I don’t know about you guys, but Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. Beautiful autumn weather, carving pumpkins, scary movie marathons, all the candy I could ever want (I’m a big fan of Smarties and Almond Joy, FYI). Of course, the best part about the holiday is that it allows me to indulge in my wardrobe fantasies via the Halloween costume.
For one thing, Halloween entitles everyone to dress as ridiculously (or scandalously!) as they please. Personally, this means that everything I’m too embarrassed to wear in public is fair game as long as I can muster up some sort of official costume name for it. One year, I decided to be an Asian princess (basically myself, in princess garb). No one was privy to the fact that the tiara I wore on my head was a gift for me, from me, just for being me. Another year, I discovered an ugly ruffled frock I had bought on a thrift store whim in Berkeley. So I set my hair in pigtails, slapped some fabric on my head that I called a bonnet and voilà: I was Laura Ingalls a la “Little House on the Prairie.“
I also love Halloween because it provides the rare opportunity for people to show off their intelligence through dress. This most notably manifests itself in the form of a superficial comprehension of books that appeared on high school English reading lists. Hats do the trick for nearly any character of such books: Sport an ugly plaid hunting cap with earflaps and call yourself Holden Caulfield, or don a bowler hat and rim your right eye with eyeliner and say you’re the guy from A Clockwork Orange.
If you’re really smart, try to make some sort of obscure pop culture reference that only super cool people would recognize. Better yet, attempt to fool people by dressing as something obvious, then correcting others indignantly when they try to guess your costume, such as “No, I’m not John Travolta from Grease – I’m Johnny Depp from Cry-Baby!,” both of which require essentially the same wardrobe.
Let’s not forget the obvious: Dressing up allows us to be what we’re not. There is the option of dressing up to “liberate yourself” (otherwise known as the “it’s OK to be slutty!” Halloween costume course) or to emulate a pop star icon of your choice, but I ask, why not take the occasion to shed some insight on society? In other words, dress up as your favorite social stereotype! Geeks, cheerleaders, ghetto hip-hop folk, yuppies – the possibilities are endless. The more ironic, the better. Anti-brocial people, prep (haha! get it?) yourself appropriately with a collar-popped polo shirt, fake tribal tattoo and a bro-hoe to act as arm candy. Conversely, frat boys and jocks, ask your girlfriends for their skinny jeans. Add a plaid shirt, a form fitting American Apparel flex fleece zip-up hoodie, and you’re good to go!
Of course, there will always be the Halloween naysayers. Sure, every party has a pooper, but even worse are those that go to Halloween parties, don’t dress up at all and announce their stupidity by saying things like, “only douchebags dress up.” To these people, I can only ask them to put their negativities aside and stop being a Debbie Downer – unless they were going for an ironic take on the Negative Nancy, which in that case, I’d probably laugh.
RACHEL FILIPINAS: Hipster from Williamsburg or Garth with dark hair? Who knows, you tell her. Send your thoughts and lots of candy to firstname.lastname@example.org.