Halloween 2016 is fast approaching! The holiday falling on a Monday this year is calendrically lame, but hopefully it will extend the Halloween season from Friday all the way through Monday, affording multiple chances to party as someone or something entirely different.
Before moving to Colorado and opening Sideshow, I managed Incahoots vintage clothing and costume rentals in Flagstaff for almost eight years, witnessing and learning much about conceptualizing a costume or persona and how remarkable it can feel to be fully immersed in a psychologically-satisfying costume.
Dressing up is an amazing way to safely stretch our own personalities, to literally pretend to be someone or something else for a time. Dressing up is freeing, we can be surprised by our psyches and discover new sides to ourselves. It’s fun and revealing to do a bit of acting and pretending. It is also a safe, appropriate, relevant and expected time to do so, a relief for those of us who can be a bit apprehensive of the world, and what we imagine is expected from us. I encourage you to use Halloween as a creative exercise, a license to be Not What You Usually Are, whatever that is.
From working in costume-y clothing shops, I get to witness the magic (yes, magic) that the wearer can create (and the thrill that comes with helping someone manifest that magic – yes, I said it again, stop rolling your eyes). In this week’s Style Fetish, I present a few ideas about experiencing your costume and allowing its attributes to resonate fully on Halloween and beyond.
Costumes change our minds!Scary, disturbing, funny, tough, child-like, fantastical, sexy, goofy, classy, powerful, or a combination of these? For a more interesting and challenging costume concept, wear something that feels far from your normal psychological state. Halloween is the perfect opportunity to fully embrace the experience and become a walking, dancing, partying, stumbling performance art piece of sorts.
Are you kind of wimpy? Assume a powerful, imperious, in-control persona like a Greco-Roman God or goddess, a queen or king, a pirate, vampire or other monster.
Shy? Intentionally court attention in a revealing outfit that rocks some cleavage or is form-fitting, or choose to dress as a decidedly over-confident celebrity or character like Kim, Kanye, obnoxious lounge singer Tony Clifton, Ron Burgundy or Sexy Donald Trump? (Ugh, shudder, that last suggestion was too phantasmagoric even for Halloween, sorry!)
Feeling dry and dour? Wear a funny or goofy costume like a jester or clown. Be a juicy character like Prince. Think of a “pun” costume: a friend in college was “Tangled up in Blue” (every single year!) punning the Bob Dylan song by wearing blue clothing, entangled in ball of blue yarn
Are you a sexy/slutty dresser in real life? Blow your own mind, get your hoochie friends together and be the opposite – the Golden Girls, say, in bad/ sensible ’80s outfits and gray wigs, or a big, fluffy, non-sexy animal, or go in drag as some kind of man.
Are you an open book, wearing your heart on your sleeve? Lock that down for the day to experience some mystery while costumed as a mime, a robot, Spock or another emotionless, logical alien (then use that outfit again for Snowdown: Intergalactic!). Wear a mask: it is exciting to be truly unidentifiable.
Act it out! Perform as your costume and immerse yourself in the persona. Maybe it can be used as a type of therapy. It is safe and acceptable to do so, since it’s part of your costume! Rock stars and musicians are fun to be, are always so individualistic and usually easy to identify. Also a good opportunity for a group costume (be ABBA, Van Halen, Wham!, the Ramones …) Have at least one song or verse you can bust out, maybe for free drinks!
Whatever you wear, be sure to give yourself enough time to conceptualize your outfit and to source your pieces. Start now, if you haven’t already. Ask for help and advice finding what you need in the vintage, second-hand and thrift stores in town before you go online. Look in your closet with a creative eye, maybe you have components for an outfit already.
Look to current events, films, music, nature, history, mythology, memes, puns and jokes, traditional costumes or whatever masquerade your personality yearns for.
Then have the most interesting and revealing fun pretending to be whatever look and feel your soul is leaning towards!
Heather Narwid owns and operates Sideshow, a costume-rich vintage and second-hand clothing store located in Durango at 208 County Road 250. In recent Halloweens, she has dressed up as Amy Winehouse, Cleopatra, Amelia Earhart and in drag as a Tony Clifton-esqe Smarmy Dude but if anyone remembers her costume from last year, let her know, she’s been wondering what the hell it was.