I’m a huge fan of dressing up in costume for any and every occasion, minus the Renaissance Festival. I have never done that, and I don’t believe my life is any bit the worse for it.
Here is a random sampling of past costumes.
So imagine my delight when Halloween eventually rolls around and I have yet another excuse to pretend to be something I’m clearly not. This year, I dressed up as a zebra and was part of a 5-woman zebra herd. Contrary to general trends in women’s Halloween costuming, I was not a sexy zebra. This is because zebras are not sexy. In fact, zebras kind of resemble donkeys and donkeys are definitely not the lookers of the animal kingdom.
Another thing that I love almost as much as dressing up in ridiculous costumes is The History Channel’s website. In fine fashion, they’ve been putting out videos and articles and photo slides and infographics galore about the tradition of Halloween, from when it supposedly started as a Celtic celebration called Samhain to its current family-friendly form.
According to THC, the custom of dressing up for Halloween could come from a few historical practices. For example, during the Samhain festival, partygoers would disguise themselves in various ways to make their true identities indistinguishable. The thought was that malevolent spirits wouldn’t know who you were if you didn’t look like yourself, and would thus be less likely to mess with you. Today, some women dress like farmer zombies in flannel and overalls to achieve the same repelling effect on men. Other girls don’t quite get the point.Another popular thought is that the costume idea stems from a practice called “guising”, where young children in the UK would get dressed up and go from door to door, accepting treats (such as food, coins, or wine [alas, it was much easier for a 9-year-old to get drunk back in the good old days]) in exchange for entertainment. When I was a senior at Olaf I went trick-or-treating with some of the international students in Northfield. One of the neighbors wouldn’t give us candy unless we sang Beautiful Savior, which is a hymn any good Ole should have memorized by heart. I didn’t know it. I would have failed at guising.
On Wednesday night I am going to be sitting on my front porch, decked out in my zebra onesie, with a jack- o’-lantern at my side and a huge bowl of candy on my lap. I’m very much hoping that I’ll see a few children running around dressed up as dinosaurs and princesses and Spider Man. A baby in a pumpkin costume would also be acceptable.None of that above paragraph was intended in any way to imply that I am a creeper.
What is your favorite Halloween guise?
[Additional photo credits: muh freendz and muh instagramz.]