Confession time: I hate Halloween. I don’t understand why grown-ups want to play dress-up. I consider it a waste of money and time. I forgot it was even a “holiday” until the Internet reminded me this morning. I hate that we’ve let it bleed into not only adult life, but office life. Hereby, my official plea to give the holiday back to the kids who are its rightful owners, and to keep grownup zones for grownups. [Cue "sad trombone" sound.]
1. The slut trap. In recent years, “slutty” costumes have become the default costume genre for adult women. Slutty nurse! Slutty Big Bird! The only thing more cliche than the get-ups themselves is the predictable hand-wringing from the culture police. So women are caught in a bind: Go “slutty” and embrace the license the holiday gives us to get a bit wild, or be true to our feminist and/or modest core and feel like a frump. Lose-lose.
2. It’s freezing. October 31 is practically November, you guys. Halloween is consistently way colder than the slutty-costume designers plan for. Combine that with the fact that it’s impossible find a cab late at night on Halloween, and you have a night of teeth-chattering misery as you clomp from party to party in towering heels in 35-degree weather.
3. The office is a minefield. Fine, you’re happy to be an ice-cold slut at evening parties. But if you’re office encourages dressing up, you have to come up with a whole different costume, and the decision is a minefield: You can’t be sexy or creepy, but you still have to be clever. I’m not gonna look it up, but I bet it’s probably a major productivity drain. My own favorite costumes generally allow me to wear a normal work outfit anyway, no wig or fishnets required. My top costume ever was back in 2006, when I dressed up as former New York Times journalist Judith Miller, then in the news for her refusal to turn over details of her reporting on exposed CIA agent Valerie Plame. The costume’s details were a treat for news nerds only — I carried a notebook with the words “Valerie Flame” written in large print — but at least I was comfortable. Anyway, can’t offices just ditch the costume pressure and leave the “fun” for the evening?
4. Halloween is for kids. By grabbing it for themselves, adults have sullied and sexified something that’s meant be childlike. I don’t want to call it an innocent holiday, exactly, since Halloween has always carried a frisson of real danger and scariness. But grownups shouldn’t add to the horror by insisting on dressing up as Sexy Demi Lovato, or whatever.
5. I can buy my own candy. Seriously, the big reward here is candy? Guess what, you can buy and eat candy any time you want because you’re a grownup.
In conclusion, bah humbug.