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Acceptable Halloween Costumes

Halloween, the spookiest holiday of the year, celebrated by dressing up and knocking on strangers' doors for candy. The origin of Halloween is often credited to Samhain, a Celtic festival celebrating the end of the harvest season and the Celtic new year. Bonfires, into which the bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown, ensured a successful harvest and a brought good tidings for the new year. Traditions from all over the world recognize this time of year as a gateway between the normal and the paranormal breaking down. It is the time of year when the boundary between the living and the dead, the natural and super-natural, and good and evil, are at their thinnest.  It was believed that the deceased and spirits would causes us problems, such as damaged crops and sickness and cause all kinds of mishap. Costumes, masks, house decorations such as jack-o'-lanterns and other various ornaments were used to ward off evil spirits thereby ensuring good health and a successful harvest.

Halloween, it's all about keeping those evil spirits, harbingers of the demonic, monsters, ghosts and ghouls, at bay.

As mentioned above, and I believe it's widely known, the purpose of dressing ourselves up as witches, warlocks, demons, zombies, monsters, mummies, vampires, werewolves, ghouls, goblins, etc. is to be scarier than the evil spirits! The intent is to make them so scared to be on our plane of existence that they cower back to Hell, or wherever they're from. Even its current diluted form, the point of Halloween is to have some fun with the macabre, the gothic and the grotesque. For Halloween, dress up scary!

Batman: A shitty, non-scary costume Batman: A shitty, non-scary costume

So why the hell do I see lame costumes such as cowboys, princesses, comic super-heroes, ballerinas, pirates, knights, aliens, television/movie/cartoon characters, transvestites and a plethora of 'gag' costumes such as hotdogs, flashers, pimps, breast-inspecting stations, political figures and condoms? None of these are in the least bit scary -  with the possible exception of political figures. No evil specter is going to run from a caveman or a genie. Boba Fett or Yoda are not going to strike fear into an archvile of Satan. What do you hope to scare dressing up as a bunny?!?

Ghouls are spooky Fairies: Absolutely non-scary and a poor choice for a Halloween costume Ghouls (left) are spooky. Fairies are absolutely not scary and a poor choice for a Halloween costume

A grassroots movement

I'd like to start a grassroots movement to get Halloween back on track! Get people focused back on the grisly, bloodcurdling and frightening aspects of Halloween. Sadly, I'm far too lazy to take on such an endeavour, but perhaps others could pick up my torch. My basic tenants are:

  1. Halloween costumes should be SCARY.

    They should be, at the very least, horror related. Halloween is neither the time for hero-emulation nor for showing your true colours by dressing as a woman - that's what Pride Parades are for. It is also not a time to be funny, even at parties, that's what your life is for, and it is not a time to play Johnny Depp in the Pirates of the Carribean, Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz, Charlton Heston in Ben Hur, or any other non-scary popular movie character. If you want to dress up as a movie character then there's plenty to choose from; Jason, Michael Myers, Freddie, that marionette-thingy from SAW, Animal from the Muppets, all suitable costumes. Halloween is for spookiness, dress accordingly.
  2. An old, scary witch is a good Halloween costume An old, scary witch is a good Halloween costume
  3. Sexy costumes are ok.

    A witch is a good Halloween costume, a sexy witch is just as good, if not better. If this sounds like I'm being hypocritical, I am. It is also permitable to dress like a sexy genie, sexy Egyptian, sexy Greek, sexy nurse, sexy policewoman, sexy secretary, sexy librarian and sexy whatever. As part of my grassroots movement I encourage this dress for year-round events.
  4. A sexy witch is not scary, but it's a fine costume for Halloween and year round A sexy witch is not scary, but it's a fine costume for Halloween and year round
  5. No political masks.

    They're not spooky, they're not clever, the people who wear them are not amusing; unless it's a Richard Nixon mask - those guys are usually pretty funny.
  6. Non-scary costumes demand public ridicule.

    Don't reward bad behaviour with "That's so cute!", "Oh my! That's hilarious!" and "Awesome! Where did you find a cell-phone costume?". That's wrong. No good Halloween is cute, hilarious or a cell-phone. These people need to be pointed at, humilated, then spit on.
  7. A cellphone costume: Anyone who wears this is an asshole A cellphone costume: Anyone who wears this is an asshole
  8. You have to dress up.

    This is where my grassroots movement deviates from merely applying social pressure to those around you and takes a lean towards the political. I want to push to government(s) to punish people that don't dress up for Halloween events. Nothing major, just a fine or bamboo chutes underneath the fingernails. There should be some effort put into the costume, dressing a garbage bag with garden hose wrapped around your waist isn't a 'hosebag' costume. Such facetious attempts at guisery should warrant treatment as advocated in tenant #4.

With a little bit of effort, none of it mine, this should really catch on. Halloween should be a fun event filled with superstitious imagery, scary icons and spooky vibes. Don't take up this cause and soon you'll be holding a Disney Mardi-Gras on your front porch on what should be the most frightening night of the year.

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