Weekend Wanderer: I Went to Shyamaween, and It Was the Ultimate Monster Mash

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weekend wanderer

It’s not easy assembling a costume for Shyamaween. 

Wait. 

Are you familiar with Shyamaween

No?  

Good.  

I love explaining Shyamaween. 

M. Night Shyamalan — the Philadelphia-based writer and director of The Sixth Sense — has a charitable organization he founded with his wife. 

I would have linked a biographical article about M. Night Shyamalan but everything I found summarized his films in a way I can only describe as incorrect.  

I mean, did these people even see The Village? It’s only, like, his fourth-best movie, people. 

Every October, M. Night Shyamalan and his wife, Dr. Bhavna Shyamalan, host a costume party, channeling the proceeds to their foundation. 

I could have left it at “M. Night Shyamalan and his wife.” But Bhavna earned a doctoral degree and runs a business.  

I kind of want to be her when I grow up. 

And take a class at her studio. 

Their costume party is called “Shyamaween” — a sublime portmanteau of “Shyamalan” and “Halloween.” 

Your first — and maybe most important — decision is figuring out with whom to attend Shyamaween.  

Sorry about that “whom.” I know it sounds pompous. But if M. Night Shyamalan ever reads this, I need the pretense my grammar is on point. 

Your fellow attendee should be a Shyamalan fan, of course. And someone willing — no, eager — to dress up.  

In other words, a best friend. 

My best friend will do two things for me, no questions asked. 

Bury a body and go to Shyamaween. 

The good news is, in the latter case, nobody has died. 

Next, resign yourself to Shyamaween starting at 9:30.  

I know that’s way past bedtime. You will just party like an Osmond on Shyamaween night.  

Go to bed on time the other three hundred and 64 days a year and get over it. 

Now, once you’ve purchased Shyamaween tickets, you’re on to your next decision. 

Costumes. 

We ruminated until we remembered a comment my bestie once made when we were discussing the celluloid duo most representative of our friendship. 

And no. We didn’t say Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro in Goodfellas. They intended to bury that body.  

If I ever need her to bury a body with me my day has taken a left turn. 

My bestie decided we are Geordi La Forge and Data, the engineer and android, respectively, from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Despite my well-documented love of Star Trek, I have never dressed up as a member of Starfleet

I did try to conduct a few wedding vows in Klingon. But no sooner had the idea percolated than my husband gently explained Klingon vows were not happening. 

It was his only request. 

Of our entire marriage. 

Assembling a Data costume is monumentally stressful. I mean, sure. Buying his top was a few taps on Amazon

Although — a little note to Star Trek costume manufacturers — the women who enjoy Star Trek need more than just dresses for costumes. Even the female characters in the Star Trek universe have pants. 

So I ordered — ahem — a man’s yellow Star Trek uniform top, relieved Data doesn’t wear red. 

I didn’t want to be the body my bestie buried. 

That’s a little Star Trek humor. 

Pants for my costume, shoes, socks — they fell easily into place. 

Painting my skin gold is where I got stuck. 

As an android, Data glimmers a radiant gold.  

I wanted to be gold like Data, but, well, I erupt in rashes if I use adult sunscreen, vacation near the Equator, or use cosmetics bought with pocket change. 

I’ve taken steroids for a body-wide rash caused by shampoo. My ears burn when I wear earrings. Nail polish on my fourth toe results in an agonizing itch. 

Painting my other toes is fine.  

I don’t know why. 

So gold paint on any skin not covered by my costume — I could have the best costume at Shyamaween or the best anaphylaxis in the emergency room. 

I was also stymied by purse selection. Data didn’t exactly carry a Madewell purse he bought on sale. But I was never really clear on where he kept his communicator and flashlight. 

I lamented my costume woes to my husband, who informed me I was veering from an adorable love for Star Trek into territory where I never, well, not hunt/not watch bad movies

That’s not a double negative.  

And really. He knew what he was getting into when he married me. No Klingon vows? Come on.  

My son stopped me as I left for Shyamaween. 

“You guys can’t go out to dinner dressed like this. You just can’t.” 

But we did. 

And exactly zero people noticed. 

I’m not kidding. We walked along Frankford Avenue. We walked through the restaurant, through a casino. I brushed my face with more gold in the very public bathroom. 

Nothing. 

Maybe — maybe it’s because we died the moment we left home. Maybe it was our bodies getting buried by some other best friend duo. 

And that, my friends, is an M. Night Shyamalan movie. 

I hope it gets described correctly. 

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