If you’re like me, then your trick-or-treating days are probably well behind you. As ridiculous as it is, people can get pretty mean-spirited if you show up at their door for candy and you look anything over 12. But the urge to don a costume can last many years beyond this (somewhat forced) graduation from the activity.
Some take on the role of handing out candy to trick-or-treaters and dress up for that. Others go to parties, or even just to restaurants with their costumed friends. On Halloween, no one can actually stop you from looking the part if you really want to, no matter how old you are. So if that’s for you, don’t let anyone hold you back.
Can you imagine a world in which society didn’t dictate what is acceptable in fashion? What if the rules didn’t exist, and you could wear whatever you liked without feeling judged? If that were the case, I think we would see more people like Zach Pinsent (above), a young man from Britain who dresses exclusively as a Regency gentleman. Think of what we could see if people didn’t limit themselves. Elves and wizards and Vikings, people in extravagant robes and gowns, people with painted faces and masks, or dressed head to toe in leather and lace.
People already do this. We know the desire is there. That’s why things like LARPing and ComiCon exist. But on Halloween, you can walk around like it’s a normal day wearing these things. Nothing is considered too bold or too weird.
My point is, you can embolden a normal fall outfit as much as you please, and it can still be “casual” on Halloween. So rather than buying some overly plastic costume, think instead of how you’d actually like to express yourself. The real you. On this one day of the year, you are completely free to do so.
Maybe you’re like me and you’re a little more goth on the inside than you typically portray. Maybe you’ve been feeling shy about wearing a dark lipstick or a particularly showy eyeshadow. Try these things out on Halloween, when anything is allowed. You’ll feel less self-conscious if the people around you are focused on expressing their own versions of the Halloween spirit.
I love skulls as a fashion element, and they are my biggest recommendation for Halloween casual. That, and the color black. Nothing could be more classic.
If your other ideas aren’t working out, or if you just have simpler tastes, consider this as a failsafe. You literally cannot get it wrong. Nothing says Halloween like the grinning face of mortality.
My desire to celebrate Halloween is, if anything, stronger than it’s ever been, but my desire to dress in actual costume has significantly faded as I’ve gotten older (though I applaud everyone out there who’s still going for it). Halloween casual has been my saving grace, bringing out my creativity entirely on my own terms.
You can still go as big or as small as you like, but without the bother of buying an actual costume. It’s entirely DIY, and it can be as simple as a scarf with skulls and roses on it, like the above photo, or as intense as looking like you were just murdered.
I did this with nothing but the lipstick and eyeshadow that I already owned. And then I just went to my sister’s house and ate brownies. That’s the beauty of Halloween. You don’t need a fancy excuse to do something like this. It’s equally appropriate, whether you’re going to a party or staying in for a scary movie night.
This was my look for Halloween last year. When people asked, I said I was a forest nymph, but the truth is, I was simply embracing a style that I would wear all the time if I could. That headpiece, for example; it’s not costume jewelry, but I always felt like it was too much for everyday fashion. On Halloween, however, nothing is too much. It was the same with the decorative makeup, the unusual braids, the hair jewelry… The elements of this ensemble came together in a way that was much closer to how I truly see myself.
If you’ve been with me from the beginning of this blog, you know very well what I see when I look in the mirror. And you know it is my belief that every woman is a queen.
The queen of her own life.
I don’t know what I’m going to look like for Halloween this year. Nowadays, I just follow my whims and go with whatever I’m feeling that day. The bottom line is that no matter what I’m feeling, I’ll be able to express it as authentically as I want. So whether I don a crown, or end up looking like a shade from the netherworld, I’ll be me–and nobody will get to judge.
Halloween is, I think, a very important and underrated holiday. For one day out of the year, we embrace and even celebrate the macabre. We watch creepy movies and eat tons of sweets. We make ourselves look extra funny or sexy or weird on purpose. We decorate our houses with bats and cobwebs. We look at our own darkness, and we look at death, and not with fear and disgust–for a change.
In a manner of speaking, we look at our lives a little more as they really are. In real life, there is strangeness and violence and sex. People go mad. People die. For all the rest of the year, we seem to try our best to look away, to pretend that those things aren’t real. And in doing so, we suppress a part of ourselves.
The truth is, these things are as much a part of life as joy and sunshine, and life would not go on without them. If we can’t bear to look, we’re not being honest with ourselves. On Halloween, we see the darkness, but we don’t despair, do we? It’s a holiday meant for fun, and I know it to be a very happy time of year.
Get into the spirit this season. You don’t have to be a little kid, and you don’t have to buy a costume to enjoy Halloween. Take the opportunity, nurture your creativity, and have yourself a good time. Why shouldn’t you, while you’re still alive?
Have a beautiful week.