Sunday, October 24, 2010

dressing up for halloween

I was downtown yesterday, so I visited Dressew where you can buy everything you could possibly ever need for sewing, and also costumes. Just before Halloween, Dressew is a very busy place. The costume area is expanded, and people line up outside the door of this huge store, to take their turn looking at wigs, costumes, hats and other accessories, as well as all manor of party favours and Halloween decor.

I needed a new wig for my dead Emily Dickinson costume, and also some face paint to achieve the "dead" effect. I got my errands done in just a few minutes, but could not resist browsing the abundance of Halloween finery available. The aisles were packed with shoppers, and the mood was jubilant. Everywhere, people were trying on hats and wigs for one another, holding masks up to their faces and hooting with laughter at their amazing finds.

I was delighted by a huge rack of tails. Just tails. All kinds, your choice. I flinched at a display of open cartons, filled with severed body parts, pale and bloody, each packaged in a meat tray and shrink wrap, neatly labeled with "best before" dates. There are more clown noses, handcuffs, false eyelashes, animal ears and rubber wounds than you can shake a plastic sword at. You can buy fake tattoo sleeves, beards, mustaches, eyebrows and warts.

I walked around the display racks of complete costume packages. These are one-stop solutions for most typical disguise-seekers, easy if not original or of particularly good quality. I was dismayed to see that sexy-cute is still the predominant motif in women's costumes, and scary-gross the predominant one in men's. Just about any woman's costume you can think of is available with a very short skirt and a skimpy top: sexy pilgrim, sexy nun, sexy nurse, even "racy red riding hood," and "poca-hottie" . There are no similar skimpy male costumes to be found. C'mon, where is "macho mailman," "bare-ass batman," or "pinch my gorilla?" If the selection of costumes available for sale is any indication, men what to dress up as menacing or funny (don't get me started on the "Deluxe Fart-O-Meter" costume). Women want to dress up a sexpots.

Over the years, I have mostly made my own costumes, or at least assembled them myself from bits and pieces bought and borrowed. I can remember only one overtly sexy effort, the year I dressed as a bunny for my waitressing job. It wasn't crazy-sexy. I wore a decent pink dance leotard and white opaque tights, bunny ears and tail, and flat shoes. I was hauling trays of lasagna and spaghetti and meatballs to people's tables, after all, and it was a family restaurant.

Other years I have dressed up as a kangaroo, a clown, a nerd, Marcel Marceau, a scary phys. ed. teacher, a pirate, and a tub - that with my friends: the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker - RUB A DUB! This year I will re-use my dead Emily Dickinson outfit for The Open Mic of th' Living Dead. I think it's fun to transform myself into someone else for just a short time. I'd rather it be fun than sexy any day.

This Halloween, I hope to see imagination and a sense of fun in the costumes worn by adults dressing up. I hope I don't see too many princesses who forgot to put their pants on, and I would be tickled to encounter a cowboy in short shorts, just for a change of balance. I hope that I am not confronted by a walking Deluxe Fart-O-Meter!

question: do you dress up for Halloween?

mompoet - trick-or-treat!


mompoet's daughter said...

On Halloween at Heritage, there are more guys in bikinis/leotards and roller blades than you could imagine. The teachers always look thoroughly uncomfortable.

Pearl said...

I have for most of the last 15 years, but not last year. maybe this year. I'm thinking as going as a construction site. still working out what that would look like.