Will the Real Superman Costume Please Stand Up?

When I was a kid, I was really into Superman. Not the conflicted and vulnerable super-sculpted Superman of modern graphic novels and the current sophisticated animated series (in which Superman is re-imagined as if he was was the offspring of his mother and Mount Rushmore), but the impervious and steadfast Superman from the black-and-white TV show, old-time radio shows I collected on LP, and the Saturday morning cartoon to end all Saturday morning cartoons, Super Friends.

Naturally, I spent many a Halloween wearing the one-and-only Superman costume offered—a vinyl apron that hung on my body like a rain poncho, complete with a short vinyl cape that would rip easily in the hands of a toddler. It also came with a shiny plastic eye-mask that no son of Jor-El has ever worn, but what was a ‘70s Halloween costume without a sharp plastic mask painfully cutting into your skin?

Today, nearly every store-bought Superman costume features built-in six-pack abs, bulging biceps, full-length capes and shimmering cloth. This is true whether the costume is for an adult, a kid, a toddler or a dog.

In fact, just about every super hero Halloween costume for boys and men looks to have been fed a steady diet of crunches and steroids.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't want one of these costumes, one that doesn’t just hide who I really am—like my childhood one—but one that transforms me into my fantasy alter ego. No mask or imagination required. Yes, I want that…and a time machine to go with it. Because on Halloween night these days, my only facade is that of the door-to-door chaperoning Dad, waiting to see what nougat-filled loot his kids will share with him. Not that I'm not proud of that super guy, but he comes with too much of his own padding, if you know what I mean.

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