Tonight's the night that me and my peers remind ourselves that we will never grow old. We can do things like that, you know, anything we want, really, because we are the "Me Generation" and there are more of us than you.

Yes, we stole Halloween from the children, ran those little beggars right off the street. And we could have done the same with Christmas except that without Santa Claus, who's going to bring us gifts?

Now I do my Halloween shopping at the Costume Shop at Eighth and A streets NE on Capitol Hill, where all the hip young congressional people go. The owner, Lola Beaver, says the trend this year is historical garb, and Henry VIII costumes are selling like hotcakes.

You see, greed is "in."

But I needed something that better suited my physique.

So Beaver says to me, "The San Diego Chicken is not here yet. We do have a Panda head. It's new."

Funny, but I can't see myself looking like a Caucasian bandit, knocking on doors in a lonely search for Ling Ling. So I suggest a turban because it reminds me of the majestic Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.

"Some people come in here and they want to look like they already look," Beaver says. "Get a costume!"

Does she know me, or what?

"Men should never complain about women not being able to make up their minds," Beaver adds. "Men come in and spend hours trying on different outfits."

Beaver's assistant, Toni Gayle, suggests that I try on a costume. To encourage me, shop model Katy Stone prances out dressed as a saloon girl and suddenly that Matt Dillon outfit doesn't look so bad.

"You'll be surprised how different you feel once you've got it on," she says. "We convinced a man to try on our 'Jolly Green Giant' outfit. It had a shoulder exposed and the legs out. He liked it so much he went out and bought some green dye and painted his whole body to match."

It's clear to me that my people will be out in force tonight. And the competition will be keen. Dare I try on that rabbit suit?

The costume shop personnel are very helpful because they recognize that the phenomenon of adults donning Halloween costumes has become a booming business. Once they were one of the few stores in the city that sold costumes to grown-ups.

In the 30 years that Beaver has been operating her shop, she has learned that the new aficionados of the night must be dealt with as if they were shopping at Saks. Besides, she adds, "A lot of people just want to forget their troubles and be somebody else."

But let's not get mental.

"Men are into uniforms, power lures and villains," she continues. "Women either want to be real glamorous -- or real gross. I'm just glad that pregnant nuns are out of style."

"Those weren't funny, were they?" she asks Ethel Brown, a shop seamstress who sews gorilla and clown suits. Brown, who is 85, laughs anyway.

"I remember when Halloween was for children," she muses.

Now that's a laugh.

Brown must have missed the '60s revolution, when the Halloween takeover began. You see, when folks started saying we were too old for trick or treat, we showed them a trick or two. It started with melting Ex-Lax into the giveaway candy bars. But then somebody decided, why not cyanide? And razor blades. After awhile it got downright unsafe for children.

So the rest of you can just wait to eat boiled eggs on Easter (just save the chocolate rabbit for me). Go ahead, visit grandma on Thanksgiving Day. Stouffers is less hassle for me.

Just leave Halloween for the people who put the holly back in holiday, who must have invented the "j" for joy.

And be on the lookout for the monsters that wouldn't grow up, too. I'll be one that didn't need a costume, because I'll be going as me.