With Halloween fast approaching, emergency rooms are gearing up to save the lives of sucrose-overdosed children. I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve witnessed an EMT slamming the chest of some child in a Power Rangers costume with a syringe full of insulin, epinephrine, or whatever the hell it is that keeps those little heathen changelings alive for another year of chocolate, gluttony and synthetic fiber. And that would kill anyone’s buzz — even a Kennedy’s.

This year, however, I no longer see Halloween as an over-commercialized, pagan ritual that shaped my childhood; I see it as an over-commercialized, pagan ritual that allows people to ignore the inside and screw the outside. Last year, I watched Billy Joel start Christie Brinkley’s fire right in the middle of cross campus! Uptown Girl, indeed!

This is the beauty of Halloween: it hides the hideousness of all of you. After a couple of keg stands and a candy corn chaser, the costume is all we see. You aren’t in my section; you’re a fireman! You aren’t so-and-so from Calhoun; you’re Paris Hilton! You’re not my suitemate’s little brother visiting campus; you’re Danny Bonaduce! Oh, the repercussions. Wait, there are none!

Okay, I take that back. While waking up next to someone who’s not yet old enough to drive a car isn’t quite the same as waking up next to that sassy redheaded star of the Partridge Family, it’s not the worst thing that could happen. You want to talk terrifying morning-after epiphanies? Try waking up with your arm underneath a clown! That’s way scarier than sleeping with Danny Bonaduce, even in real life!

The only thing potentially more horrifying than giving it up to Bozo is the realization that you have just had sex with someone dressed up like an animal. Why? Well, not just because of your apparent bestial preferences, but because you, my unsuspecting friend, may have stumbled into a freakish underworld of fake fur, googly eyes and hardcore dry-humping! That’s right! You just mounted a plushy! Ew!

For those of you who don’t know, “plushies” — also known as “furries,” “plushophiles” or “fursuitophiles” — are a strange subculture of people who become sexually aroused by animal costumes or just plain ol’ stuffed animals. At Web sites like tigerden.com, you can find information on local con-fur-ences, places to buy a costume for yourself, and instructions on how to get started if you should find yourself near a “stuffed animal that appeals to you in a very personal way.”

From the looks of the photo gallery, this “personal way” is strictly sexual. If you want to nail Cheery the Sunshine Bear, a long-retired Beanie Baby, you should do it because the bear’s sweet satin bow and soft fur arouse you, not because your Aunt Bea gave it to you after your painful bout with gallstones or because Cheery is worth quite a pretty penny on Ebay. That first reason would make you a freak. The second would make you a gold-digging skank! And the good Lord knows, the plushies don’t want either kind of perversion in their ranks.

If the idea of a tryst with your beloved childhood toy doesn’t do it for you, you might consider the plushy alternatives: meeting other people at hotels for dances and then stuffing them silly while wearing heavy raccoon or panda costumes. Though this seems creepy and sweat-inducing, there are some merits to getting your baboon on in the local Holiday Inn. For one, all your potential body issues will no longer be a concern. Just keep your fur conditioned and shiny. Before you know it, you’ll have every beaver in that place at your disposal!

On a more serious note, while I was checking out these costumes online (some of which are really, really expensive, especially when you consider what they’ll be used for) I noticed that there were no real holes around the crotch. Sex, between a cheetah and a lamb, natural as it may seem, is completely non-penetrative. The risk for contracting STDs appears to be extremely low, if not altogether absent. So you should feel free to dry hump all the plushies you can (except for those with horns) without fear of hurting yourself during intercourse. You will, however, most likely get the snot beat out of you in the Holiday Inn parking lot. Children can be so cruel!

If you want to experiment with costumes this Halloween, but don’t like the idea of love Dr. Moreau-style, then maybe you should just go the traditional, boring route: role playing. For years, couples have spiced up their sex lives with the aid of the naughty nurse costume or the perverted postman. There’s nothing hotter than head-cheerleader head after a long day at work or a PTA meeting! Unlike the previously mentioned mammalian costumes, these seemingly vanilla encounters are riddled with risk. For instance, participants can become deluded into thinking that they are actually realizing their fantasies.

However, some people do get so into their fantasies that they start to live them. One such “alternative” (as in “alternative to an acceptable existence”) lifestyle is represented by a group of people called the “adult babies.” These people (usually middle-aged men) like to drink from bottles, suck on pacifiers and wear diapers for extended periods of time. After checking out some of these adult diapers on the website Diaper Pail Friends (dpf.com), I was shocked by the prices! Some of them are $45 or more! That’s like taking a dump in a J.Crew sweater! On this site I also found a video of an adult baby named “Stevie” making a “real stinker” in repulsive, broadband quality resolution. Apparently, a disaster in a diaper ignites an insatiable sexual fire in some people. I’m sorry, but I found the video to be utterly frightening.

In all seriousness, though, people do seem to forget that costumes (whether on Halloween or a random Tuesday) are just for fun. They can start to believe in them a little too much. Just because Paul McHomo bagged a man dressed up as a woman does not mean that he is now “bisexual” because — well, besides the obvious reasons (*cough* penis! *cough*) — the guy was probably dressed up like Bernadette Peters or Liza, making Paul even gayer. And just because you banged that tenth-grader doesn’t mean you slept with the hottest teen star of the early 1970s — come on, Danny was just the bassist. Once the sex is over and you pull the wigs and falsies off the ceiling fan, you’re both the same as you were on October 30th. So get over it. I mean, really, it’s not like you porked it up with Betty T. at President Levin’s Halloween reception.


Now that’s scary.

Bradley Bailey’s going to be a hedgehog for Halloween, so hands off, plushies!