A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
I don’t know what it is about Hallowe’en that short circuits the short-term memory, but every year rational, reasonable people go nuts. Maybe it’s the sugar high from eating too much of the kids’ candy before they get there or just the excitement of being allowed to play dress-up as an adult — without the “Eww! That’s weird” part. Whatever! Either way, we need to stop for a moment, take three deep breaths and remember the true spirit (pun intended) of Hallowe’en. So let’s just revisit some of the guidelines of All Hallow’s Eve so we can all have a good time and not look like a bunch of nutbars.
First and foremost, Halloween is scary, not gory. I cannot emphasize this enough. If your costume comes with a warning label “Viewer discretion is advised” leave it on the shelf.
Ladies, a one-piece French-cut bathing suit is not a costume. I don’t care what colour fishnet stockings you have or what kind of a tail you put on it. Nor do furry ears, a black nose and magic marker whiskers turn you into a cat, dog, bunny, wolverine or dingo. And that goes double for those little red rayon devil horns.
If Mother Nature and Happy Meals™ have made you the Fat Elvis, do not dress up as the skinny Elvis. That just looks sorry. Go for the sequins — not the leather. Otherwise, you just look like a hyper-extended Italian handbag.
Couples! The Nut ‘n’ Bolt or Plug ‘n’ Socket costumes are totally overdone — unless you’re gay — then you’re just providing way too much information.
Do not, under any circumstances, put a costume on your pet. That is just mean. Dogs, cats, ferrets, budgies and, smart as they are, even pot bellied pigs don’t know it’s Halloween, and they trust you. Don’t make them look stupid. (Where the hell is PETA when you need them?)
If you have to explain your costume more than twice, you either have simple friends or you don’t know what you’re doing. Costumes should be recognizable. Remember, there’s a big difference between Chewbacca and Bach – nobody’s going to know which Bach you’re trying to be.
Cross-dressing is fine, as long as you’re not a transvestite. If you are, that’s cheating.
I don’t care what Anne Rice or what’s-her-name from Twilight says, vampires are not gentle souls. Nobody should cuddle up with a vampire and watch Dancing with the Stars. If you do, you deserve everything you get. Therefore, if you’re going to do vampires this Hallowe’en, put some heft into it: look the part, and a little Euro-trash accent wouldn’t hurt.
Always remember there is a noticeable difference between sexy and smutty. If the button-down woman from Accounting comes to the party as Scheherazade — that’s sexy. If Roger from sales shows up as a Genie with a magic lamp glued to his crotch, that’s just smut.
Speaking of sexy, Little Bo Peep, Little Red Riding Hood and Little Miss Muffet are not sluts – they’re storybook characters. The operative word here is “little.” There’s nothing wrong with risque on Hallowe’en, but there are plenty of grown up women to choose from, like Pocahontas, Maid Marian or that scary chick from The Avengers.
Building is better than buying. Part of the buzz of Hallowe’en is putting together a costume. Any fool with a credit card can be Snow White or the Wicked Witch, but it takes real imagination to go as the Apple.
Priests, nuns and the Pope are not costumes – they’re part of a religion. Honestly, would you go to the Hallowe’en party as a Lutheran or the Archbishop of Canterbury? If you’re going to make fun of somebody’s faith, pick on the Moslems: they bite back.
If kids still come to your door on Halloween, it is never acceptable to give out lame treats. I don’t care how committed you are to a better society; one night a year, you can lighten up, for God’s sake! For example, do not give out toothbrushes, dental floss or mouthwash. Organic Free Range oatcakes are okay — if you just shut up about it.
Likewise, October 31st is the wrong time of the month to start lecturing people on the long and unfortunate history of witches and warlocks, or the minutiae of Wicca folklore. You’ve got 364 other nights of the year to be a pain in the ass; choose one!
Finally, Halloween is not carte blanche to be a jerk. Scaring the bejesus out of your adult friends is one thing, but pulling that crap on little kids isn’t very nice. Remember, you’re the adult here.
So — if we all follow these few simple guidelines, we can all have a ghoulish good time.
Happy Halloween, everybody!