The True Story Behind the Greatest Halloween Tweet of All Time

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Photo: Jessie Henderson

Halloween is a time for spooky things. Skeletons, bats, ghosts, Lich Kings, vampires, succubi, sarlaccs, sexy Abe Lincolns. But none of those things are scarier than [turns flashlight on below chin] [spooky voice] social anxiety! Such as that which accompanies overdressing for a Halloween party.

So comedy writer Katie Dippold discovered when she showed up for a party in full-Babadook getup. She shared her harrowing experience on Twitter earlier this year. It quickly went viral.

“I kind of want to just stop tweeting because I feel like that tweet just shows my soul,” Dippold says with a laugh. “There’s no reason for me to ever write anything, just like, if you want to learn about me, just look at that photo and that’s it, there’s nothing else to say.”

Dippold was kind enough to tell us more about her hair-raising experience.

What year was this?
This was last year, last Halloween. I was a 35-year-old woman.

And what gave you the impression that this event was a costume party?
I knew it was going to be casual. I know most of my friends are more-grown adults. But I still thought there would be a few people dressed up. My friend Neil Casey, he said he was going in costume. But then his costume was just Paulie from The Sopranos so it was really just him wearing a warm-up suit. So there was some expectation that I wouldn’t be completely on my own.

How long did it take to get ready?
I spent some time looking for the hat. I went to a Goodwill and found a men’s black coat, a peacoat, I guess it’s called. And then I went to this Halloween store and got the hat and the wig. And then I got the face paint and stuff. Not body paint — imagine if I’d painted my whole body for no reason. And so then, it probably only took like a half-hour to put the stuff on my face and get dressed up.

What made you want to be the Babadook?
I just love that movie and I like going scary with my Halloween costumes. I’ve kind of gone in that direction my whole life; I’ve never been into the sexy-costume thing. I like being in a scary costume so I can also use the time to try and scare friends and loved ones. And so when I first got dressed up in it, I went outside and stared inside the window at my boyfriend watching TV until he noticed. And then he reacted; he had a strong reaction to that. Then we just went to my friend’s house, who was just having people over, and again I waited outside the window until they noticed and then I just sat down.

So you walk into your friend’s house, and were you like the first to arrive or did you notice that no one else was in costume?
No, they were all just sitting inside watching a movie. And so I did grok that no one else was dressed up. But I was still very excited at the opportunity to frighten them. So that’s when I stared in the window until they noticed. And I did scare them very much. Then I just went inside. That was all fun and very exciting at first, but then when it came down to just sitting down and having a glass of wine and watching an entire movie, then it felt different.

An hour later.Photo: Jessie Henderson

Did your friends, for lack of a better word, give you shit about it?My friend Jessie Henderson took the photo. We went in the kitchen to talk and I got a glass of wine. And also because of that, I had terrible red-wine teeth. With the white face makeup, it looked really horrendous. We were talking and I was trying to tell her something, telling her a story, and she’s like, “I’m so sorry, I cannot have a conversation with you right now.” Like, I kept forgetting what I looked like, but no one else could.

Did that happen throughout the night?
Yes. I did use the time wisely when I was sitting there full-out, when I heard my friend Joe was coming, I then went back outside and waited for him to walk up. And I waited for like a good 30 minutes. But at a certain point, after waiting for so long, the joke was on me. So I don’t really know who’s the winner in that story.

Do you have any regrets about it?
No, never. I’m really stressed out because I wanted to really go for it this year too. My plan was to be the clown from It. My boyfriend’s sister-in-law suggested it and I really thought that was the way to heighten it. But now with all the stuff going on with clowns, this seems like it would be a very bad time for that. So I’m at a loss right now.

Do you have a backup plan?
No, I’m really scrambling. I really don’t, I’m freaking out honestly.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.