggie was probably in her mid 60's with shoulder-length white hair and a kind smile. She had great taste in movies and TV, so I wasn't surprised she knew who Patrick Star was.
"Thanks," I replied, "almost didn't make it," I showed off my ripped boot heel to a pack of laughing classmates.
As I sat at a desk for almost three hours, my time wobbling in the rain became something of a distant memory. Class was dismissed, I got up, and began to panic as I realized the heel of my boot was now hanging on by a bear thread. Maggie noticed.
"Thankfully, I only have a short walk home," I said to her.
"Here," Maggie retrieved a roll of scotch tape from off her desk, "use this. Not much, but it's something."
I wrapped the flimsy tape around and around my boot heel until there was nothing left in the container. It looked ridiculous, but for the most part, it felt sturdy. I thanked Maggie for her help and left the classroom. Walking down the hallways of my college felt fine. Maybe all it took was tape for my boot to work like new!
Then came round 2 of walking in the rain. At first, it seemed like my right boot would make it home in one piece. But as the rain soaked the scotch tape, the grip loosened. It was only a matter of time before there was a rrrip sound, and the whole heel of my right boot completely fell off. I lost my balance for a hot second, but thankfully, didn't trip.
I grabbed the broken chunky heel before someone slipped on it. All that was left of my right shoe was a curved bottom contained by a thin wooden base. I couldn't walk on it flat; it was too curvy, and I'd have to bend my ankle to do so. Basically, I walked back to my building with a normal left foot, and tiptoeing on my right foot.
But then the worst thing happened. Clop clop clop. I looked down: now my left boot heel was falling apart! Is rain and old leather really that bad of a mix, or was I just having a case of Halloween bad luck?
My building was only a straight walk ahead. I sighed, muttered a fuck it under my breath, and unzipped my broken right boot. All that covered my foot was a flimsy Hanes sock. Every step forward was a cold squishy surge of horror. More awkward stares from pedestrians as I briskly walked ahead. Why on earth is that girl not wearing a right shoe?
I made it back to my dorm just before my left boot heel broke. Immediately, my right sock was torn off my foot. It was completely soaked from the rain. Fortunately, there were black anklets in my closet to replace the destroyed high boots. I knew it wasn't the correct type of boot needed for Patrick's Goofy Goober Rock attire...but who cared?
It was the beginning of Halloween, and already I'd had my horror story. Perhaps Patrick Star thrives in water, but I certainly didn't.
HALLOWEEN AFTERNOON - A Woman In Black
In the afternoon and into the early evening, I hid my Patrick Star costume underneath a black movie theater uniform for my last day working at the Angelika Film Center. If you're not from a major metropolitan area and are unfamiliar with the company, it's a cinema chain that exclusively plays new indie films. In New York City, sometimes it's the only place where you can find certain new movies - specifically foreign movies. Also, if you've seen Friends, you know the Angelika from Phoebe's iconic line, "The Angelika. Go, go!"
My original plan was to work at the Angelika from July until early September before school started. However, the hiring process took longer than expected, and I didn't start working at the theater until late August. I loved the Angelika, as it was a watering hole for many ritzy Lower East Siders and celebrities. I saw Zoe Kravitz AND Julianne Moore my first day working there!
But the night shifts lasted until late in the evening - sometimes I wouldn't get home until 2 am. This wasn't helpful for me, since I was in the middle of my last semester of college and had several senior projects to complete. Working at the Angelika made me fall behind on homework, and didn't allow me the several hours of sleep a busy college student needs. It broke my heart, but I had to resign that October.
Halloween ended up being my last day because most of the other employees requested off that evening. I was at my usual workstation: concessions. Customers asked me how I was doing while I served them popcorn, and I'd say, "Oh pretty good. Today's my last day working here!" And they would say, "You're brave for working Halloween, kid. Congrats!" This went on all day, until around 9 pm or so.
Since it was Halloween, the theater was relatively quiet. Most people bought tickets to see The Lighthouse with Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, since it was the only scary movie playing.
One woman seeing The Lighthouse wandered over to my concessions stand. She had a warm smile and the most LUMINOUS skin I've ever seen in my life. No really - her face was glowing.
"Do you want any candy?" she asked the man tagging alongside her. That voice sounds familiar. I looked at her again. It took me a while, but eventually I realized I was serving the one and only Tessa Thompson. If you don't know who that is...she's an actress known for her roles in Westworld, Sorry To Bother You, Men In Black: International, and Thor: Ragnarok. Personally, I think she's one of the most beautiful movie stars on the face of the earth.
She was wearing a really cute fuzzy black coat with a matching black hat over it. Definitely one of the most Lower East Side outfits I've ever seen. She wore the same attire in an Instagram post she uploaded on October 16th, 2019.
"Can I get a small popcorn for him," Tessa asked, "and for me...well, I don't know if you could do this...can I get an Icee, but is it possible you can put it in a smaller cup? Like a soda cup? The bigger cups they usually come in are too big for me."
Normally, I would tell the customer the Icees only come in specific large or medium cups, as the cups for Icees and the cups for sodas are priced differently. The managers at the Angelika drilled into our brains that upselling was key. It was important to put the right foods into the right containers, because inventory was counted every evening and there were spreadsheets upon spreadsheets of how many bags, cups, candy boxes, and nacho trays were sold every day. It was a complicated process no employee wanted to screw up just because they were compliant to a customer's very specific request.
But this was Tessa Thompson I was serving. And it was my last day.
"Yeah, I'll give you the smallest cup we've got!" I said. Was I sneaking Tessa Thompson a cheaper soda cup when she should have been paying more for an Icee cup? Yes.
Did I care? Absolutely not.
"Oh, thank you so much!" she cheered. Oh my god, she had the cutest little smile. After she paid, I watched her and her partner go over to the Icee machine. In the lobby with me was another employee, Meagan. Her name wasn't actually Meagan: I just can't remember her real name because in the three months I had worked and the several months she'd worked at Angelika, Halloween eve was the first and only time we met.
After catching sight of Tessa while sweeping popcorn off the carpet floor, Meagan walked up to my station.
"Oh my god that's Tessa Thompson. Oh my god that's Tessa Thompson," she said.
"I know. I didn't recognize her at first."
"I'm gonna text all my friends as soon as I can. She's literally my favorite person."
Meagan got back to sweeping, I got back to making popcorn, and Tessa walked into theater three with her soda cup slushie.
A few minutes later, I saw Tessa walk out of her theater to use the ladies room. Meagan, still in a star struck daze, gave me an excited look from across the lobby. It was cool to see Tessa Thompson in person, not just on a movie screen. It was a nice reminder that celebrities are people too, and just like normal people, they see scary movies at theaters on Halloween.
Then, when Tessa got out of the bathroom, Meagan and I caught her walking into theater four. Theater four was also showing The Lighthouse, just at a different time. Meagan and I shot each other an awkward glance. Tessa Thompson had just walked into the wrong auditorium.
It was a common mistake for customers to make. When we had multiple screenings of Judy, there was always one customer a day who asked for a refund because despite having the correct theater number printed on their ticket, they'd wander into the wrong theater. Surely Tessa would know she had made a mistake; she would notice her male partner and Icee gone from where she had left them. Still, Meagan and I wanted to make her Halloween experience at the Angelika as amazing as possible. Because Tessa Thompson was worth it.
Still holding her broom and dustpan, Meagan walked over to my station once more.
"Should we tell her she's in the wrong theater?" she asked.
I nodded, "Yeah, probably."
We both crept over to theater four, and Meagan ever so slightly opened the door. I couldn't see inside the auditorium, but I watched Megan look around for a fuzzy black coat and hat.
"Tessa. TESSA!" she said in a loud whisper, "You're in the wrong theater! Yeah, it's the next one over!"
"Shoot!" exclaimed Tessa Thompson as she zoomed out the door. Her beautiful black coat flapped behind her as she sprinted across the lobby. The way she ran was oddly adorable. You know how Animal Crossing characters run with their arms out to their sides? That's exactly how she was running through the Angelika Film Center.
"Thank youuuuuuu!" she said before disappearing into theater three. Meagan sighed in relief.
"If it were any other customer, I wouldn't have said anything," Meagan said, "But it was Tessa freakin' Thompson."
"I completely understand," I replied.
The rest of my shift was unremarkable and flew by. I'm happy I got that little experience with one of my favorite actresses my last day working at the Angelika. I'm just disappointed I didn't get to show her my Patrick Star costume hidden underneath my uniform.
HALLOWEEN EVE - The Rooftop
While Tessa Thompson missed my sexy Patrick Star getup, several kids at my friend's Halloween party did not. After I got out of my Angelika shift around midnight, I took a subway over to Harlem and walked down several lonely streets. There was a cold autumn wind, but the lonely rows of brownstone houses was a pretty sight, and made the trip worth it.
When I got to the apartment, it was clear I was "fashionably late." Guests cramped every corner of the tiny minimalist space. There was a hot box in the back, and people were dancing in a moody purple lighting you'd find in a teen show like Euphoria. Although all the alcohol and snacks were gone and people were far from the sober state I was in, guests couldn't take their eyes off my costume.
"Oh my god, are you Patrick Star!" said a very intoxicated girl named Sam. She was wearing a classic Playboy Bunny costume and a friend was holding onto her shoulders to keep her balanced. She began to sing the Goofy Goober Rock song from The Spongebob Squarepants Movie.
"Yeah, that's me!"
"Can you do the splits like he does in the movie?" she looked at me expectantly.
"Do it right here right now!"
"Sam!" yelled the girl holding her down, "she can't just do the splits in the middle of the hallway! It's packed!"
"Yeah, whatever," Sam rolled her eyes, wandering off to another part of the apartment.
Unsurprisingly, I found my friend, Truc, chilling in her bedroom with her boyfriend, Dave, and a stranger I didn't know. Dave was dressed as a horned devil, but I don't recall Truc or the tall male stranger costumed in anything.
"And that's why I'm never doing that shit again," Dave finished as I entered the room. "Yeah," the stranger added, "it just got too trippy for me after a while."
"Katyyyyyyy!" cheered Truc as she saw me walk in. I gave her a huge hug, then sat on the bed next to her. Her and Dave made remarks on how much they loved my costume.
"Oh, Katy, this is Yale," said Dave as he introduced me to the stranger. We shook hands. He had a round face with big blue eyes and shaggy brown hair.
"Yale? Like the college?" I asked.
"Yale like the college," Yale replied. Poor guy. He must have gotten that question a lot.
"We were gonna go explore the rooftop if ya want to come with us!" Dave said to me.
"Yeah," Truc added, "it's getting pretty crowded and loud in this place." Part of the reason why Truc and I are friends is because we are both introverted. Rowdy settings, like this party, drain us.
I agreed to the journey, and the four of us stuck close together as we filed through dozens of drunk and high partiers. We made it to a tiny elevator in the hallway of the building. We packed inside it like sardines, and I found myself awkwardly pressed up against Yale's chest. Or maybe not so awkwardly - he did have a cute face.
When we got to the highest floor, we noticed a sign that said visiting the rooftop was not allowed.
"I guess we can't go up," I said.
"Nah, it's alright. We've done it many times before and haven't gotten in trouble," Truc remarked.
"If we see anyone up there with us, we leave," Dave said.
As the three of them giddily went forward to the rooftop entranceway, I found myself lagging behind.
"C'mon," said Yale with a smile, extending a hand out to me. It wasn't like I needed help catching up to the others, but the chivalrous gesture made me blush, and I placed my hand in his.
While it was windier on the rooftop than it was on the ground, the sight was something to behold. You could see the Empire State Building and the Freedom Tower off in the black distance, sprinkled with lights from other skyscrapers. Right below us was a view of the brownstone neighborhood, framed by yellowing trees. You could hear a mix of music from various Halloween parties in the area. The melodies blended together in a haunting echoey mix.
I took pictures for Dave and Truc as they posed by the rooftop's edge, the gorgeous view behind them. The way the wind blew through my hair felt soothing and wild all at once. I took several moments to gaze out at the intricacies of my city: the way cars rolled in the streets, the way the spires of skyscrapers seemed to touch the clouds.
I didn't realize it then, but it was the last time I was seeing New York City the way it was intended to be seen: fully awake despite the time of day. Before a pandemic swept across the United States the following year, and parties like ours were off the table.
Something about that moment felt like a coming-of-age movie. Yale stood beside me, then Truc, then Dave. As we got lost in the beautiful view, something inside me felt compelled to let out a wolf's howl into the night.
My friends laughed. My howl seemed to bounce through the street, and eventually got lost in the wind. I felt infinite.
Unfortunately, the longer we stayed in the sky, the more the freezing wind picked up. It got so bad at one point, I almost fell over. Thankfully, we reached the door before any of us flew off the rooftop.
The rest of the night wasn't as eventful. Everyone left at around 2 am. Truc and Dave had only one air mattress for guests sleeping over. I insisted Yale take it because I'm so small, I can sleep in any little corner. But he refused.
"I'm fine on the floor," he said. Dave gave him a blanket and two pillows to use. In the middle of the night, we heard footsteps in the dark. A ghost, perhaps? No: just a nauseous Sam rushing to the bathroom to vomit.
"It's okay, just let it out," cooed her friend as the upchucking went on and on. Dave told us the poor girl had work the next day. Yale and I gave each other a look every time we heard her barf in the toilet. To be honest, I think I fell asleep to the sound.
When my eyes opened the next morning, it felt as though I had dreamed all the events of the previous day. I woke up at nine - far earlier than expected. There was a pretty morning light coming from the window. Not too bright, but not too dark. Its diffused nature fit Yale's sleeping face gorgeously. Before I saw anything else in the room, I woke up to his peacefully closed eyes. It was unlikely I'd ever see him again, but it was nice to wake up to the sight of a beautiful sleeping stranger.
I grabbed my bag and trenchcoat, and left without a trace. I bought a bagel and some hot coffee from a guy selling both on the street. And that was it - my crazy Halloween. In full force one moment, faded away the next. As I ate my bagel while taking the train home, strangers still looked at my sexy Patrick Star costume with admiration. At least it wasn't a total walk of shame.
Hopefully today's Halloween won't be super sucky. I'm dressing up as Mike Pence's fly and just going for a stroll with my boyfriend. But I know it will never compare to the eventful day I had last year, when the world was open. xxx
I admit: this piece totally doesn't match the prompt of the challenge I submitted it to, but I've been keeping this little story inside my head for a year and wanted a reason to share it. :) Sorry for any blatant spelling or grammar errors - I was in a rush to publish this. Make sure to leave a like if you enjoyed! If you'd like to reach out to me on the socials, my username is @katyisaladybug.
As always, thanks for reading. Happy Halloween!