Like St. Patrick’s Day and Homecoming, Halloween is a holiday with more tradition and history than most care to learn about.
We shouldn’t expect much else. Holidays of any kind are reason enough for students to imbibe, but Halloween also offers the chance to dress up in costumes or dress down to our skivvies. It’s really the only occasion we have to be someone other than our normal, dreary selves.
Considering young people have a reputation for being lazy, apathetic and disinterested in the world, we’re surprisingly resourceful when Halloween rolls around. Costumes on Richmond Row range from creative to downright jaw-dropping.
There’s the do-it-yourselfer, who can conjure something creative out of a cardboard box and a roll of cellophane. It’s nice to see students in the middle of exam season finding the energy to make something from scratch.
In fact, it’s this resourcefulness that puts even the ugliest homemade costume a measure above a store-bought costume. There’s a fine line to consider when spending money on Halloween. Getting an accessory or two is fine, but investing hundreds of dollars on an authentic Darth Vader costume is a mistake. In the student world, Halloween is naturally tied to a budget, and betraying that principle won’t win you any costume contests.
For students, Halloween’s new tradition is more about creativity. Group costumes are a great example of making something imaginative from something simple or topical. Last year’s “Stop Resisting” police were clever, timely and carried a certain taboo feeling that made the joke a little spicier. There’s also the Fallopian Tube Swimteam — a group of guys dressed in white spandex. Simple, effective, and something only students could get away with.
It’s easy to criticize the swarms of scantily-dressed girls dressed as a “sexy insert-word-here.” But while these girls get the attention and scorn, there’s plenty of girls dressed in costumes with enough fabric to no longer qualify as underwear. Last year’s Sarah Palin costumes, looking prim and proper in a power suit, were a good example.
Missing from all these ideas is something that’s actually scary. While historically the holiday was about ghouls and ghosts, we live in an age where popular culture is a part of our everyday lives. People used to dress up as witches, and now they dress up as Snooki. And while the cast of Jersey Shore is somewhat terrifying, the concept of fear being a necessary part of Halloween is about as dated as Halloween itself.
Which brings us to tradition, because all holidays — whether we acknowledge it or not — are a tradition only because the day was special for years before us. So just like a good costume, Halloween is what you make of it.
— The Gazette Editorial Board