Antique Costumes Make My Skin Crawl

📅 Published on October 22, 2023

“Antique Costumes Make My Skin Crawl”

Written by Hailey Henson
Edited by Seth Paul
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 10.00/10. From 4 votes.
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Let me start by saying that I hate Halloween.  But don’t write me off yet; let me explain.  Every year, my mother would sew me a ridiculous costume that no one in their right mind would think to wear.  While my friends were clad in Batman, Green Arrow, and The Flash, I was stuck with… E.T. Yes, the alien from that movie released back in 1982 with the stupid glowing finger.  I was the laughingstock of my friend group that year.

My mom either had a horrible sense of humor or she didn’t realize that the only alien I wanted to dress up as was the one from planet Krypton – Superman.  But we were poor, blue-collared, white trash people.  We lived in a trailer that had way too many cats, not enough food stamps, and an alcoholic maniac who made our lives a living hell every day of the year.  My father’s mood swings and endless piles of Modelo bottles were haunting enough that the thought of celebrating Halloween just wasn’t on my radar.

When I turned sixteen, I stopped dressing up for Halloween altogether and put the whole stupid holiday behind me.  When the man of the house stopped acting like a man and more like a dead-beat loser, I had no choice but to grow up a little faster in order to fill that space.  I got a job at the local diner to help my mom pay the bills, and all of those silly costumes were shoved into a box and scooted under my bed to collect dust.  A couple years later, I graduated high school, my mom finally divorced my dad, and I married my high school sweetheart.

We had one child together – my son, Finneas.  For a while, everything was great.  I had a decent job making decent money, Guinevere was settling nicely into being a stay-at-home mom, and Finn was growing like a weed.  Around the time that he turned thirteen, though, I noticed a shift in Guinevere’s behavior.  She started becoming quiet and aloof, leaving the house at odd times to “run errands” and guarding her phone like her life depended on it.  When I pressed her for information, she simply guilt-tripped me about not trusting her, so I left it alone.  For six months.

Sometime around September, my wife finally came to me and admitted that she had been having an affair with our twenty-one-year-old neighbor, which led to our inevitable divorce.  My son was crushed. The holidays were incredibly tense and strained with Finn bouncing between the two of our houses like a ping-pong ball.  And while I was busy grieving the loss of the love of my life, she was busy playing house across the street.  It was like pouring salt in the wound every time I saw the two of them out in their driveway.  Moving on is a whole lot easier when your ex doesn’t live a hop, skip, and a jump away.

Two years later, Guinevere fell pregnant, and since she was so wrapped up in the new baby, Finn was free to visit a little more than he had before.  He had been spending so much time over at my house, that this had practically become his home.  While his room at his mother’s house had the necessities, his room here was far more lived in.  Various band posters were plastered to the walls, clothing littered the floor, and a gaming setup that any teenager would die for sat in the corner of his room.

I didn’t mind having him around more often, though, and his mother was more than glad to hand him off to me.  “A new, shiny baby is much more interesting than a son that reminds her of a failed marriage every time she looks at him,” Finn spat the day after his new step-sister had been born.

He didn’t say anything else after that, but he didn’t have to.  The sound of him slamming the front door shut and storming to his room spoke volumes.  I couldn’t say that I knew exactly how he felt, but I did empathize with the feeling of being replaced.  Guinevere didn’t spare anyone’s feelings when she chose her own over Finn’s and mine.  At the time of our divorce, I’d been replaced by a man who was just legal enough to drink alcohol, and not long after, Finn had been replaced by his baby.

Finn had been increasingly quiet the last couple of weeks, clearly in some kind of slump.  I knew that he was buried in schoolwork, but I also knew that despite Halloween being my least favorite holiday, he loved it more than Thanksgiving and Christmas combined.  So, I took the day off from work, made a run to Spirit Halloween, and decorated the house in all kinds of creepy decorations.  Finn wouldn’t say it, but I knew he would appreciate it.  By the time I got home with some pizzas, soda, and an oversized bag of candy, I expected him to be home.  With a glance at my watch, I cocked a brow and wondered why he was running late.  School let out at 3:05, and it was currently 5:00.

“Dad?” Finn called, dropping his backpack on the floor by the front door and padding into the kitchen.

“Hey, bud.  You’re late!” Two cheese pizzas were laid out on the countertop next to a bottle of Mountain Dew.  “You hungry?”

“Actually, Cam, Lacey, and I were going to go out tonight.  Do a little trick or treating.  So, I probably need to get going.”

My eyes flitted up to meet his, a smirk tugging at the corner of my mouth.  “Lacey… as in the girl you’ve been crushing over since the beginning of the school year?  That pretty blonde girl?”

A blush burned at Finn’s cheeks, his hand coming up to rub the back of his neck.  “Yeah… That one.”

“Aren’t you three a little too old to go trick or treating?” I teased, lifting a large piece of cheese pizza to my mouth, a string of mozzarella clinging to my chin.

“Halloween’s my favorite holiday, and besides, Cam just got his driver’s license, so he’s going to drive us over to the rich neighborhood that gives out the full-size candy bars.”

“When do you think you’ll be home?” I asked, in between sips of Mountain Dew.

“Probably sometime around midnight.”  Finn was toying with a plastic bag in his hands, the ruffle of the bag drawing my attention to it.

“What’s in the bag?”

“Oh, it’s a costume!  I had to pick up something last minute.  All the other places were wiped out. But, this little hole-in-the-wall antique store downtown was open, and they had this sick Halloween costume hanging up in the window.” The elation in his voice made me laugh, my mind floating back to all of the horrible costumes my mom made me wear.  I would have killed for something “cool.”

“Come here, let me see.”  I motioned him forward, wiping my hands on a dishtowel before I leaned back against the kitchen island and watched him pull the costume from the little plastic bag.

“Isn’t it cool?!  Crazy realistic, and I got it for pennies!”

Goosebumps traveled along my arms as I stared at it, every hair standing on end.  Something about this costume simply didn’t feel right… an awkward chuckle left my lips as I crossed my arms and met his excited gaze, one singular eyebrow raised when I didn’t answer.

“What?  You think it isn’t scary enough?  Cam’s dressing up as Pennywise, but I think I’ve got him beat!”

My eyes traveled back down to the costume, the fabric of it strangely resembling human-like skin.  It was a full-body costume, something akin to one of those weird morph suits.  Hair sprouted up along the arms, and blood was smeared across the front of it, staining its clothing a deep hue of red.  The face was even worse… two holes were cut out where the eyes should be, a hole for the nose and another for the mouth.  All of them were bloody and tattered, the skin in those areas frayed and misshapen.  That wasn’t the strange part, though.  The strange part was when I noticed that it had a full head of hair.  It almost looked like –


“Oh, yeah….” I awkwardly coughed and rubbed my chin anxiously.  “I’m sorry, I was a million miles away!”  With a pause, I moved a little closer, my eyes trying to inspect the costume without touching it. Whatever it was… it creeped me out, and I didn’t want anything to do with it.

“Yeah, I think you’ve definitely got Cam beat with this one!  It looks so…” My voice trailed off as I noticed a raven tattoo on one of the costume’s legs, the ink old and faded.  And then my eyes narrowed in on something else.  It even had freckles… And moles?  Were costumes always this detailed?  Something about it was just so… Uncanny.

“It looks so real, doesn’t it?!” he exclaimed, running a hand over it.  I watched as he held it up, dangling the costume in front of me before throwing it over his shoulder and heading back to his room.  “I’ve gotta go change, but I’ll see ya later!  Don’t wait up for me.”

I wasn’t usually very strict on Finn, but staying out late on a night like Halloween was never a good idea. I don’t know what the kids do these days, but my buddies and I… well, that’s a story for another time.

“Hey Finn, please come home at a reasonable time, alright?”

“Yeah, yeah!  I hear ya!” Booted feet trudged down the hallway and disappeared into his room before his door clicked shut.  Part of me was curious about what that thing would even look like when it was put on, but I didn’t have a chance to stick around and find out because my phone rang.


“What happened to calling me Guin?”  I could hear the sound of her annoyance crackling over the line.

“Don’t play nice with me.  What do you want?”

“Jer went out with the boys tonight, and I really need some help with my washing machine.  It’s been making a weird clicking noise and-”

“Let me stop you right there.”  Finn’s mom and I didn’t speak very often, but when we did, it often ended in a yelling match filled with some combination of curse words or insults.  So, I peeled open the back door and stepped out.  I didn’t want Finn to hear whatever insanity was about to ensue.  “Sounds like fixing the washing machine is a job for your husband, and last time I checked, I’m not that.”

“Why do you have to be such an insufferable prick all the time, huh?  You used to-”

“Stop.”  My voice was short and stern.  “I used to be a lot of things before you screwed everything up, but I’m tired of dealing with you and your lousy attempts to get me back.  I know Jeremy is a lazy, idiotic, sorry excuse of a husband, but that’s your fault for marrying a literal man-child.”

“Jeremy is far from a man-child!” she screeched, the sound causing me to pull the phone away from my ear.

“He’s twenty-three,” I retorted, “and you’re 45,” I ground out between clenched teeth.  “Maybe if you weren’t old enough to be his ‘mommy-’”

“You know what, I don’t need this right now.”

When the phone hung up, I couldn’t help but chuckle.  Cheating on me with that idiot is one of the worst decisions that she’s ever made, and it brings a smile to my face every time he proves me right.  I didn’t want to tell her, ‘I told you so,’ but it served her right.

By the time I got back to Finn’s room and rapped my knuckles on his door, I stood there for a second before I pushed it open and noticed that he had already gone.  With a shrug, I strolled back to my bedroom, changed into some sweats, and turned on some HBO.  I’d slowly been making my way through “Game of Thrones,” and I was stoked to have some time to start another season.

Sometime around 3:45, I awoke with a start.  My T.V. glowed, the words “Are you still watching?” glaring back at me on the screen.  I threw the covers from my body, stealthily slipped into my closet and grabbed my baseball bat.  What woke me up was the sound of glass shattering, and all I could think about was whether or not Finn had made it home or if he was still out.  If there was an intruder in my house, I could only hope it was the latter.

Slowly, my sock-clad feet snuck across the hardwood of the kitchen as I surveyed my surroundings.  My eyes were sleep-crusted and delirious, my entire body on edge.  I felt like a live wire that would snap at any given moment, the bat clutched so tightly in my hands that my knuckles were white.  Everything looked fine until I reached Finn’s room… a cold sweat broke out when I noticed that his door was cracked open.

I heard a shuffling from inside the room, and I held my breath.  I wanted to move, but my feet were held captive.  It felt as if I was paralyzed.  My heart was racing.  The shuffling from inside the room had stopped and gone silent.  My hand shuddered as it reached out towards the door, a strange mixture of fear and adrenaline coursing through my veins.  My fingertips graced the door knob before my hand finally wrapped around it.

A dusting of chills raced over my arms, and I faltered once again.  My grip on the doorknob loosened for just a moment before I slowly twisted it, my fingers trembling when I pushed the door open a little further.  Light spilled out onto the hardwood, and I hesitated to push it the rest of the way open.  A weird chattering sound echoed from inside the room, and every second I stood there, it felt like it was growing louder and louder until…

The door flew open and smacked into the wall.  I jerked back in response, a quiet gasp escaping my lips before I stepped into the room.  Finn’s entire window had been shattered; shards of glass, bloodied and broken, littered the floor.

“Finn?” I called, my voice shaking as I dodged the mess.

And that’s when I felt it.  A strange, warm sensation as something dripped onto my shoulder, the pattering sound so incredibly loud in the silence of the room.  Confused, I stopped and wiped at it, the color of the substance staining my finger red.  My hand froze.  My breathing stilled.  And slowly… my eyes darted towards the wall, up and over the blood-stained band posters until they finally turned towards the ceiling.

A strangled, horrified scream caught in my throat when I eventually realized what I was looking at. There, huddled up on the ceiling, was a man.  A creature?  My heart thrummed wildly in my chest.  The urge to run became increasingly overwhelming.  His eyes glowed down at me, and a sinister smirk tugged at his lips before he started coughing… profusely.

I clenched the bat tighter, my mind racing as I stared, dumbstruck, at the thing gazing down at me.  And then it vomited a strange, gelatinous slime that fell onto my head and clung to my T-shirt like a thick, blackened tar.  Another scream flew past my lips as I stumbled backward and tripped over a pair of tennis shoes, falling into a heap on the floor.  To my absolute horror, the man scurried across the ceiling like an oversized spider before crawling down the walls and inching towards me.  But that’s when I saw it… the raven tattoo.

“Finn?” I questioned, my voice wavering.

“Dad…?” the creature mocked, lips quirked up into a wicked grin.

“Impossible…” I breathed, scooting back towards the door.  “H-How did you?”

“You have such nice skin, Dad.  Mind if I borrow it?”

A gasp caught in my throat as I shook my head, the realization dawning on me.  “The costume, it’s… Finn’s wearing your…” I stuttered, stumbling over my words before I fell quiet.

“Skin,” the man finished, his tongue slithering out to lick dry, crusted lips.

“Leave him alone…” I pleaded, squinting to see him better in the dark.

A weird sound, something close to a chuckle, left his lips as he stalked closer to me, walking on all fours like some kind of animal.  “I’m afraid your son is the perfect canvas for my skin,” he drew out.  “Unless…”

“Unless what?” I asked, desperately trying to bargain with him.  “Anything… I’ll do anything.  Please just let my son go.”

The creature stopped, clearly pondering my words before it spoke again.  “Unless you can find me another host.  Someone young… And fresh.”

My mind searched for some type of solution when I noticed headlights shining through what used to be the window.  I smirked when I realized who it was.  Jeremy.  I didn’t know what the heck he was doing in my driveway, but I’d never been so glad to see his stupid, smug self swaggering up to my door.

“I’ve got just the host.  Let me invite him in.”

The creature held up a singular finger, stopping me in my tracks.  “If this is some kind of trick, I promise you that this will be the last ‘Halloween costume’ that your son ever wears.”

With a gulp, I nodded my head and scrambled to my feet.  By the time I made it to the front door and tugged it open, a thin sheen of sweat had begun to collect at my brow, my breathing ragged and sharp. I’m sure that I looked absolutely deranged.

“Hey, bro.  You look like-”

“Jeremy, hey!  You wanna come in?”

He eyed me, quirking a quizzical brow.  “Nah, man, I’m good.  I’m just here to grab some mail for Guin. She’s been nagging me for a month to pick it up, but I’ve been busy Twitch streaming, trying to get my gaming channel off the ground!”

“Yeah, um, can you just-”

“You know, I tried to tell her that just because she’s had a baby, it doesn’t mean she can be a lazy slob. She can pick up her own mail.  In fact, I could have sworn she had the post office-”

“Jeremy,” I seethed before trying to calm myself down, an idea popping into my head.  “You know what, why don’t you come inside and talk about it?  Maybe I can give you some advice on how to handle her? I mean, we were only married for twenty years before you ruin- I mean, came into Guin’s life and rocked her world.”  The sarcasm in my voice was unmistakable, but this kid was dumber than a box of rocks, and he reeked of alcohol.

“Man, you’re a real one.  Maybe we can finally bury the hatchet?  Say, I’ve got a six-pack of beer in my truck.  You wanna pop open a few cans?”

I despised alcohol.  Memories of my own father flitted through my mind like a motion picture film.  He was laid back in his recliner, buried in empty beer bottles, and right now, I was feeling better and better about my decision to offer him up as a sacrifice to that creature, or whatever that thing was that had possessed my son.  Finneas deserved better than this…

“You know what, don’t even worry about the beer!  I’ve got some in the fridge.  Let’s put the past behind us.”  I pasted on a perfectly fake smile, trying my best to hide the anger simmering just below the surface.

When Jeremy finally stumbled into my living room and made himself comfortable on my couch, I couldn’t help the laugh that bubbled up from my lips when I noticed the creature skitter across the floor towards the back of the sofa.

Jeremy peered up at me, confused and clueless, before all hell broke loose.  I couldn’t peel my eyes away.  The scene in front of me would have been almost unbelievable if I hadn’t witnessed it myself.  In a matter of seconds, I watched as the creature pounced on Jeremy, its skin melting off of my son like a thick, oozing sludge.

A gurgled scream left Jeremy’s mouth as he fought the creature’s advances, but it was simply no use. The melting skin stuck to him like plaster.  A mixture of horror and curiosity radiated off of me as I watched it infiltrate every inch of Jeremy’s body, molding to his form like a glove.  The skin of the costume crawled and wriggled, rippling across Jeremy’s skin and sinking into his pores.  It started slowly, traveling up his legs, climbing towards his torso, weaving around his neck, and finally encompassing his face.  One last scream wrenched free from his lips before he fell deathly silent, his body twitching one, two, three times before it went limp.

My eyes, wide as saucers, quickly landed back on my son, no longer mesmerized by the strange transformation.  Finn toppled to the floor, covered in the thick, black slime, before he opened his eyes and gasped, choking on it.  I rushed to his aid, leaning him forward and patting his back.  His eyes were wide and bewildered, rushing around the room in a frenzy before he came to his senses.

“Dad…?” he croaked, tears glistening in his eyes, thick blonde hair sticking up in every direction. “What… Where am I?”  His voice was quiet and confused as I wrapped him in my arms and buried my face into the top of his hair.  I didn’t care that he was covered in who knows what; I was just glad to have my son back.

When my eyes finally glanced up at the creature, I gave it a single nod before it lifted its hand in a wave and strolled out my front door.  I didn’t relax until I heard the sound of the truck pulling out of my drive, and when it finally did, it took everything I had not to break down in tears.  As I clutched my trembling son, I couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief.

Last night, my son purchased a strange costume from an antique store, and this morning, I found him crawling on the ceiling, but what really made me feel better was knowing that later that afternoon, Guinevere found Jeremy crawling on hers…

Rating: 10.00/10. From 4 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by Hailey Henson
Edited by Seth Paul
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Hailey Henson

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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