What NOT to wear…the Halloween edition
When looking to get the most enjoyment out of Halloween, nothing can compare to the camaraderie and good cheer of a costume party. A masquerade can provide the perfect ice breaker and allow friends and family to cut loose in the spirit of the season, once you’ve managed to wrap your head around how to conceive and create the perfect party presentation. Around this time of year there are any number of over-the-counter options available through a variety of outlets , from your local department store to specialty costume shops to that 24/7/365 magic mall known as the World Wide Web. From the silly to the spectacular, it’s never been easier to find a suitable suit of scary for that special spooky celebration, and whether you prefer straight-from-the-package or strictly custom, the possibilities are endless.
There is no shortage of places to snag simple suggestions for inventive and fun Halloween costumes. A quick web search and you have a virtual catalog of suggestions, from the basic bed sheet-turned-ghost to some of the most elaborate costumes imaginable. You’ll find prop companies, craft suggestions, templates, patterns and images galore. In the year 2012, if you hear someone say, “I just can’t come up with a good costume idea”, they are likely living in a cave or looking for a reasonably believable excuse to skip your party altogether (sorry, it happens). But what may be of even more valuable use is a resource for what constitutes a wrong turn in the bewitching wardrobe arena.
That’s where we come in.
There are a great many factors to consider when assembling that perfect Halloween ensemble, from basic common safety sense to the physics of mobility. What may initially seem ingenious can easily detour into disaster without the proper calculation on the front end. For instance, that mummy idea where you wrap yourself completely in bandages from head to toe, leaving openings only for eyes, nostrils and mouth, would make for a wicked get-up. Until you’re just finished your fourth drink and realize you’ve wrapped yourself completely in bandages from head to toe, with openings only for eyes, nostrils and mouth…
Starting to get the idea?
So, what are the primary pratfalls to avoid? Obviously, the first consideration is safety. No one wants your Halloween holiday to become an annual reminder of an evening that ended badly due to poor planning. For your sake – and the sake of others in your proximity – choose carefully so as to not endanger anyone or anything:
Always place automobile safety at the forefront of your Halloween planning. If you have to drive your five-speed forty-nine blocks to your company masquerade party, that mermaid costume is going to prove problematic at best, and deadly at worst. If you’re determined to make the most of your custom human-snow-cone design, stash it in the trunk and change at the event, or better yet, catch a taxi or a ride with friends. No party is any fun if you never make it there to begin with.
The same is true if you don’t make it home. Use caution and good common sense. If you intend to be the life of the party, leave your keys with the host and have a safe ride home lined up in advance. If your preference is to celebrate at a local club or public event, do a bit of research before finalizing plans. Many places offer complimentary cab service – don’t be afraid to take advantage. The scares you experience during your Halloween season should be the fun and harmless sort, not the harmful type.
Also be aware that pedestrian presence is going to be considerably higher, with trick-or-treaters scurrying about from door to door looking for goodies. A mask or costume which impedes your vision and reaction time is now even more of a potential problem, putting others at risk.
Avoid sharp or pointed items or aspects that could prove harmful. If you decide to attend the neighborhood costume party, nobody expects your barbarian outfit to contain actual swords, knives or axes. Your design credibility and reputation do not garner any more respect by carrying a real working spear. It is, after all, a party. That should equate to FUN, not looming danger of impalement.
Again, never inhibit your peripheral vision. While it may make for an amusing YouTube moment, careening back and forth between walls and cabinetry is not the desired effect of that cardboard box robot suit you spray-painted silver after cutting out two quarter-sized eye holes and a slot mouth. No host, regardless of how gracious, wishes to see their lamps and vases shattered as you knock them to the floor stumbling about like a monstrous machine toddler. If for no other reason, you want to be able to see that wayward spearhead coming your way from the guy who didn’t read the previous suggestion.
Try not to bind yourself in a way that makes mobility difficult. We can all agree that the Morticia dress is sexy and iconic, but keep in mind that she was on a professional soundstage, surrounded by a crew who could catch her if she lost balance, and help her in and out of chairs and up and down steps while she walked along in two-inch strides. The best you can hope for is not making enemies of the people in your fall radius who get knocked down like ten-pins when you stumble over the family pet. Injuring yourself or another in order to look fabulous is not commonly considered proper party etiquette. Smart is still sexy, in any scenario.
Stay away from the need to power anything attached to your body. This one should need no real elaboration. Suffice to say, electricity and punch bowls do not mix.
Try not to keep ropes or chains or vines or any other loose-hanging objects waving too freely in your wake. Getting hung up in the refrigerator door or hooking onto someone else’s costume or being jerked over onto your back when someone steps on one is a prescription for disaster. Consider your poor taxi driver, who ends his shift to find you still clinging to his car because your six-foot long tail was accidentally closed in the door when he dropped you off four miles back. The horror.
After ensuring your choice is danger-free, take a few steps to make sure it is socially comfortable. I don’t know about you, but I never, in any situation, want to be remembered as THAT GUY, the one who not only killed the party, but dragged its lifeless corpse out to the back yard and buried it. Although you may end up as the center of attention, try to bear in mind that the party is for everyone to enjoy and everyone should be able to enjoy the party:
Know your surroundings. If the party host is well-known around your circle of friends for their extensive vintage ceiling fan collection, the three-foot high Bride of Frankenstein wig may become an issue. The elaborate hand-blown glass swan collection your neighbor cherishes might prompt you to 86 those outstretched dragon wings you were thinking of donning for the evening.
Respect the spirit of the invitation. It sounds easy and inexpensive to simply throw on a ski mask and say you’re dressed as a robber, but someone opened their home and paid for all the food, drink and decorations at this shindig – surely you can put a bit more effort into decking yourself out for the event. Wearing your clothes backward, or pulling your old crutches out of the closet and throwing on a wool sweater to call yourself a ski instructor will likely not win you the Most Original Costume prize and kind of says “Since I HAD to come here I put no real energy into putting together a costume worthy of your hospitality”. Think back to the guy who wore the tuxedo-printed t-shirt to junior prom…see him invited to many of the parties you attend lately?
Consider your crowd – if you’re Halloweening with a sensitive soul, try not to adorn yourself in anything offensive. While controversial costumes can be timely and humorous to many, be aware that not everyone sees the humor in certain topics. Ideally, we want everyone to wake up on November 1st with fond, festive memories of the previous night’s celebration, not anger and resentment. Save the mean-spirited stuff for the upcoming in-laws’ Thanksgiving dinner.
If leaning toward a ‘pun’ or ‘mash up’ costume, remember one very important guideline: a successful Halloween outfit, much like a good joke, should require no explanation. Granted, the first time that you have to say “No, see, I’m Darth Raider of the Lost Ark” may produce some genuine chuckles, around the thirty-fifth time you have to spell it out you’ll seriously wish you’d stuck with that mummy idea you were kicking around.
I think you’re starting to get the general idea. Essentially, Halloween is the one day of the year that you can be whatever, whoever you wish, with no limits. You have the opportunity to howl at the moon as a rampaging werewolf, slink about as a comic book femme fatale, sail the seven seas as a pirate or even walk in the shoes of your favorite celebrity or historical figure for a bit. With a good dose of imagination, a little spare time, and some basic common sense, you can transform into absolutely anything your heart desires. But even more importantly, it is a chance to create some fantastic fun memories for both yourself and everyone you encounter. Take full advantage and make every Halloween the best one ever!
Your Friends at NETHERWORLD Haunted House www.fearworld.com