Has anyone else wondered what has happened to Halloween over the years?
While scrolling through a social network feed recently, I was ran into a lot of hostile articles, and op-ed pieces discussing all of the offensive Halloween costumes that are available this year, and that people are considering. Articles like this from the Huffington Post, or this from Coed.com, have been popping up everywhere, and the outrage is both justified and unwarranted. Justified on one hand because of the obvious derogatory nature of costumes like those that make light of social injustices, or obvious inequality within our society. Yet, entirely unwarranted because how seriously could anyone really be taking Halloween?
Apparently, seriously enough to spark some genuine unrest over an Ebola costume, or costumes that, for example, annoyingly are nothing more than a body part on the female, or male, body. I know, right now, it’s trendy to talk about how disrespectful, and socially unjust costumes depicting female reproductive parts are, but their male counterparts are just as mindless and pathetic – for my own money.
That said, a lot of people turn a blind eye when it comes to Halloween costumes, and understandably so. It’s Halloween, and really, for those beyond the age of “trick or treating,” it’s nothing more than an excuse to crawl to a bar, or house party, in a “barely there” costume, and drink in excess.
But, do we even need a holiday to do this? Maybe, the dress up part – though at college campuses across the country – themed parties are commonplace. And the drinking portion, well, it’s safe to say no one living a traditionally liberal lifestyle of 2014 is suffering from a boring lifestyle. That does point to the dramatic change that has happened over the years when it comes to Halloween. There was a time when the holiday was predominantly for young people, and those who were older teens, or adults – simply didn’t participate in the commercialized way people participate today.
Sure, parties may have happened – but the focus wasn’t what it is today. The focus was going door to door, collecting candy from every house on the street, and not skipping that house over there, because the guy who lives there is “weird.”
Now, we have this split between appropriate, and inappropriate. Time changes everything, obviously, but it’s also changed what people consider to be appropriate. For example, a skimpy, or “slutty” costume, no matter how forced it may feel – is widely accepted. Walk into any costume store, and count the number of women’s costumes that are simply “Hot ______.” If you’re curious, just walk through one aisle, and count the number of costumes that just are basic, plain, and even boring costumes – with the words hot, slutty, or dirty slapped in front.
And they all probably cost north of $50, too. If you’re not offended by what you’re spending on a costume that comes with less thread than a ball of yarn, then you might be getting offended by the wrong thing. That said, I’ve never been one to get offended by a costume, or criticize what others wear. If you want to be a “slutty nurse,” then I guess, if that’s your thing – have at it. If you want to parade around in a Hazmat Suit, inspired by the Ebola outbreak – then have fun. If you ask me, there isn’t much difference between a costume labeled slutty, to that of one that is labeled something derogatory or inappropriate – like “Ebola Treatment Doctor,” or “Native American.”
Then again, that’s coming from a 24-year-old who has retired from wearing Halloween costumes entirely, and refuses to judge people’s moral character or stances on social issues by the wardrobe they choose on October 31st. In my mind, it’s a free pass, because honestly, what other purpose does the holiday serve – aside from creating a million dollar industry for those who charge hundreds for fancy and over-the-top costumes that are really just inappropriate.
If though, I did decide to participate this Halloween – I know exactly what I would be – inspired by the recent events of this calendar year. You could call it, “Quarantined by Ebola,” and it means I will be spending Halloween working, in my office, like I do every other night – in isolation – because Halloween isn’t a holiday – like Thanksgiving, Easter, or Christmas – and it will give me the unique ability to both celebrate the holiday, while not celebrating the holiday.
It will really be quite wonderful.