Dressing up for Hallowe’en used to be a much simpler option… old clothes, empty cartons and toilet paper rolls, mop wigs, a few craft supplies, a few accessories. These came out of the attic “tickle box” and were used for rainy day role-playing and improvs year round. There was certainly no money for buying a costume; home-made ones got passed down, and dance class or skating costumes were recycled until they were rags.
Decorating the house was not an option, even with a pumpkin, and the cost of hand-out candy came out of the weekly food budget.
Masks were not worn… they impaired your line of sight, and rubber character masks smelled awful and became slimy with sweat. Nonetheless, Hallowe’en etiquette dictated that no one should be recognized, and deliberately inaccurate guessing games at the door were a part if the fun.
Now the opportunity to play the fool, to do something outrageous, and to be truly offensive has developed in to a large commercial enterprise. But some more sensible and sensitive people are fighting back. It has gone too far.
I have seen children dressed as soldiers or crime victims with terrifyingly graphic wounds and amputations, little girls dressed up like rape victims or hookers, headless zombies, assassins, characters from horror films, and… oh yes… the witches I talked about a few days ago.
Political and social correctness have now become a Hallowe’en issue, with costumes evoking ethnic and social stereotypes especially targeted. I suppose the tramp and the crazy old lady, favourites from my childhood, would also be considered inappropriate. Students at the University of Ohio have started this controversial poster campaign.
Prince Harry is perhaps the most famous Nazi fancy dress costume-wearer in the world. In 2005, he was pictured wearing a German desert uniform and a swastika armband at a friend’s birthday party. The fancy dress theme was “colonial and native”.
These slides from The Huffington Post illustrate how tasteless, rude, and obscene adult dress up costumes can be! Not for the prudish or fastidious, but successfully shocking.
Tonight I will answer the door without a mask or costume… I am scary enough without artificial contrivance! We will welcome the high school students who combine their trick or treating with a well-advertised collection for the local food bank. The neighbourhood toddlers will arrive earliest, accompanied by their beaming parents… then the primary school kids. The lights will go off at eight-thirty, or when we run out of candy, which ever comes first. We always buy “good stuff” in the hope that some will be left over.
Trick or treat!