Halloween: surely the one time of year you DON’T want to look ‘nice’

With Halloween fast approaching, DbyDC has been dusting off the black velvet waistcoat, polishing the rosary beads and rooting through my underwear drawer to find those black knee-high socks… yes friends, I am going 90s goth this weekend. Think 1996’s The Craft. But with a smart phone.

But that’s not for a party. That’s just what I’m going to wear on Saturday. You know, to go out for lunch and things. Maybe to the Natural History Museum. No, if I was going to party it’d be a totally different story.

It will perhaps not suprise you to learn that DbyDC is fundamentally opposed to ‘sexy fancy dress’. Of course some fancy dress is sexy by nature. If the theme is 1930s jazz, then naturally some people are going to look sexy. Not me, mind. A drop waist makes me look like an art deco munchkin but that’s not the point. The point is, you should look like the thing you’re dressed as. If that happens to be a guitar or… er, a remote control (yes, this exists as a fancy dress costume) then needless to say it shouldn’t be sexy.

Or should it? Check out Jezebel.com’s piece on the most absurdly sexed up fancy dress costumes and see what you think.

Meanwhile, all this talk of Halloween reminds me of a piece I wrote many years ago for a student publication…

***

“I think I’m going to ban sexy witches this year,” my flatmate says, glancing at me over her laptop. The two of us are sitting at the kitchen table planning our Halloween party. Or rather, I am compiling a Halloween shopping list (so far consisting of vodka and red food colouring) while she browses Google for the perfect Jack-O’-Lantern image to add to our Facebook event. “You do realise that if you ban sexy witches, half our friends won’t come,” I reply.

Practicalities aside, I’m actually totally with her on this and I tell her so. Halloween has become so boring. Year after year the girls turn up in black skirts and bustiers, claiming it to be a costume. It drives me mad. Ladies, listen well: back-combed hair and an excess of black eyeliner do not a witch make. And then there are the fishnets. What is it about fishnet tights that makes them a costume party staple? Christmas theme? Dig out the fishnets. 70s night – obviously you need fishnets. Throw a toga party, I guarantee you someone will turn up in fishnets. They are ubiquitous enough at the best of times but at Halloween they seem nigh on indispensable. Now don’t get me wrong, fishnet tights can be pretty terrifying (not least on me) but they do not constitute fancy dress.

The boys are just as bad. Time was they at least needed a slick of gel and a turned up collar to be a vampire. Nowadays they just ruffle their hair and wear a jumper (bloody Twilight). But I know their game. Guys, you might think you’re too cool for fancy fress but the truth is, you’re too scared.

And it’s is a shame really because dressing up like a twat can actually be incredibly liberating. It’s also very satisfying. For me, fancy dress is about style, it’s about creating a look, it’s about coming up with something other people haven’t thought of or doing it differently. In that respect I suppose you could say that it’s no different to getting dressed for any other evening out. Except the stakes are reversed.

On Halloween the words “you look revolting” are as precious to me as the words “you look nice” would be at any other time of year. A couple of years ago I went to a party as an asylum escapee which not only meant I got to swan about in pyjamas (a hell of a lot more comfortable than fishnets, I can tell you) but it also meant a brilliant hair and makeup opportunity. People looked at my bloodshot eyes and deathly pallor with the kind of amazement I normally reserve for girls I see applying liquid eyeliner on public transport.

In the end though, fancy dress is just good old-fashioned fun and a refusal to enter into the spirit of it is just a bit miserable, frankly. It’s one night of looking silly, you’ve got the rest of the year to look cool.

“I’ll put that on the Facebook invite, shall I?” says my flatmate once I’ve finished ranting.

A few days later I find myself discussing party costumes with another friend.

“I’m thinking of painting myself green,” he tells me, nochalantly, taking a sip of lager.

“Brilliant,” I say. “Anything that involves being an entirely different colour sounds promising to me.”

“Well I haven’t decided yet,” he says, “but I thought that if I painted myself green, whacked on some fishnet tights and a load of black eyeliner, I could come as a sexy witch.”

Now that’s the kind of creative thinking I can get on board with…

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One Response to “Halloween: surely the one time of year you DON’T want to look ‘nice’”

  1. […] Death by Dress Code « Halloween: surely the one time of year you DON’T want to look ‘nice’ […]

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