It’s the last week in October, meaning it won’t be long until people of all ages will be going to parties and taking to the streets in celebration of Halloween. What’s not to love? Of course, on Halloween there are things you should do and things you shouldn’t do, as always. Below are four simple things to keep in mind and get you started as you celebrate this Halloween.
DO express yourself!
Halloween is an opportunity to get away with wearing something you wouldn’t ordinarily. Take advantage of the opportunity to try something with more visual drama than usual, or radically different than what you do every day. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of this opportunity to try new things.
DON’T wear something offensive.
Dressing up as someone else’s culture is a big no-no, as are things like blackface. These are cultures, not costumes, and dressing up as an outdated, racist stereotype is wildly offensive, most of all to the people who have to face the harmful effects of these stereotypes every day. Just don’t do it — there are a hundred alternatives to each of these costumes that aren’t offensive to large swaths of humanity. For more information about this, here’s an article from the New York Times about cultural appropriation as it pertains to Halloween, and here’s a more tongue-in-cheek perspective from artist Dylan Marron.
DO try DIY!
DIY — that is, Do It Yourself costumes — can be a fun way to make a costume cheaply. DIY allows for more creativity and control over what the final product is, not to mention the possibility of last-minute improvisation. For example, this year I’m wearing a bat costume comprised of a black t-shirt, black jeans, a single-piece fabric “wing” I cut out of an old costume cloak I found in the bottom of my closet, and some Wal-Mart cat ears. Attach the wing to the t-shirt with
stolen borrowed black bobby pins (or safety pins, if those are on hand) and you have a fun, unique costume that costs next to nothing and can be pulled together in less than an hour. (Not that I ever procrastinate.)
That’s me in my bat costume.
DO have fun!
Cheesy? Absolutely. Important to remember? You bet. At its core, modern Halloween is about having fun. That’s the focus — not having the best/goriest/scariest/most unique costume, getting the most candy, throwing the best party, or whatever might get in the way. It can be easy to get caught up in this, but wouldn’t it be better to have fun at a small get together of good friends with the truly groundbreaking costume of 99-cent vampire teeth than to be miserable at a lavish party in the best costume ever seen? Don’t get so wrapped up in making the other things perfect that you let it get in the way of having fun.