(Hopping back onto the blog train. Summer is too busy and euphoric. It’s true that if we were incessantly happy all the time, we wouldn’t need to think about things or create things or invest time in things. I was perfectly happy just to eat burgers and swim and lay outside and never once felt compelled to write anything. Now it’s starting to get gloomy and cold and I suppose I should pick back up again to fill the void.)
Halloweekened 2010 is upon us. For some, it’s just an excuse to party and they arrive to the events dressed as sexy nurses or standard zombies and drink a lot of beer. For others, it’s a reason to be something else and we employ our limited creativity skills to take risks and see what we can make with our imaginations. If you want to be a sexy witch because you just don’t care that much about Halloween, then that’s perfectly fine because I definitely follow a policy of “to each their own” for the most part. However, if you always arrive as a ghost just because you’re lazy or feel like you can’t think of anything good or have worries about how a costume will turn out, I encourage you to try something a little more outside the box next year (or this year if you have some time to pull something together tomorrow). It doesn’t have to be your life’s magnum opus in terms of excecution and it doesn’t even have to be that creative of an idea. But it will likely be something that no one else has ever done (or done the way you did it) and it probably will be some kind of tangible extension of yourself, even if that aspect is unintentional.
I’m not telling you to completely regress into your childish ways and show up as a princess or anything (unless you want to!), but think back to what Halloween was like when you were a kid. No one ever thought “Oh, yeah. I’ll just be a skeleton. That’s cool.” You actually picked what you wanted to be and got excited about it. Even if you changed your mind 10 times, you always said to your mom, “I want to be an alien this year,” or something similar. It didn’t have to be an original idea or anything crazy/elaborate. But you legitimately invested time into selecting what you wanted to wear for your classroom party. It was never like you had a cowboy hat laying around and decided you’d put that on 2 hours before school started. Obviously, some kids didn’t get to pick. Sometimes they had to wear a hand-me-down from an older sibling or had to use whatever was laying around at the house or whatever their parents bought for them at the store. Please call me out if I’m wrong, but it seems that those situations really only happened because the kids had no choice as dictated by their parents’ time resources and/or financial resources and/or lack of interest. If that was you, make up for it now that you’re an adult and can do whatever you want. If that wasn’t you, remember what Halloween used to be and get back into it.
Maybe my reality is distorted here. It’s possible that not everyone had an awesome mom like mine. She is directly responsible for inspiring my Halloween passion. The slight irony here is that my parents were slightly apprehensive about some Halloween costumes and traditions due to their religious beliefs. We weren’t allowed to dress as witches or ghosts and some activities were ruled out. Maybe it’s not that ironic if you attribute our creative costumes to the fact that we weren’t allowed to dress up as those Halloween staples. Whatever the reason, my mom went all out. She certainly has a passion for sewing and maybe Halloween for her served as an outlet for that interest. And of course, I’m sure it helped that she knew she was making the happiest Halloween kids ever. I definitely threw some fits regarding her creative direction versus mine, but as an adult, I really only have the utmost appreciation for her effort. We had a dalmatian growing up and one year I wanted to be Rascal so she made me an awesome dalmatian costume. When Episode 1 came out, my sister wanted to be Queen Amidala so my mom made a crazy hair piece out of fabric and sturdy wire to look like this. Obviously, you could tell that it was very homemade, but the fact that it was homemade actually made it more awesome. I mean, kids always want their costumes to look as real as possible and would rather have an awesome costume from a store than one their mom made, but as an adult, I totally appreciate that homemade quality.
Even has a senior in highschool when I wanted to return to the Halloween tradition after a long absence and asked for the best pink tutu in existence so I could be the most over-the-top dead ballerina ever, she once again took to the machine and I was in tulle heaven. Of course, I contributed with a black bow around my waste and gothic eye makeup and sprayed/destroyed black-ish hair, but it wouldn’t have been anything without that skirt.
The people who truly embrace Halloween inspire me to do the same and the magnificent result is a party full of characters and interesting costumes and the mix of all of that leads to an event that would be fun even without the keg. Even if all you do is throw on a banana suit, really try to embrace that banana. Don’t be a weenie. A costume doesn’t have to cost a lot or take a lot of time, but if it’s ridiculous and/or you really love it, then you’re a Halloween champion for the ages. In 10 years, you’ll look back at the pictures of you and everyone else and think “That was a damn good Halloween.”
Here are some pictures of costumes from Halloween 2008 and 2009. They’re delightful and I love my friends and their personalities and creativity. Even if you buy a costume that someone else thought up or if your costume won’t make sense to anybody… as long as you think it’s awesome then it’s awesome.
Ed is always something horribly inappropriate like a member of the KKK or a slave because that’s just Ed. In 2008, Julia dressed up as M.I.A. and was a very effective one all night until she put on the banana suit then added PC’s jacket to go over it thereby creating a second costume. And how can one not appreciate the originality of going as a baby mama or hot gluing cotton balls to a sweatsuit in order to be Little Bo Peep’s sheep and thereby enduring severe temperatures all night but having a couple’s costume that everyone loves. Duffman was impeccably executed and Calvin actually went to Toys ‘R’ Us to purchase a Hobbes. All of those and so many others are better than the standard skeleton/school girl. And if you really want to be those things, then go for it. But if it’s just a cop out, consider taking a risk and think of something else then make it happen.
It doesn’t really take a lot to make it happen. You can very affordably come up with something without spending a lot of time. Go to Goodwill and buy some stuff and make it work. For my 2008 astronaut costume, I paper mached a helmet using a balloon as the form and then spray painted it. That took all of 3 hours over the course of a week. Then I put on Under Armour, a white skirt, ridiculous winter moonboots, and a down vest. All of which I already had. Matt’s Calvin costume involved spraying his hair light yellow, buying a tiger, putting black stripes on a red t-shirt, and wearing shorts/shoes that he already had. Rob went as Mr. Clean and shaved his head, put on a white t-shirt and jeans, then painted his eyebrows white. Last year, Des put on a dress she bought for New Years and painted her face to look like a doll to become a coin-operated girl. Eli wore a wife beater, dress pants, suspenders, and yogurt lids he had saved to be “the bear Jew” from Inglourious Basterds. And if you have the time/creativity, then push boundaries to make something insanely impressive. Mike’s Duffman costume was unbelievably legit.
To end on a personal note, this year I was going to skip Halloween because my sister’s senior recital is this weekend. However, life messes are unpredictable and I have to stay to take care of some things. But there’s no way I’m missing Halloween if I’m going to be here. So, I have to come up with something fast. I’ll post a short update next week to prove that Halloween can be 10x more awesome than it would be if you hadn’t tried, even with a limited time/money budget. As long as there’ s will, there’s a way. Don’t be a Halloweenie. Take a risk and try something new. It’s your chance to be something you’ve always wanted to be. Make a real impression. Even if no one remembers what you were 2 years later, you’ll at least get their attention for that one night.