Last Halloween, I went to a party where a gaggle of girls stood in the corner, dressed in nothing more than Saran wrap. They had managed to color it with marker, wrap it around their…swimsuit areas…and had effectively turned it into tiny dresses.
“What are you five supposed to be?”
“We’re crayons,” they said in unison before bursting into giggles.
It’s tough to tell if we should be applauding this type of effort that combines (sort of) sexy and (kind of) creative into a way-too-short, nonetheless neat little package. Considering the fact that the National Retail Federation estimated that based on years past, the average Halloween participant will spend $75.03 on decorations, candy, and, most importantly, the costume this year, they at least deserve props on the cheapness of their matching ensembles.
Yet what exactly does it mean in psychological terms when someone decides to dress up as a crayon, or as Bella Swan or Tarzan or even a sexy maid for that matter? What goes through one’s mind when they’re dawning that particular outfit in front of the mirror? How will other people respond? A few popular costumes and what they say about you:
The Clever Costume
This is the girl who writes psychoanalysis terms on a nightdress and calls herself “A Freudian Slip” or the guy who Sharpies onto a plain white t-shirt “404 Error. No Costume Found.” Get ready for some solid, His Girl Friday-quality banter because this person lives and breathes in brilliant repartee.
You’re wistful, nostalgic, and, against all odds, somehow still quite innocent. If you’re looking to pick up the Jasmine, Arielle or Snow White at a party, you’re probably shouting up the wrong castle — Rapunzel may let down her hair but that doesn’t mean she’ll let you climb up to her room.
Male Sex Symbol
Interesting how the popular male costumes represent heroes while the most-worn women’s costumes are generally subservient roles. What’s more interesting though is that the guy who dresses up as a fireman, police officer, or G.I. Joe is probably still about eight years old inside. Look for him in the corner getting trashed on Natty Light with his buddies. If he’s particularly handsome he may still get some sensual stares. Either way, you’ve got to respect a guy who’s willing to pervert his childhood dream job and turn it into a sex symbol.
Ah, the classic example of someone who wants to have sexy and scary all at the same time. The only downside: painfully unoriginal. Throw in some fake chompers though and you’ve got yourself a funny, sexy, and scary costume — the Halloween Trifecta.
Sorority Girl Kitty Cat
You’re hot. Well done, you got away with the oldest “I’m sexy and young” costume in the book. (But, seriously, well done.)
Whether you’re a sexy maid, a hot nurse, or a naughty schoolteacher, you might be representing your own repressed sexuality on the one day that it’s totally acceptable. Then again, how many mathletes are dressing up as Jazz Age flappers and near-naked doctors? Usually, the sexy costumes are worn by people who already have buckets of certainty — and pride — in their own sexuality. Also, has anyone actually ever seen a sexy maid or nurse in real life?
Pop Culture Touchstone
You wore a three-piece suit and now you’re Don Draper. You donned a HAZMAT outfit and now you’re Walter White. You grabbed your finest shoes and applied your fancy makeup and now you’re Carrie Bradshaw. Those who opt for celebrity costumes are looking for a social, “hey I know who you are!” experience, but they’re also living out their fantasy lives. You don’t have to just choose the good characters though — the other route is where you can make fun of silly celebs. There’s an unfortunately high likelihood that someone is going to be Miley Cyrus at the party you attend and that someone is going to twerk their way through the entire party, getting a few chuckles and many more “oh you poor soul” stares.
It’s impossible not to respect the guy that builds his own costume. Whether it’s a plastic Optimus Prime or a knitted Iron Man outfit, these people put the rest of our lazy selves to shame.
The Group Costume
Even though the Saran wrap didn’t extend much past these girls’ waists, they weren’t exuding confidence — or certitude that this was a smart costume idea. Having a group is nice though because if you look ridiculous and get mocked the whole night, at least your friends will have your back.
Zombie and Other Legitimately Scary Creatures
Being a character that’s more likely to be the perpetrator rather than the victim can be quite liberating. Plus, not trying obnoxiously hard to find a costume that’ll necessarily look beautiful can be quite freeing as well. The person who dresses up as a zombie or a goblin or as Frankenstein’s monster is fun and has confidence in spades — after all, s/he uglied up instead of dressed down.