Example: [Reader's Digest, 1988]
On the night of the masked ball, a woman developed a migraine and told her husband to go alone. Later she felt better, so she got into her costume, which her husband had never seen. When she arrived and saw her spouse prancing around with one woman after another, she decided to get even.
Seductively, she whispered sweet nothings in his ear and after a long embrace lured him to the garden. Just before midnight, when everyone was to unmask, the woman slipped away and returned home. Her husband didn't arrive until
"How was the party?" she asked.
"Dull, he said."
"Did you dance much?"
"To tell the truth," her husband replied, when I got there I saw that Pete, Bill and Fred were stag, too, so we went into the den and played poker."
"You played cards all night?" she shrieked.
"Yeah," he told her. "I gave my costume to Charlie. He said he had the time of his life."
Origins: No matter how many times this one is passed off as a recent tale, nothing will change the fact that this joke-cum-legend is at least 40 years old. A 1965 joke book included a version involving a headachy wife who slips out of a costume party, switches outfits at home, then returns to the country club dance where she'd left her husband. She spots a figure wearing her husband's costume, and a bit of dancing and wickedly persuasive moonlight leads to her romancing its wearer in the back seat of a parked car. They part, and (as in all other versions of this tale), she arrives home before her husband does. When she asks her hubby how his night was, his description of the evening has him trading places with the bartender, a dour fellow who had previously complained about never having the opportunity to get in on the usual ribald Halloween party fun.
This legend is a neat reverse twist on the typical mistaken identity legend in which an unsuspecting
Proof that you can't keep a good story down are recent appearances of this tale told as true, first-person accounts. The following comes from a 1998 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine:
— Gabrielle, 24
"Really?" she said. You didn't meet anyone interesting?"
He replied, "I didn't talk to anyone new. When I got there, I saw the guys and we went into the spare room and played poker all night."
She said, "You must have looked really silly wearing your bear costume playing poker."
Her husband replied, "Actually, I gave my costume to my dad. He apparently had the night of his life."
Brunvand, Jan Harold. Curses! Broiled Again! New York: W. W. Norton, 1989. ISBN 0-393-30711-5 (p. 209-210). Brunvand, Jan Harold. Too Good to Be True. New York: W. W. Norton, 1999. ISBN 0-393-04734-2 (pp. 132-133). Brown, Gene. "Laughter, the Best Medicine." Reader's Digest. November 1988 (p. 78). Cerf, Bennett. Laugh Day. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company, 1965 (pp. 183-184). Cosmopolitan. "Masquerade Escapade: Cosmo Confessions." April 1998 (p. 52). Playboy. "Party Jokes." October 2004 (p. 110).
Also told in: