Halloween is my favorite holiday, hands down. Sure, I’m too much of a wuss to watch horror movies, but I love the decorations, the history*, the atmosphere. And any holiday that practically mandates eating as much candy as can fit in a plastic jack o’ lantern is good in my book.
The first few weeks of October are filled with witch hats, grinning pumpkins and bags of fun-size candy piled among supermarket shelves. But for the past several years, there has been something else tagging along with the UNICEF boxes and “Monster Mash” CDs. And it’s just a little raunchy.
Over the years, especially through out college, attitudes towards Halloween have changed drastically. During elementary school, my friends and I would start planning our costumes at the end of September. The goal was to be as creative as possible, topping both last year’s ensemble and eliciting admiring gazes from friends. The costumes, and the candy, were everything.
In college, however, Halloween takes on an entirely new meaning. Jell-o shots and crazy parties replace ghost costumes made out of sheets and funny, rather than spooky, decorations. But the biggest change is in the costumes. College students don’t seem to get into costume anymore. Well, more like they just don’t wear clothes. Somewhere between nap time and deciding on a major, Halloween has become an excuse to wear as little clothing as possible, and not get judged for it.
But if this phenomenon was confined to college campuses, then it could easily be written off as an act of collegiate, first time away from home rebellion, though an uncreative one. The problem is, the skimpy outfits don’t just belong to college kids anymore. The age in which revealing or suggestive costumes are somewhat acceptable – and, it seems, ‘cool’ – has been rapidly getting younger. Pint-sized sexy witch and devil costumes line the shelves at Target, amidst a wider array of options for boys. It is a sad state when a girl is considered uncool for dressing as something other than a French maid for Halloween. And it’s a little disturbing to see a 7-year-old as a “sexy witch.”
As costumes have become more and more revealing, their purpose of costumes has all but disappeared. To be honest, I have nothing against a skimpy costume (on people old enough to presumably avoid a Lolita reference or a “what’s wrong with the children?” response). Women should have the right to dress as sexily or as primly (for lack of a better word) as they choose. But just wearing underwear and some sort of animal ears (see “Mean Girls” for reference), takes no creativity whatsoever. That’s not a costume – that’s an invitation for Hugh Hefner. And he is way too old for you.
A costume takes creativity, imagination, a desire to be funny, witty or just ridiculous. Halloween is an excuse to wear fairy wings, cover yourself with zebra stripes or tie a belt on your head, pull underwear over your shorts, and go as Quail Man. Halloween should be fun. Kids and adults should be able to exercise their creativity, not their ability to withstand 40-degree weather in a bustier and witch hat.
This year, take some time to think about your costume. If you can’t resist the siren call of a night out in your skivvies, then at least make them Rocky Horror or Tarzan themed. Make those pumpkins you spent hours carving proud.
*Halloween was originally thought of as the day of the year when the dead were able to walk among the living. The Celts (who lived in England/Scotland) would light bonfires and wear costumes to keep the spirits away. How cool is that?