The presence of copious Jack-O’-Lanterns littering porches and doorways, mixed with the ever present rise of candy sales, is a clear indicator that it’s around that time of year. Halloween has just passed. As a child I always looked forward to Halloween. Getting the chance to dress up as whatever superhero was popular at the time and getting to eat as much candy as I could handle? What wasn’t to like about Halloween? It was the best holiday for kids with a sweet tooth, which is every kid, and it was the indicator that Christmas was one step closer, after we got to gorge ourselves on turkey during Thanksgiving dinner of course.
As I made my way through Junior High and High School I began to notice a pattern regarding the women around me: Rather than dressing as ghosts or goblins, or even sparkly “vampires,” the most common female costumes were becoming much more…risqué. As a hormone filled teenager, it didn’t bother me in the slightest; obviously, I just sat back and enjoyed the show like every other red blooded adolescent male.
Upon reaching college I began to look into the history of Halloween, which is often referred to as “All Hallows’ Eve.” In laymen’s terms Halloween is a day for the remembering of the dead.
Many scholars credit Halloween’s Pagan roots with the Gaelic holiday of Samhain. The Pagan holiday of Samhain marked the ending of the fall and the beginning of winter. The ancient Celts who participated in Samhain through Ireland,Scotland and Britain would wear costumes and go door to door, often reciting various rhymes and riddles, in exchange for food. The costumes were thought to be worn in order to intimidate, or disguise, the Celts from spirits who would visit the mortal world during the passing of fall into winter.
So Halloween, for all intents and purposes, was (and still is) a spiritual and deeply religious event for individuals throughout history. Nothing about Halloween/All Hallows’ Eve/Samhain makes me think of women dressed up as scantily clad pirates or cheerleaders being chased around by men who still think it’s a good idea to dress up like Pauly D from the Jersey Shore.
Rather than shopping at Hot Topic or Spencer’s for next year’s most revealing “costume,” how about we think outside the box for a change? Stop using Halloween as an excuse to dress like you’re some tawdry exotic dancer. If you want to dress like that, do it all year round. Don’t make a day that actually MEANS something to people synonymous with your inner “bad girl” or “bad boy.”