What happened to scary costumes?

Have you ever sat back as October sped by and asked yourself, “What happened to scary costumes?”

Perhaps it’s a sign of the passing times, marking those over the age of 20 like a scarlet letter, when Halloween rolls around and we start looking for costumes. The choices these days are rather limited. It seems as if the aim for All Hallows’ Eve has shifted from what it once was. While in the past the goal was always to be the scariest, or come up with the most inventive and elaborate costume, these days it’s become a bit more risque in it’s delivery. Gone are the ghouls and goblins, replaced with scantily clad nurses and pirates. We went from trying to scare one another with our guises to stimulating our collective libidos. Quite a shift, especially when you look at what Halloween is from a historical point of view.

The final days of October held a specific significance to the ancient Celtic civilizations of Ireland and Scotland. As October ended and November began it marked the ending of the harvest, a shift from Fall into Winter. The Celts believed that, on this day, the boundaries between this world and the spirit world were at their thinnest, and they took certain precautions to protect themselves from wandering spirits. Bonfires, which have been replaced with Jack-o-lanterns, were used to protect homes from possible haunting, while costumes were worn to conceal the humanity of those walking around during the final night of the fall season. Oct. 31 was not Halloween to these men and women. It was Samhain, and it was not an invitation to dress scantily and hope for some attention from the opposite sex. It was a deeply significant cultural event, and it was treated with the utmost respect and care.

Now fast forward a few centuries and we have men and women dressing as hippies and provocative cheerleaders. A rather large fall from grace when compared to how things used to be. Granted, men still have the option of dressing as something wholly terrifying, but for women the options seem to be more and more limited with the passing of each year. From sexy she-devils to alluring zombies, the common denominator seems to be one of a more lusty nature than one of terror. The saddest part is that this is normal to the most current generations. We see little girls now dressing in revealing genie costumes, circa “I dream of Jeannie” not “Aladdin,” and this is being accepted as a common practice. Rather than treating Halloween as an excuse to dress in the least amount of clothing possible, it would be better to return to what the holiday actually stands for. More zombies and demons, and less wannabe porn stars. In all honesty, we’ve come to expect the latter, so a return to the former would certainly surprise the majority of men and women that go out on Halloween. Might gain you some respect to go along with the admiration your scary costume will get you.