Halloween was my favorite holiday as a kid, not so much for the scary monster gore blood associations (which are downplayed for kids anyway) but for the costume and candy aspect. Also being able to walk around at night… usually a school night too. It really threw a monkey wrench into the usual pattern of come home from school and then don’t leave the house again until the next morning.
Similarly “off-feeling” was going to school at night, which usually happened on the night of the Christmas pageant. You had to go to your classroom and watch Xmas specials with your whole class until it was your grade’s turn. Then the whole class would walk in a line to the auditorium. Just the night sky outside the windows and the shitty weak fluroscents overhead made the whole experience feel like the twilight zone to me.
My mom sewed my costume every year and we usually started about a month before, going to the fabric store to pick out what I wanted. My best (and weirdest) was in 2nd grade I was Sherlock Holmes. The best costume I made on my own was in high school, where I was one of the line drawings from my Russian textbook. We used no-frills Eastern Bloc text books that featured minimalist line drawings of the Ivanovich/Petrovna families (I actually don’t remember their last name in the book but the mom and the dad were Anna Petrovna and Ivan Ivanovich, to use their patronymic). I wore all white and painted my face white. I cut out “outlined” flowers from felt and pinned them on the white dress and outlined my nose, mouth and eyes with black eyeliner. I made my hair (in the weird semi-flip style of the drawing) out of posterboard with the details drawn in sharpie. It was pretty sweet.
I read an article online somewhere about how Ricky’s (a NY local beauty supply/sexual novelties chain, for out of towners) got into the halloween costume business and now totally turns over all of their floor space to pre-made, bagged costumes for the entire month of Oct. It’s actually kind of a drag since I needed to get some hairgel and I couldn’t find it for all the “sexy pirate” and “silver surfing man” costumes draped over the shelves. Anyway, the guy interviewed said that they’re such a huge market they can tell the costume companies what to make and they’ve revolutionized Halloween by starting the “sexy [blank]” trend.
Fuck you, Ricky’s.
Other people have complained in person and in blogs about this, particularly female comedians. I’ve known a couple who’ve done their own heightened versions (Sexy Burn Victim. Sexy Abraham Lincoln). My complaint, aside from it being lazy and uncreative (dress like a hooker, add signifier = ears, hat, prop), is it’s rarely sexy. It’s “sexy.” A lot of the store-packaged Sexy [Blanks] mysteriously feature some form of pouffy mini tutu. Are dudes getting off on tutus these days? No, because actually putting something sexy like a g-string or hot pants might offend someone or make the lazy costume buyer BE a sexual object and all it’s uncomfortable (physical, moral) associations rather than lamely nod at a toothless abstraction of it. For the record though, 1950s commercial conceits of an inanimate product with lady legs in high heels is the only sexualized costume I approve of. Pack of Lucky Strikes with fishnet gams? Hot-cha-cha.
I think any inanimate object with sexy legs is a winner, in particual if the object in question is actually innately UN-sexy. Like a package of porkroll. Or an issue of the Atlantic Monthly. Or DVD of Studio 60. (Suggest a good one and I’ll draw it and post it online)
Here also is another good idea. If you dress in a sexy bee or ladybug costume (lazy!) you can be redeemed if you wear a very realistic anatomically correct insect head. I mean like moving, drooling pincers and all.
I have nothing to wear tonight.