Saturday, October 01, 2005
Halloween is Scary

I found some ads for Halloween costumes yesterday and I was frightened by them. Of course I do not find them frightening as much as eeriey and disturbing. I am unsettled by the costumes as much as their incongruous collage in the Sunday paper insert. Halloween is scary, here is why.


OK, here’s a lovely cast of characters. Starting from the top right, we have a set of three desired occupations for agressive young boys: a policeman in riot gear, a soldier in camoflage but belonging to no particular country, and a fireman. Next to this trio is pasted a sexy devil girl. On the second row we have a grim reaper with exposed breast. He wears his exposed bones like a supermans emblem, declaring to all his colors or lack thereof. Next to death is a sexy witch in high pumps and very perky boobs. Next to her is pasted a young boy in a dinosaur costume, and next to him is one of the most traditional sexy female costumes, the French maid. Lastly a toddler in a frog costume. Notice there are only women and children in this grouping. All the women’s costumes are sexy and the children’s outfits are either martial or some sort of creature. What is the significance of this arrangement? Is the viewer only supposed to see an individual costume that they want and ignore the rest? Or is there a larger message here?


At least there are a couple male costumes in this ad. But mostly female costumes. From the top left we have a doctor next to a more covered she devil who is next to a Peter Pan character. I believe it is Peter Pan as the model appears to be female. I think it’s like a Sandy Duncan sort of affair. Peter is almost always played by a female on the stage. On the lower left there appears to be two types of witches, a pirate lass, and another French Maid costume, this one being off the shoulder with little white gloves. next is a lady with a pumpkin dress complete with a stem barret. To her right is a female doctor. I guess cave woman and cave man. Above them is a fairy with a halo and a priest and a nun. Are all the costumes for the females supposed to be sexy? Does this mean that women dressed up like young boys and nuns are sexy too?


Lots of masks. It looks like most of the costumes are for females but the masks are for men. It appears as if the masks are all of horrifying visages. The wigs are almost even between female and male. My favoritie is the Sailor Moon wig in the lower left hand. Hats are along the right hand side.


These two panels are a conglomeration almost too copius and terrifying to mention. But I love how the 11 year old is modeling the Britney Spears costume in the middle left right next to Harry Potter. At the very bottom your aspiring little girl can dress up like a cheerleader. Of course the kids costumes are tied into marketing they can relate to like Anakin Skywalker, Boba Fett, Bratz, Yu-Gi-Oh, Sponge Bob Sqaure Pants.  On the Adult side you can still be a Cheerleader, but rooting for the USA, both sexy and patriotic. Nice touch I think. You can be a soldier still but a sexy soldier showing your middriff. You can remember the King in a jailhouse rock outfit, somehow I doubt he would like to be remembered in such a way. Though I’m not sure what the gentleman third from the top on the right panel is, maybe a troubador?


The final frame I picked out wasn’t an ad for a costume as much as it was for table dressings but i really liked this vision of a (somewhat) sexy witch serving kabobs out an aluminum chafing dish. It seems like the witch is no longer the old hag who poisons us with apples and eats babies. Instead she’s more like Stevie Nicks except she can cook. No longer is the witch the outcast, the widow, the spiteful Lilith. She has been made acceptible. She is the seductress, maybe with a little too much makeup, but otherwise acceptible. In fact in this picture she might even be someone’s Mom. Halloween is scary, but only in what it reveals about us.

- written on october 28, 2002

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