By Laura Conaghan
Once upon a time, Halloween meant dressing up in the scariest outfit imaginable, walking through the streets of your neighbourhood, collecting as many sweets as you could – whilst wolfing down a fair amount before you mum started rationing how you would tackle your haul – and scowling at those handing out monkey nuts. You would then spend the rest of your night in a sugar induced coma with the lights turned off and Hocus Pocus on the TV.
That was Halloween.
But you’re at university now and that nostalgic sugar-induced coma has transitioned ever so slightly into a tequila induced one – after all it seems it is no longer acceptable to go around asking for sweets from strangers houses when you’re twenty years of age.
The most obvious change in Halloween culture as you have grown up is certainly the outfits. Less scary and more of that sexiness, right? Herein lies my first grievance with Halloween: the so called sexualisation of the whole affair. The unhealthy and worryingly prominent message that arises at this time of year is that girls shouldn’t be able to wear what they want to wear. The fear of being slut shamed is almost palatable. Apparently, a girl embellishing her outfit with knee high socks not only taints the image of little red riding hood (and various others) but also screams ‘look at me’, ‘come and get me’ – and most startling of all – ‘I’m easy’. Surely, to take the stance that females shouldn’t be sexualising Halloween outfits would only serve to exacerbate the existing victim blaming culture that so many woman are subjected to?
Contrastingly, should any female take head of this ‘advice’ and cover it all up then it would be only logically to then tar her as a ‘prude’, am I right? It might come as quite the revelation but sometimes a girl just wants to dress up as a nurse in the way others want to dress up as a banana (no sexual undertone intended).
It shouldn’t matter if you want to be a burlesque dancer or an orthodox nun; my only gripe arises when outfits become repetitive and predictable. Have I just had that one Jägerbomb too many, or have I really seen cat woman and batman twenty times tonight? Halloween has somewhat lost its creativity and homemade costumes have been replaced by generic outfits, all bought from the same pop up Halloween shop and all bought at those ridiculous prices.
I could go on but I’ll avoid the feminist rant (for now). Ultimately, my point is this: if you want to give Snow White the ‘V’-shaped neckline you think she deserves, then by all means do so. But why not lend a little character to that neckline and make your costume more… unpredictable?
If outfits weren’t enough to make you want to Bridget Jones the night (you know the scene I’m talking about), the prospect of make-up just might. As I write this, we are only in the first few days of October and already I feel that we should all brace ourselves and assume the foetal position for the barrage on social media of ‘MUAS’ shovelling their step by step make up guides on how to transform our faces into whatever mythical creature takes their fancy. Is this annoyance fuelled by my sheer envy that I lack the skills to recreate the looks they are telling me I should be able to? Perhaps – but maybe it’s because I don’t actually possess the required Smashbox red lipstick in shade 3.8 in order to create this look. (And no, my drug-store brand just does not quite cut the mustard as much as you seem to keep telling me that it will.)
So, while some of us may be left feeling as about excited about Halloween as the pumpkin you’ve just disembowel, maybe a night out at the Garage and stumbling back home as Elsa, (heels in one hand, chips and cheese in the other, all whilst trying to convince the taxi driver you wouldn’t dare sneak a bite of them once you’ve got in) – is what Halloween is all about now. Glorious, isn’t it? And, to be perfectly honest, I can get just about get on board with that Elsa fantasy.
(But PLEASE, for the love of God, don’t subject the general public to any Olafs.)