Normally, as per the political correct gender roles, it seems that only girls continue to play dress up past Kindergarten. Sure little boys have that “stage” around 3 years old where they refuse to take off their Batman or Superman costume, but once they hit first grade that routine is over.
Yet, Halloween seems to be the exception, so much that parents are spending tons of money on costumes encouraging their children to strut though the neighborhood. It’s something that we American’s are accustomed to. We grew up doing it and we don’t think twice about it
Historically, it is claimed that Trick-or-Treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling, when poor people would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), to beg for food from the wealthy in exchange for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2). Maybe back then prayers from the poor were more effective than from the wealthy… who knows?
The point is that this modern practice of trick or treating does resemble this “souling” business, but it doesn’t seem to fit modern day ideals. In 2010, a time when you’re not supposed to talk to strangers or trust anyone you don’t know, it seems odds that kids are still going door to door.
Despite the oddities, they do it. The kids come out in droves dragging their bucket or bag around to fill it up with as much candy as they can carry, from anyone and everyone willing to contribute to their self induced sugar coma. I doubt these kids will be praying for any of the people giving those goodies, (all historic roots are left behind) instead, today we adults just get good-old satisfaction for continuing a tradition.
Doesn’t it make you feel good to spend $6 on a half-full bag of candy just to give it all away to some bratty kid who forgets to say thank you? Real feel good stuff…RIGHT?
Well when we put it like that….
I’m just kidding… kind of… (Although the lack of manners in today’s society will be in an upcoming blog called “Bring out the paddles, chivalry’s not dead yet!”)
Anyhow, all other 364 days of the year we try to teach our children to be cautious, beware of strangers. The textbook example is don’t take candy from someone you don’t know, but on Halloween, all bets are off. On Halloween, we make an exception and practice indulgence.
Indulgence, this seems to be a logical explanation for why we find it normal for children to dress up like silly characters and roam the neighborhoods collecting candy from strangers. Children indulge in make believe and fantasy when they dress up and indulge in gluttony as they tear through the bag of candy.
Lets then apply the “no rules… just indulgence” theory to adults, us 20somethings. For us, Halloween is all about partying, and specifically for women, it tends to be about the slutty costume. It’s true… The radio calls it “the one day a year where women are allowed and encouraged to be slutty.”
Now I would like to get on my high horse and say that I have NEVER partaken in these slutty festivities, that women are equal and should not have to degrade themselves by dressing a certain way, yadda, yadda, yadda. Although that is all true, if you’re my friend on facebook, and you click back through the years, I’m guilty as Halloween slutty-charged.
I recently was finishing an assignment for a magazine I freelance for and was sitting at my kitchen table typing away on my laptop when my sister and her fiancé came barreling through the front door. My sister’s fiancé had a picture in his hand.
“Check this out,” he said, while handing me the paper. It was a picture of a man in a brown costume with angel wings and a halo.
“I don’t get it…” I say staring at the sad looking angel costume. Do you want to be a chocolate fairy or something?
“No.” he laughed. “Look again, the costume is called “Holy Shit!” Pam doesn’t think I should spend the $60 on it, but don’t you think it’s hilarious?”
I couldn’t help but burst out laughing. It really was ridiculous and hilarious. Truth be told, I was relived he wasn’t trying to be some chocolate fairy from the Candy Land game.
In reflection though, it doesn’t seem fair that guys get the trick part of Halloween, the funny/joking aspect. They get the “trick” and we ladies are stuck with the “treat.” I use the term STUCK because in costume/clothing terms, this means that while the guys bask in the silliness and fun of the holiday; we concede to the “one day a year rule”.
We ladies, head down the “adult” aisle to find the most flattering, microscopic, slutter-ific costume we can get our hands on. We are the “treat” because these costumes make us the eye candy of Halloween.
As I said before, I followed suit and did my dutiful march down that aisle. My father had cringed as he looked at my newly purchased costume hanging in the cheap plastic bag. Despite his look of horror, I wore it out on Halloween anyway—hey it was “the one day a year.”
During one of my slutty years I was Little Red Riding Hood, and I distinctly remember some drunken guy who approached me, spilled some of his beer on my skirt because of his inability to stand still and while swaying, slurred, “Can I be your wolf?” So maybe, at 25 we remember the feeling of disgust as we attempt to dodge the cheesy costume pick-up lines.
Maybe by 25, we had our few years of indulging in the freedom of anything-goes-Halloween-sluttyness and we remember why it only happened once a year—because being oogled by drunks at a house party or bar isn’t really that fun anyway. Maybe we realize that we’d rather spend $60 to $100 on a nice pair of high heels rather than some microscopic costume that we will inevitably freeze our ass off in and end up in the trash anyway.
At 25, I’ll admit that my drive to fulfill the slutty Halloween duty is over. Been there, done that, don’t want to do it again. Maybe by mid twenties, we acknowledge that it’s the end of October and you can only bypass the temperature for so many years. Maybe we are just old enough to understand the fine line between classy and trashy—and we know that classy will get us much further. Maybe it’s a combination of all of these.
So, if this year you find yourself feeling like you just don’t want to participate in the annual Halloween Slutification, then don’t. If you haven’t done it yet, then for “life experience sake,” I think everyone should partake in the skank festivities once—just to see what all the hype is about. Trust me, you’ll quickly realize you’re not missing out on anything, because it really is just hype and you really will be freezing your ass off!
SHORT AND SWEET…AKA…MORAL OF THE STORY
I guess feeling this way, is an indicator that I’m getting old, but thank goodness… Nobody wants to be the old head still clinging tight to the slut card. Truth is, when you really think about it, the herd of children marching though the neighborhood dressed up in costumes is just as weird as the herd of slutty-look alikes marching through the bars… But at least the kids are leaving with candy… they definitely have the better deal.
Halloween was confusing. All my life my parents said, "Never take candy from strangers." And then they dressed me up and said, "Go beg for it." -Rita Rudner