On Halloween, the weather will be cold but the costumes will be hot. The notion of cold weather will become irrelevant as a plethora of costumes spews out from students’ imaginations and into the chilly Middletown air. A parade of witches, wizards, cats, and perhaps some more nuanced and creative creatures will grace the grounds of Wesleyan. Halloween somehow manages to challenge nature’s power: many costumes seem to defy the threat of the weather by being aggressively un-cozy.
The magic of Halloween is not the haunted spells or imaginative ghost stories. Rather, it is the miracle that those clad in costumes lacking in material manage not get frostbite. But why, Wesleyanites, has Halloween become a time when we allow ourselves to undergo this kind of frozen torture? Well, perhaps it’s all in the name of fantasy.
Fiona Chu ’18 explained that for her, costumes, no matter how scant, are a means of self-expression.
“Halloween is a time of intense shit,” Chu said “There’s something about pretending you’re something else, someone else. It’s pretty liberating. People are putting fantasies into Halloween costumes. It’s almost sanctioned by society that you can recreate yourself as much as you want, and reveal as much as you want, and advertise yourself under the ruse of being in costume.”
This “ruse” quite literally masks reality. For instance, in reality, the outside temperature is often so cool that one cannot feel his or her (fuzzy costume cat) ears. However, even after the frigid rush of reality, everyone shares the common unspoken pursuit: live the fantasy. Be the fantasy.
When it comes to “Adult Halloween” (a term coined by “The League” to differentiate between between the Halloween where you dole out Snickers bars to children and the one where you vomit a combination of vodka and candy corn in the yard in front of a frat house), the objectives are different, and the stakes (frostbite, attractiveness) are as well.
Asie Makarova ’17 spent a good deal of time debating whether dressing as a pothead by wearing a flower pot on her head would be considered offensive to the marijuana-loving members of the Wesleyan community. Tom Miller ’17 seemed less worried about offending with his sexy witch costume.
Last year, one of us wanted our friend group to go as the cast of “The Princess Bride.” Sadie thought this was a great idea: funny, functional, and comfortable, with very few exposed body parts. Instead, they went as “slutty magicians.” That was in keeping with the theme of appropriating children’s imagery and making it a little bit smutty, but we’re not sure that’s the most creative way to get raunchy on All Hallows’ Eve.
This year, Sadie plans to go as one of the least attractive folk singers of the 1970s. However, she wants to go as a very sexy version of the crooner. She thinks this is a hilarious subversion of our need to make everything somehow sexual. Surely sexualizing a turtleneck and mustache will make a thoughtful point about society’s pornographic obsession. But she might be wrong. When she told her mother about her costume plans, she revealed, after a bemused silence, that she thinks the irony will be lost somewhere between her corduroy booty shorts and cropped turtleneck.
Whether you dress to fight the bitter cold, to make a statement about the corruption of American innocence, or just to get laid, have a happy Halloween!