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We sat in a row on the ground in the backyard of someone’s house at someone’s halloween party. We were watching two costumed people fight with fake swords — I think the female version of John Snow won in the end, somehow; I’m not sure how you win a fake fight.

The backyard belonged to a house that belonged to a group of college students — anyway maybe that explains why the backyard was only patches of grass and the ground was mostly scraggly dirt, large rocks, a spare desk chair, and an old couch that everyone was avoiding. Most people were standing anyway, looped into circles of hand-made-costumed art majors waving clear plastic cups full of questionable mixed drinks around in the air as they spoke. My little group — three girls sitting on a row of lumpy rocks — cycled between watching the sword fight, chatting, and gazing around at other people.

I was in town from out of state, visiting my friend in her city for the second time in as many months. It was November 1st, and I had just  Mega-Bussed my way south for 8 hours, Halloween costume shoved into my backpack.

As we sat in our little artsy row, another person came to join us. And his costume was confusing but very good and I had to ask him what it all meant and sometimes that’s the way homemade costumes and art both are.  And the four of us continued the chatting and watching and gazing cycle. And really it’s not entirely true that my friend was the only person I knew at the party, because I had met this boy before, a month earlier, during my first visit to the city.

The rest of the party happened and then ended, after John Snow won the fight and we all got up from the rocky, dirty, chair-y backyard and danced in the room that is usually the dining room and drank more questionable drinks made by two college kids dressed as a werewolf and the universe. And the rest of my visit happened, happily, spending time with my friend and exploring the city she lived in which was slowly becoming my third favorite, after my hometown and Chicago.

I remember at one point during the next day how I found myself with nothing much to do for a few hours, as my friend was working on a project for school. And I could have done a lot of things with that free time. And I remember thinking about the boy from the party, the intriguing beautiful artsy boy, and I wondered what he was doing as I was sitting around (writing this), and if he would agree to get coffee if I asked him, or just wander, or chat, or gaze at other people somewhere in my new, third-favorite place.

These were all things I thought about but didn’t do. And I Mega-Bussed back home and his name was added to the list of “Cool People I Should Have Hung Out With.” Almost a year later, and that list slowly continues to grow. Of course the other list, the cool people I have hung out with, is much longer, but there are names that I’ve missed, people I’ve missed out on, experiences I haven’t had, for no good reason other than I was too afraid or too unmoved or too lazy, or a cycle of all three. And that’s no good. That list exists but it shouldn’t. This is a true story but it shouldn’t be.

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My brother is going as Abraham Lincoln for Halloween this year. (I, obviously, being 21, am much too old for any Halloween fun. Dang it.)

Why Honest Abe? Because he didn’t have any clue what to be and then we saw a cheap black top hat at a Halloween store and I said, “Hey — Abraham Lincoln?” and he agreed and that was that.

He already had a white button up shirt, so we were good on that end. If you’ve ever seen a picture of Abraham Lincoln… well, he’s not that fancy of a dresser. It’s always the basic white shirt, black hat, and bow tie. This makes for a quick, simple costume! All we had to do was head to our local Salvation Army in search of a black suit jacket and a bow tie. We found the jacket alright, but no bow ties – only sponge-bob and purple-polka-dotted regular ties.

I looked up “how to make a tie into a bow tie” and quickly found a video on Youtube explaining how to do it (of course there’s that video).

The rest was easy, throw on the top hat, use brown costume makeup to make a beard (my brother is only 15 – not yet a full-on beard grower.) Wah-la, as the French say. Abe!

Girls can be Abe, too, I think! You can even make it slightly more “cute” by using a dark purple or red hat/bow tie/jacket. Whatever. Or, you could even be slightly creepy and turn this idea into a couples outfit. Mr. and Mrs. Abe, anyone?

Here’s how I would do it:

Black Top Hat$53 asos.com

White David Dot Shirt $88 usa.frenchconnection.com

 Black Velvet Bow Tie  $80 flannelsfashion.com

Issey Miyake Men’s Double Blazer  $2235 farfetch.com

Glitter Top Hat $20 windsorstore.com

Mustache Must-Have Necklace ∞  $5.50 claires.com

Bench Women’s Long Sleeve Shirt  $56 houseoffraser.co.uk

Burgundy Alber Velvet Bow Tie ∞  $120 liberty.co.uk

Alexander McQueen Fitted Blazer $2855 farfetch.com