A Halloween costume crisis
October 22, 2012 | 11:00 am
(Updated: February 25, 2013 | 12:48 pm)
I thought I’d figured it out: perfect Halloween costumes that wouldblend both sex appeal and dumb humor. My partner Luke and I had been debating my desire to wear something on the naughty side, but he frowned on each suggestion. Instead, I delegated my clever ideas to friends in need of suggestions. I found myself missing the days when Halloween was all about the trick or treat.
As a kid, I suffered from having too many options. My mother sewed my costumes herself – my Dracula outfit had adorable orange bats sewn onto the cape, and for a jailbird uniform, she made a cute hat to match the costume’s striped pattern.
As an adult, I suffer from too few options. I can no longer ask my mom to sew for me, especially the scantily clad concepts. Plus, if a person doesn’t know how to get creative on a budget, then turning to the seasonal Halloween shops gets expensive. Nothing’s fun about dropping a hundred dollars on something to wear just one night.
Halloween no longer felt much like a treat, but seemed more like a trick that was becoming way too hard to figure out. With each passing year, the pressure to come up with something clever and different is stronger. Instead of going door-to-door to get candy, it’s bars and parties in hope that others will approve.
There are some who like to dress up, but for the rest of us, it becomes a bit of a competition with others and ourselves. Adults do come up with sharp ideas, be they references to movies or current events. For a spaz like me, it’s a tall order to find the right shtick.
And Halloween can be quite “adult.” It’s often mused that it’s the one time of year when girls can get slutty and not be shamed – the same is true for gay men. Ever since I made peace with my body dysmorphia, I’ve desperately wanted to play the game, but having a partner who is a bit more on the socially conservative side put up a roadblock on my journey to Halloween Slutsville. We always knew it would clash with my own socially liberal bent that simultaneously fights and embraces objectification. The strength of our relationship often comes from our differences, but neither of us predicted that a silly holiday would stir up this much disagreement.
Understandably, Luke prefers celebrating Halloween traditionally, though not entirely without a bit of spice. Like the rest of us, he’s faced the pressure of finding a costume that balances affordability, individuality and a handsome ego boost. But the notion of showing off some skin has never been a factor for him. All the while, it was something I frantically hoped to pull off.
Luke certainly doesn’t look down on nearly naked Halloween-goers. But as a partner, he doesn’t want me to come across as some easy piece of meat. I realized that my desire to dress in less for the holiday was not so much to be sexy (although that helps), but to be bold and daring, celebrating the exposure of the human body. Yet to Luke, whether you call it an apple or an orange, he thinks people would still people see fruit as fruit.
I thought of making a sexy costume out of some of the most non-sexual of ideas: a slutty Chewbacca or a naughty garden gnome. Alas, for Luke, the silly humor was not enough to neutralize showing too much skin. It’s back to square one – and once again grown-up Halloween is a dead end of confusing choices instead of the fun it once was.