I love its total lack of solemnity, the candy, the costumes, the general permissiveness surrounding the whole night. Really it's the only fun holiday that wasn't based on a (current) religion. Don't argue with me on this; Thanksgiving is just the worst.
As a kid, Halloween was the time of year when I didn't have to reel in my hyperactivity because all the other kids were boosted up to my everyday level from the sugar and hairspray fumes. Now I like it because by wearing costumes in public, everyone is making him or herself goofy and mockable in some way, whether or not they're doing it consciously. I also still really like the candy.
So there's only really one problem with Halloween: that whole "Slutty-This" and "Sexy-That" thing. It's icky and you all know it. But wait, don't leave-- I'm not here to bitch about that! That's been talked to death. And I did enough of that in college when I lived across the street from a sorority at a relatively Greek-heavy university.
(Sometimes I still think I hear them singing their pledge song, which was really just "Sweet Alpha Phiiiii" to the tune of "Sweet Caroline" ... Jesus.)
Really, I'm done complaining about the trashy costumes! Instead, I want to explain the dilemma that a lot of women face come Halloween. This is what some would call a First World Problem, but it's a problem nonetheless.
Most of my friends and I are uncomfortable with the idea of using Halloween as an excuse to publicly expose ourselves (Triple-Breasted Total Recall costume aside, I mean. That doesn't count because it's wonderful.)
But it leaves us in a weird situation. How do you dress up without feeling like you're putting yourself on display for the ogling pleasure of any jerk who looks your way?
I know that there are plenty of nice, pretty costumes that a woman could wear that aren't porny. Most women are able to find a happy medium if they don't want to dress as a spicy witch or, like, whorenun. But just wearing something that makes you look pretty or sexy is boring! And if Halloween is about anything (which it's not, and that's why I like it), it's about going to extremes. Maybe that's why so many women go for the super-sexy getups; maybe each one is trying to outdo the last by making her costume even sexier, even more revealing...
And I have the same impulse, I guess. The only difference is that my goal is to elicit sexual terror and confusion rather than lust. So most of my costumes from the last ten years have been automatic boner-killers.
I think I was in high school when I first really noticed the increasingly skimpy costumes for women. my friend Katherine and I went to school as Cannibal Cheerleaders. From the neck down we wore your average "sassy" cheerleader costumes, but our mouths were covered in blood and we held hands and feet on stakes.
HILARIOUS, RIGHT??? ...Whatever.
But the moment I still remember from that day was when a male friend saw us from behind and was getting ready to tease us for our sexy costumes. He started to call out "Ooooh!" until we turned around, faces bloodied, brandishing body parts. I suppose the horrified and confused look on his face was the reaction that I've looked for ever since when choosing my costume.
So it's not so much about sticking it to The Man... I wish it were! But I don't have that kind of focus or drive. Instead I think it's just about making myself lololol. That's actually the inspiration for every dumb thing that I do evereverever.
Incidentally, Katherine and I dressed up together again earlier this year. This time it was actually was not for Halloween, but for a party (at which we were not popular). A note to anyone who cares: crepe hair and spirit gum-- VERY hard to get off of your skin.
Hairy Pin-Up Girls
Another example: the year I lived across from the sorority, my housemate Lis and I started brainstorming about what "Sexy _____" costumes we could do that would reflect the absurdity of the trend. Our goal was to appear to completely miss the point by sexualizing something decidedly non-sexual.
We had some good ideas, but finally settled on Sexy Mt. Rushmore, which later was pared down to Sexy Ex-Presidents when we lost a couple members. I got dibs on Abe Lincoln, she got George Washington. I kept the beard and hat on all night.
Another year, that same friend came up with the idea for us to be soccer moms and I jumped right on board. We went all out for that one; Capri Suns, orange slices, warm-up suits, anti-drug hats, press-on fingernails-- the works:
So this year my thought process went as follows:
Alright, alright... Sci-fi movie costumes are always fun, so let's start there...
Ooh, Blade Runner rules!
...How about Pris? She was cool and I like her makeup.
No, no, too sexy.
Okay, what else do I love? STAR WARS!
Who could I be?
...Green Twi'lek who gets eaten by the Rancor?
Waaay too sexy... and full body makeup would really mess with my complexion.
Clearly female characters were not an option. So my path at this point was clear: I must be a sexified female version of one of the more repulsive characters from Star Wars. From the original trilogy, of course; I'd rather dress as a whorenun than dress as a sexy Gungan. But thanks to the internet and the astonishing amount of information on Wookiepedia.com, I was able to find illustrations of what these creatures would look like:
Option 1. Slutty Gomorrean
Option 2. Slutty Mon Calamari (Ackbar)
Option 3. Slutty Hutt
I think the winner here is clear. Slutty Hutt-- later renamed 'Jabba the Slutt' cuz that's just funny-- would be relatively easy and really startling. They sell those inflatable Jabba costumes for $70, and from there I'd just have to get a plus-sized corset and thong, paint on some makeup, and I'd be good to go. I even went so far as to make plans for it with Microsoft Paint, and it looks pretty fucking beautiful:
I was really stoked about it and posted on Twitter and Facebook about my idea (SHUTUPYESIMONTWITTER). I got one response from a stranger on Twitter who said "Please don't do jabba the slut. you are 2cute & hutts not. han's slut sister would be good?"
Oh, come on! How disappointing! Totally missed the point.
Uch... anyway, it doesn't matter now, because as much as I hate to say it, I'm not doing it anymore. I decided last night that it would be a pain in the ass to lug that huge costume around, and $70 plus the cost of a plus-sized corset is really a lot of money for one night of glory... and yes, there would have been glory. Maybe some other year when I have more money I can revisit the idea, but for now it's but a dream... A wonderful, wonderful dream.
Don't cry for me, though! I came up with a good compromise costume: equal parts thrifty, repulsive, and demure. I will post it after Halloween if it turns out well, but for now it's top secret.
I forgot that I was going to post this.