Halloween celebrates carefree spirits

Halloween is a bizarre holiday. During no other holiday do you threaten neighbors to give you food, gleefully carve faces into vegetables, or cover yourself with fake blood. But despite its weirdness, Halloween has always been my favorite time of year.

When I was a kid, it was all about the candy. My parents would dress me up (as they still do), and I’d go from door to door in the neighborhood begging for assorted goodies. But as the years passed, trick-or-treating became awkward.

Some neighbors started to get suspicious of the tall boy towering over the tiny tots, asking accusingly, “How old are you?” Puzzled by the question, I’d show them my driver’s license. Other neighbors would open the door, see me standing there in my scary mask and give me their wallets. Eventually, the cops suggested I was too old to trick-or-treat. So I had to find other things to do.

For an adult, Halloween is quite different from what it was for a kid. But despite the change, it’s still my favorite holiday. Halloween is the one day of the year we adults can let loose our inhibitions and give ourselves free reign to be as bad as we want to be. It’s a time when we can escape our everyday, humdrum identity and pretend to be something different and exciting – without any social consequences.

For instance, guys can finally do what they’ve always secretly wanted to do – dress up like a girl. A guy can put on the dress, the lipstick, the heels, and the thong and live the life of a woman for an evening. Sometimes, guys just want to feel pretty. Guys can also feel what it’s like to be harassed and looked at as an object. Of course, this is probably their devious hope – to be harassed by women amused by their new gender-bending identity – so ladies, don’t play into their clever ploys.

Women can also dress up however they’d like without incurring any social stigma. Consequently, many women dress provocatively. They have the freedom to flaunt what they’ve got, and they don’t have to worry about the chauvinistic, male-dominated society judging them. And of course, this is what brings out the guys in droves.

So girls, break out the fishnets, glitter pumps and brassieres. And guys, break out the fishnets, glitter pumps and brassieres.

Halloween is, by nature, an exhibitionistic holiday. Costumes afford anonymity, which diminishes accountability – especially when coupled with unabashed revelry. For single men, this can be to their advantage. When a girl tells you to buzz off, you can say to yourself, “It’s not me; it’s the costume.” It’s easier to crash and burn when wearing a Teletubby suit. Of course, a new identity is especially advantageous for those guys who don’t have a sparkling personality or aren’t “traditionally attractive” (i.e., ugly). They can wear an intriguing costume to mask both of these facts. To take advantage of this singular occasion, I’d suggest dressing up as something noble: a fireman, police officer, doctor, teaching assistant, etc. All of these grant you a certain mojo you might never have had before.

Plus, you’ll be able to use suave pickup lines on the ladies. For instance, if you’re a doctor: “Mind if I check your heartbeat?” or, “Care to see my tongue depressor?” or the obvious, “Want to play doctor?” Then there’s the police officer: “I find you arresting,” or, “Would you like to try on my handcuffs?” Lastly, there’s the fireman: “If you were any hotter, I’d have to hose you down.” Or the more direct, “Want to come back to the station and slide down the fire pole?” Feel free to pocket this article for easy reference.

Single guys should heed some general advice, though, about hitting on women on Halloween. First, don’t use the same line 20 other drunken guys have already used on the same costumed girl (e.g., yes, Barbie IS anatomically correct – now shove off). Second, don’t pull Pippi Longstocking’s pigtails – it just pisses her off. Third, always keep in mind, if there’s a Raggedy Ann, there’s probably a Raggedy Andy. Watch out because he’s bigger than you and he’s pissed you’re hitting on his girlfriend. Lastly, if you do happen to get lucky, be wary if the girl in question has an Adam’s apple and a five o’clock shadow.

Though Halloween might be a bit of a meat market, it’s also fun for harmless people-watching. But if you go out on Halloween, make sure you’re wearing a costume yourself – otherwise, you’re just taking up space. And if you do dress up, make sure it’s not some half-assed costume.

For example, to the women: even if you wear pajamas, put your hair up in pigtails, and draw freckles on your face, this is still not a costume. To the guys: wearing an empty 12-pack of beer on your head does not count as a costume, even if you put on a little cape and call yourself “beer man.” Nor does wearing your old sports equipment from high school count. And here are a few tips from personal experience: Don’t let your friend’s girlfriend convince you to put glitter on your face; it doesn’t scream heterosexuality. Also, stapling a kid’s costume to the front of your clothes doesn’t turn out to be as funny as you’d think. But there are great costumes out there; all it takes is a little creativity and ingenuity.

Whatever you do for Halloween, have lots of fun. If you do end up going out, drink responsibly and use the buddy system. And if you’re staying at home to pass out treats to the tiny tots, just make sure not to discriminate against the tall kid who might be in their midst.


Matthew Brophy’s column appears
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