A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Okay, I’ve had enough! Hallowe’en is one of the coolest holidays on the calendar, but lately it’s been disintegrating into a dress-up party for icky people. Maybe it’s just the sugar shock, but I don’t care. Folks, there are rules to these things! For God’s sake, take a minute and think about what you’re doing before you go out and make a jackass of yourself this October 31st. So, once again, here are a few guidelines.
First and foremost:
Halloween is scary, not gory. If your costume features internal organs, four pints of fake blood or a severed limb, you’re not doing it right. Mutilation is not frightening; it’s gross. It amazes me that the very parents who call in the grief counsellors when their child discovers the goldfish is dead will stick a fake chainsaw through their abdomen, smear themselves with enough guts and blood to sicken Jack the Ripper and congratulate themselves on their imagination. People, your kids can see you!
Ladies, a one-piece, French-cut bathing suit is not a costume. Nor do furry ears and fishnet stockings turn you into a cat, dog, bunny, wolverine or dingo. And that goes double for those little red rayon devil horns.
Likewise Couples! Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re just a couple of wild and crazy kids, but the Nut ‘n’ Bolt or Plug ‘n’ Socket costumes are totally overdone. Everybody knows you two have sex — you’ve been living together for 8 years and you’ve got 2 kids. Give the nudge/nudge, wink/wink innuendo costumes a rest!
And Gentlemen, exaggerated genitals are just nasty.
In short, remember there’s a noticeable difference between sexy and smutty. If the button-down woman from Accounting comes to the party as Scheherazade – that might be stereotypical, but it’s sexy. If Roger from sales shows up as the Genie with a magic lamp glued to his crotch, that’s just smut.
And 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.
Now for some don’ts:
If Mother Nature and Happy Meals™ have made you the Fat Elvis, do not dress up as the skinny Elvis. That’s just sad. Go for the sequins — not the leather. Otherwise, you’ll look like a hyper-extended Italian handbag. Basically, (and this goes for all costumes) you need to use that full length mirror before you prance out of the house on Hallowe’en.
Priests, nuns and the Pope are not costumes – they’re part of a religion. Honestly, would you go to a Hallowe’en party dressed 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.
Don’t let your kid get carried away. For example, a ten-year-old in a Lady Gaga extravaganza is beyond inappropriate. Lay out some ground rules for Jane Jr. or you’re going to end up hating each other when she finally gets to therapy.
Never, never, never, 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 Hallowe’en, and they trust you. Don’t make them look stupid. (Where the hell is PETA when you need them?)
A word about vampires and zombies:
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.
Zombie costumes are just sorry. Everybody and their friend has been doing zombies since HBO discovered them. If you have so little creativity in your life, grab a sheet and go as Casper. Believe me, it’s the lesser of two clichés.
Some At-Home etiquette:
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 example, do not give out toothbrushes, dental floss or mouthwash. Organic Free Range oatcakes and that kind of crap are just barely acceptable – but only if you shut up about it.
Likewise, October 31st is the wrong time of the year to start lecturing people on the long and unfortunate history of witches, the evils of 2,000 years of Christianity or the minutiae of Wicca folklore. You’ve got 364 other nights of the year to be a pain in the ass; choose one!
One more thing:
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.
Halloween is not carte blanche to be a jerk. Scaring the bejesus out of your drunken friends is one thing, but pulling that crap on little kids isn’t very nice. Remember, you’re the adult here.
This is serious, folks. Hallowe’en is an important event. Please use some discretion. (Look what happened to St. Valentine’s Day!)
Happy Hallowe’en, everybody!