As I glance at the dry-erase calendar on my wall, I simply can’t believe that Halloween is approaching so quickly! Disregarding the fact that the holiday is smack dab in the middle of the week and takes place during our university’s Homecoming festivities, I’m excited to start planning this year’s costume(s). I love looking back at my costumes throughout the years and the Halloweens I shared with family and friends along the way. Of course, for those of us who celebrate this ghoulish day, our costumes have likely changed a lot throughout the years. Today’s Weekend Five will explore and celebrate these changes in the name of Halloween!
The Weekend Five: The Evolution of Halloween Costumes
1. “Isn’t that precious?”
This category of costumes belongs to babies and young children, typically those young enough to have their costumes chosen for them. Whether your parents dressed you as a woodland creature or a Sesame Street character, their goal was typically to evoke the “Awww” response in all who came into contact with you. Several years later, when you turn twelve, you’ll groan in embarrassment as they show your 4-year-old Halloween pictures to guests. Ten years after that, you’ll scan one of those pictures onto Facebook and make it your default.
2. The Princesses and Superheroes Phase.
Once you’re old enough to decide what you want to be for Halloween, chances are you’ll select your favorite superhero or your favorite Disney character. In my case, I wore two different Belle costumes – one when I was five and one when I was six – because she was clearly the coolest princess and I had a knack for walking around while reading, much like our heroine. When I was eight, I attempted an original princess costume as well, pairing a purple dress with a ridiculous platinum blonde wig that I thought made me look more royal. This stage of costuming typically takes place during your elementary school years, and may become a little more complex as you get older. Still, you want to make sure your costume is representing the coolest thing out there.
3. Too Cool For a Costume.
Otherwise known as The Dark Ages, this time period typically takes place during the middle school to early high school years, in which you decide that Halloween is for babies and that dressing up is lame. This is probably a defense mechanism because you’re not-so-secretly bummed that your school doesn’t let you wear costumes, so during this time period you forgo trick-or-treating in favor of grumpily handing out candy.
4. The Inappropriate Costume.
You’re sixteen years old and invited to a high school Halloween party, so of course you can’t wear any old embarrassing thing. In fact, according to societal rules for girls, you have to wear the most revealing costume you can while still attempting to fit into a theme. What was advertised on Facebook as a “Halloween party” could really be more accurately described as a lingerie party. Meanwhile, if you’re a guy, you just have to wear a mask, an ironic T-Shirt or a random accessory, and you’re good.
5. The Twenty-Something Who Doesn’t Care About Cool.
Once you hit college, you decide that you probably don’t want to bare all on Halloween anymore. You also realize that Halloween is a weird holiday in itself, so dressing in a costume that wasn’t considered “cool” when you were a tween is completely acceptable. This is why the costumes at college Halloween parties are the most entertaining — they are funny, creative, and usually not purchased in a package at a costume store. Sometimes, these costumes are reboots of your costume from fourth grade. Other times, your costume might be the clever brainchild of your trips to thrift shops and hole-in-the-wall stores. Perhaps you decide to go all out on a costume because it allows you to decompress from the stress of classes, work and internships, but Halloween in college beats Halloween in high school any day of the week.
What was one of your favorite Halloween costumes? Did you hit any or all of these stages growing up?