Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dracula, May I Introduce You To Elvira?

In case you weren’t checking your calendar lately, Halloween is next Saturday.[1] This statement may elicit a large grin from my readers who relish the opportunity to dress up in their most outlandish costumes and get their sugar fix for the year. Others may react with a shake of the head and a sigh, thinking “great, another Amateur Night just like New Year’s Eve” (not, of course, if you are making it to my Halloween Bash as anyone who knows me knows I take pride in throwing upscale and fun parties).

Oh, that’s right, and if you’re a male reader, you may also be thinking “are you kidding, I can’t wait to see all the cute girls running around in their skimpy hot nurse costumes.” For the men, on this night, less is definitely more. I started my Halloween costume shopping the other day at one of the huge Halloween supershops and stood in amazement at the bags and bags of skimpy costumes that would make any hot blooded male grin. Super-sexy French maid, sexy policewoman, sexy ladybug, sexy popsicle
[2] … I would love for someone to ask a woman what her costume is and have her respond matter of factly: “I’m just going as plain hot.”

And I had to laugh the other day when one of my friends (who is in her late 30s and in killer shape) recounted her recent Halloween costume shopping experience with her mother and her aunt. The screening process consisted of mom and auntie tossing back the ones with too much material and pulling out the tiniest of costumes for her to adorn. Her mother, who used to implore her to cover up, has adopted a philosophy that is in essence: you’re in the market for a husband, after all, and this is the one day you can get away with flaunting what you got.

In my view, the interesting thing about Halloween from a single person’s perspective is that you meet people stripped of their day to day attire and, therefore, the normal assessments typically at play are missing (e.g. observing whether someone is a conservative dresser, prepster, fashionista, etc. and making the corresponding judgments we all tend to make). For one night, everyone is on an equal playing field so to speak. So, the guy wearing the very masculine construction worker costume might be completely different in real life, but for tonight the ladies are lining up to check out his hardware (note to men – dressing up as a woman could be the least sexiest costume out there. Have fun borrowing your sister’s dress but don’t expect your purse to be overflowing with numbers). And of course, if someone is wearing a mask for the entire night then he or she might give you a real spook when you meet for your mocha latte.

Moreover, let’s not overlook the fact that Halloween can be a Freudian wonderland where concepts and images that would typically only play out in dreams or the subconscious are brought to life on the streets of Manhattan. Whether he recognizes it or not, the straight-laced lawyer who dresses up as Ozzy Osbourne probably chose a costume that speaks to his inner fun side as much as to his appreciation of the music. But let’s not overdo it – sometimes a pitchfork is just a pitchfork.

If your forte is your creativity, of course, this is your moment to shine. As we all know, a costume that makes everyone think “now, why, didn’t I come up with that!” gets a lot of attention (in the right way). And of course, it provides an incredibly easy opener for someone to strike up a conversation. Something to think about as you get your creative juices going.

Of course, getting into the character is also half the fun and can be very strategic. If you’re Scarlet O’Hara you can seduce with your sexiest Southern belle accent. If you’re going as Michael Jackson and you can actually do the Moonwalk, kudos to you. Just be careful not to overdo it. I remember a few years ago, I met one guy at a Halloween party who was dressed as Billy Idol. Until I realized that his giving me the finger was part of his “costume,” I was not a fan.

So, instead of waiting until the last minute to throw your costume together, why not take a moment to put some real thought into it? Who knows – it may significantly help you increase your chances of winning over that sexy vixen in the Superwoman costume or that bad boy Gangster by the bar. And maybe next year you’ll be going as Bonnie and Clyde, Hans Solo and Princess Leia, Adam and Eve, or even Plug and Socket (yes, listed as one of the most popular for 2009) … ok, you get the picture.

Happy trick or treating!

[1] I am pretty confident that my erudite readers are aware that Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, but if you were curious to read about how this ghoulish day was celebrated before the advent of candy corn and shaving cream, the History Channel’s website provides an interesting (and short) account. See

[2] This is really not a stretch. I actually saw a costume for a Sugar Baby that consisted of a teeny-weeny skin tight dress with just a picture of a Sugar Baby on it. Really?

[3] And she’s right on some level – Mother Superior may be a comfortable outfit but it’s not necessarily going to be a guy magnet.

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