Halloween of Yore

Halloween is upon us and there is nothing I can do about it. Typically, I do not like to dress up. In theatre, I was always backstage doing something that did not require me to dress up and act like someone I am not. I actually have a hard time suspending my own disbelief. An actor, I would not make. I have to admit that over the years, I have been more comfortable with dressing up and playing a role if I have to. However, Halloween slightly irks me and it’s not Halloween itself; it is the consumerism of Halloween.

Halloween 1985. Photo courtesy of RantingnRaven. 

Halloween 1985. Photo courtesy of RantingnRaven. 

At age 10, my best friend whose parents were financially more capable than mine made sure that she was dressed like a Queen as she went as the Queen of Clubs and I went as a cheerleader in a homemade costume because my parents didn't believe in paying money for a costume. I wore pink sweatpants with a sweat shirt and a skirt. I was embarrassed and never wanted to dress-up again.

 I didn't dress up again until I was thirteen. Ages thirteen through fifteen, I dressed up as a rocker-chick or a punk rocker.  I could wear blue jeans, boots, and a rocker t-shirt and get away with being minimalist in my costume.

Fast forwarding to my twenties, I soon realized that getting a store bought costume was the way to go. I could afford something on my limited budget and I wouldn't have to be embarrassed. Well, not so. All the costumes were sexy in some capacity—nurse, doctor, belly dancer, princess, I Dream of Jeannie, Queen—you name it, it was sexy. What if I didn't want to be sexy? Well I could wear a Moo Moo, I suppose. 

So many choices, but really I wanted to go as something that didn't have me pegged as being sexy. I could go as a witch…maybe.  I didn’t and still don’t possess the seamstress skills to make myself a costume (my grad dress can attest to that). Nor did I want to spend my grocery money to rent a costume.

I have to admit that good inexpensive costumes can be found at the many pop-up Halloween stores, but they are still designing costumes for women with a sexy edge. What distresses me most is that they also do this for little girls.  I am not a prudish person, but I want my daughter to cover up as much as she can and not grow up too fast. I do this to protect her self-esteem as much as her pride. I also don’t believe that little girls need to be objectified. 

 

~Jennifer Ward

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