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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Licentiate Column 28/10/10

I have a problem with Hallowe'en dressing.  Actually no, I don't have a problem with the dressing up itself.  Thinking up a character is fun.  Sewing, constructing and arranging a costume is also fun.  Even just wandering into a costume shop and having a pervy window shop is fun.  Getting out into the crisp, chilly Hallowe'en night to discover that you are the only female Einstein in a horde of Playboy bunnies - that is not fun.  That I have a problem with.

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If you've seen Tina Fey-scripted comedy Mean Girls (and if you're under thirty-five and dress up every Hallowe'en than you almost definitely have) you'll feel a twang of recognition when Lindsay Lohan says, blissfully oblivious to the fact that her life would turn into some sort of eternal Ghost Train, that "Hallowe'en is the one night a year when girls can dress like total sluts and no other girls can say anything about it".

There's no point in deriding girls who want to dress up in their underwear because that's their prerogative.  It's Hallowe'en, so it's a-ok. Some sexy costumes (like 60's era Catwoman, for example) look, well, they look hot.  Very hot.  And very cool - it's near impossible to pull off hot and cool at the same time. Some women feel liberated by slipping on something alluring that they would never normally dream of wearing, even inside the bedroom.  Deliverance from the shackles of sexual oppression and added shock factor?  Why, that may just be the perfect costume, in my humble opinion.

The problem is the sheer lack of imagination that is displayed by wandering into a costume shop and buying a costume in a squeaky plastic bag.  Surely that sucks all the fun out of the one day a year where adults are fully justified in acting like children, albeit children who get to drink alcohol, stay out all night and then shriek loudly outside my apartment window on their way home (come to think of it, that's probably an accurate description of the children who haunt my neighbourhood).  Why buy a mass-produced costume when Hallowe'en is such a personal event?  You could dress like anyone in the world, alive or dead, real or imaginary.  Why waste that on being one of fifty sexy policewoman, like a page in a Where's Wally book gone dreadfully, dreadfully wrong?

The options for women who want to buy and not make costumes are thin on the ground for those who have the singular criteria of not baring their arse.  These costumes often bear the moniker 'sexy' but in truth it's not - you'll never see a sexy leprechaun in FHM or Playboy.  Polyester cut-out jumpsuits aren't really that sexy for anyone but hormonal pubescents.  Costume distributors seem to think that anything can be sexy across the spectrum from animal to vegetable - literally. 

While online I found a sexy straightjacket (sans trousers), a sexy Smurfette (with a jaunty-looking silly hat), a sexy Martini (with olives as bra cups, but of course), a sexy coral fish (ok...), sexy Ms Potato Head (slightly disturbing) and a sexy Elmo, which, if anything looked like a tiny fur jacket made from a freshly-skinned Muppet.

Maybe we're all missing the point here.  The spirit of Christmas isn't in the presents, just as the spirit of Hallowe'en isn't in the costumes.  The true essence of Hallowe'en is the food, the tremendous glops of candied popcorn, jellies, chocolate coins and hallmarks of general overindulgence - yet another good reason to forgo the sexiness and just be another version of yourself at Hallowe'en.