Posted November 7, 2014 by Cooper Point Journal in Fashion

Halloween Fashion

By Sara Fabian

Dressing up on Halloween is one of the most unique experiences compared to the other “Americanized” holidays. All year, people contemplate a costume that will be the envy of all the trick-or-treaters or win the costume contest at the Halloween party. Do we make our own costumes or buy them off the rack, like power suits? How much skin, blood, and makeup do we cake on? Either way, the practice of dressing up in costume is a performance; no matter how creative or simple. It is a night where we come out to play, and our costume reveals, unleashes, and toys with a desire to be someone or something different.

Halloween is built on contradiction: We put on disguises to reveal an inner truth about ourselves. Maybe it’s our seductive side. We can emerge as a superhero, ghoul, cowboy, or James Dean. This includes our personality as well. In exchange for our costumed confession, neighbors, friends, bartenders and house parties lard us with outrageously unhealthy candy and treats. We, in turn, revel in our night of escape, drink copiously, and indulge in various activities. Then we dance “The Monster Mash” and the next morning, our ordinary routine starts once again.

Halloween is a way to summon the fears and fantasies of any given moment: we become enamored with the mermaid, the puns, the bewitching, and frightened by the zombies, monsters, and vampires. Halloween is the one day you can show that side and don’t have to feel bad about it.

The transition from trick-and-treating as child and pre-teen to being adult on Halloween has a major costume shift. During our childhood, we must put more emphasis on mystical power of Halloween. You truly believe you are a Disney princess, clown, or Zorro. As we get older and start to watch horror films, a darker side comes to surface. Halloween has become more edgy and much more beguiling. Sometimes it is not as much about scaring people it is about impressing people. I believe we love Halloween because it is the one night we all can become someone else.

As we age, we like to celebrate Halloween as one big festive party. We are fully aware that we can’t actually be a witch or firefighter, but we also know that for a night, we can depart from our sweats and day job attire, and enjoy the night of escape to its fullest. We can use this night to transform ourselves, both literally and figuratively. Why do we enjoy dressing up so much? The pleasure is all in playacting. Both kids and adults look forward to Halloween because they get to inhabit a character, whether it be a frightening figure or a superhero. If we transform into a cat, with painted whiskers and kitty ears, we can skirt around a party, purr and meow at the world.

Putting on a mask lets people step outside of themselves for an evening. People in costumes often say and do things they often would not in everyday life. It’s very satisfying to step into another character for a while especially for a grown-ups. Halloween seems to serve fiction beliefs for children and adults. It continues to be so popular because it fills our basic need to address, play and literally become the mysteries that frighten us, the fantasies that entertain us, and celebrate them with others.