Last weekend I experienced my first American Halloween, and I have to say, I am a huge fan. My previous Halloween experiences involved trick-or-treating around the streets near my house and then (in elementary school) going to the Halloween school dance where boys would try to toilet paper the gym and the girls would talk about how stupid the boys are.
So, being exposed to Halloween parties (and costumes!) was an eye-opener. Apparently college students, 18-24 year olds, are the biggest spenders for Halloween, and spent on average over $80 in 2007 and 2008. So I felt that an American college was the right place to experience my first American Halloween as, according to the National Retail Federation, college students really commit to this holiday. What I discovered is that Halloween parties are hilarious and costumes are a great conversation starter. Plus alcohol and dressing up is always a fun combination – though potentially hazardous for those of us wearing less clothing than others.
Another important element of Halloween is dressing up. The variety of costumes that I was exposed to was astounding. The pieces of material that people passed off as costumes were not the costumes that I was used to. Girls wearing the equivalent of a bathing suit and labelling it as a "costume" were everywhere. I’m pretty sure that even the "Girls Next Door" had less bunny suits in their entire first season than I saw on Halloween. While I’m sure guys are perfectly content with the "liberal clothing rule" that relates to women on Halloween, I have to admit that I felt slightly violated just by looking at some girls on Halloween. When I went costume shopping before Halloween all I could find were $60 polyester costumes that looked like you’d be rubbing herpes all over your body just by trying it on. But in deference to the "liberal clothing rule," which dictates that no other girl may judge another, I’ll just have to say that Halloween is a great opportunity for those who ever wanted to know what it feels like to wear a corset and fishnets, without anything else.
Trick-or-treating in Australia is rare. My neighbourhood did trick o’ treating, but most suburbs didn’t bother celebrating Halloween, that never made sense to me. There is absolutely nothing wrong with free candy. If there’s a holiday where you can dress up in a silly costume and you get free candy, then what’s not to like? There are the occasional foolish people who hand out fruit or nuts but the true spirit of Halloween is children being allowed to demand candy from strangers.
Halloween was a new experience and even though I was shocked by a lot, I definitely enjoyed this ghoulish celebration.