By Rachel Robertson
Last year I did my usual Halloween costume browsing at the start of October, around the time when the sharp change between the summer rain and the autumn rain was most prominent. Of course, as of every year, I was firmly horrified by the excessive price tags on the costumes; £40 to dress in uncomfortable clothing all night? I think everyone is missing the important factor of that being the equivalent of FORTY vodka mixes in the union and if you are still alive after that I think you would be less than concerned if you had arrived in no more than a bin bag.
Due to the extreme expensiveness and the pressure of having to commit to a costume idea I decided to put acquiring an outfit off until the week of Halloween itself. This is where the panic hits, this is the one day of the year where you can’t get away with not making an effort – this is social pressure at is very highest. After panic buying a costume off eBay two days before the 31st, I eventually turned up kitted out in my Minnie mouse costume feeling a little relieved. Me and the fifty other Minnie Mouse’s at the union that is; turns out cheap costumes don’t go hand in hand with originality.
At this point you are forced to go a little out of control with drowning your sorrows, spending even more money and resulting in you most probably not even being able to recognise that you are at a Halloween party at all. So really the whole thing was pretty pointless.
I like the whole idea of Halloween, the dressing up and the pre-costume search when you sit with your friends buzzing at the seemingly endless outfit possibilities. Yet I feel that these days, Halloween is less about the fun and the get-togethers and more about companies finding another way to creep money out the bank accounts of students that can’t really afford it. The whole trek from shop to shop to look at outfits as equally pricey as each other is definitely not enjoyable and in a way it kind of takes the excitement out of the actual day itself when you are forced to turn up in something that you don’t even really like.
Halloween is a good excuse to do something a little bit different than other nights out, but with prices of costumes soaring, the lead up to Halloween becomes more frustrating each year and the pressure of choosing a suitable costume does become something of an inconvenience rather than a joy.
However in the end, once you surpass the feelings of discomfort and poverty you feel in your ridiculously expensive costume, it really is just another excuse to get steaming and if nothing else a lot of banter at the expense of the more enthusiastic get ups.
And maybe the next morning – depending on how much alcohol you manage to consume – you will think all that stress and money was worth it. But then again, maybe not.
By Kathleen Issac
Halloween poses two potentially stressful dilemmas for students who are already breaking under the pressure of essay deadlines and dissertation meetings: where to celebrate it and what to dress up as.
The most popular costume contenders usually get snapped up before you can say; trick or treat? Once the sexy nurse, the sexy witch, the sexy pumpkin ( I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised if that one actually exists) and- my personal favourite- the zombie cheerleader have been monopolised, what options are left for a girl other than to throw her Galoshans out of the pram and declare Halloween cancelled? Ok I might be joking about the costumes, but I really do believe that Halloween is so popular because it allows everyone to embrace their inner ten year old for the night; you really can become Batman for one night only.
Not scrambling up the loft for the dress up box just yet? You will be. On what other night of the year do the streets of all the world’s major cities resemble The Rocky Horror Picture Show? When else do Freddie Kruger, Noddy, a transvestite Miley Cyrus and a sexy banana find the time to drink to each other’s good health with shots of Sambuca under one roof? Halloween is a night to let go of your inhibitions; the one night of the social calendar when you don’t have to worry about your hair falling flat or your eyeliner being half way down your chin by midnight. You want to go out in public sporting a Borat mankini? Live the dream! Fancy showing off your fetish for prosthetics? Anything goes, it’s Halloween after all!
In saying all this, I have to confess that I have been the victim of a few character building Halloween experiences. You know the ones when you turn up for pre-drinks and realise that you were the only one who got the memo that it was, in fact, Halloween? Last year was one such evening, when I had my very own Lindsay Lohan moment. I turned up at my pal’s house dressed as a baby- complete with curly red wig, a dummy and an unflattering white smock- only to find that other’s hadn’t quite captured the same spooky spirit. One friend in a leopard print dress claimed to be a ‘cavewoman’, while another – who was sporting a fashionable jumpsuit – had got her decades mixed up, purporting to be a sixties chick while in reality she wearing seventies style flares. But I ended up having a brilliant night. It didn’t matter when my makeup started melting way before ten o’clock, or when I began to resemble Bette Davis in ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?’ because it was fun, and not many people recognise you anyway.
Another plus is you don’t have to push the boat out to celebrate. Ok so anyone over the age of twelve is technically too old to go round the houses, but being students at Strathclyde, you are perfectly placed for a good night at the union’s famous all-nighter. If that’s not your thing then you can use it as an excuse to get drunk and watch horror films, I bet you’re half way up the loft ladders now.
So go on, dig out your copy of ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’, stick on that sexy banana costume and have a happy Halloween!