Click on photos to enlarge.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Creative Halloween Costumes

The Roy Lichtenstein influenced Pop Art icon.
I guess you'd call this recycling,
though I wonder if there might
not be a "right to life" theme
lurking just beneath the surface.
Although I've written about costume design before, I don't think I've ever written about it in a Halloween context. That's a little surprising in that this peculiar art form is quintessential to Halloween. By the same token I've written about masks before, but only mentioned Halloween in passing. In discussing Halloween cos-tuming I've set a number of filters re-garding originality, creativity, and comer-cially available items which, if anything suppress creativity, making it too easy to put together a spectacular outfit. I'm thus highlighting, for the most part, really clever do-it-yourself themes, designs, and hand-icrafts. I've deliberately sought to skip various cartoon character designs and most consumer products. (What did you go to the party as? I went as a tube of Crest.) These costumes range from hor-rifying (or obscene) to strikingly beautiful to "cute" in the finest sense of the word, depending upon the age for which they were intended. I think Roy Lichtenstein would be pleased with the Pop Art Lady (above). I just hope all those Ben-Day dots will wash off.
"I went as a Mondrian."
"I like my Pollock better."
Marie Antoinette perhaps?
From a personal standpoint, ever since I grew too old for "trick-or-treat," I've not been a great fan of Halloween. Although it apparently grew out of a religious holiday, All Hallows Eve, back around 1556, there were numerous antecedents dating back to pagan rituals during the Roman Empire. In any case, any religious references to October 31st, have largely fallen by the wayside by now. The contraction, "Hal-loween" came into play about 1745 with pumpkins, pranks, jack-o-lanterns dress-ing in various macabre disguises coming during the next hundred years. Trick-or-Treat, as the name suggests, seems to be pretty much a 20th century urban re-placement (wildly embraced by the candy industry) for the traditional rural pranks. Getting the youngest of children involved, sometimes dressing them up even before they can walk. Even worse is the fad of imposing various costumes upon pets, a still more recent development. I really have nothing against imposing clever costumes upon toddlers so long as their safety is not threatened, but I absolutely draw the line at forcing dogs and cats (which by and large prefer nudity) into such ridiculous costumes for no other reason then owner vanity. That's animal cruelty. You'll find none of that among the costumes seen here.
Chicken-man. No chicken had to die to make this costume, nor
is the rider inflicting animal abuse on his handsome looking bird.
As I suggested above, good costume design involves the selection of a theme which hasn't been, as they say, "done to death." Leave the cartoon characters to those with more money than time to come up with something. No Halloween party needs twenty Batmen, a dozen Mickey Mice, or even one than one Count Draculas with their eyes on every naked neck in the crowd. Beyond that the costume should be well made (no wardrobe malfunctions), plainly obvious in conveying a theme, in reasonably good taste, and perhaps most of all, comfortable to wear for at least a period of two or three hours. It should not inhibit movement, eating, drinking or toilet activities. And though the tendency to stereotype is ever-present, no costume should degrade another's ethnicity, gender, or religion. Remember, people are much more easily offended today than a generation or two ago (no one in black-face with a hangman's noose around his neck).

The kids' costume contest. And the winner is...?
Except for the aforementioned trick-or-treat (above) most Halloween costumes, whether for children or adults, are intended for parties and the inevitable costume contests with categories such as the ugliest, funniest, most original, etc. This is one Halloween tradition I applaud, and even taken part in myself a few times. I once dressed up as Merlin the Magician. The high school at which I once taught had a Halloween costume day. One year I dressed up as a priest and went around patting kids on the head, muttering, "bless you, my child." Some of the kids were startled nearly speechless. Others cracked up in embarrassment. Costumes designed for couples (below) are among the surest winners in many such contests.

Some couples really go to a lot of trouble, although I think the
Malibu Ken and Barbie may be a rental. It's simply too good
to be homemade.
For some strange reason, pregnancy seems to be a "fun topic" for Halloween party apparel for both sexes. For pregnant women, ingenuity is at a premium as seen in the gumball machine and the beer-bellied redneck. The pregnant nun is far more popular that I would have ever imagined. But the gut-busting fetus, wins the prize, it being as funny as it is grossly horrifying. But then, for better or worse, "grossly horrifying" is much of what Halloween is about.

If your due date is around October 31st.
Of course no discourse on Halloween would be complete without taking note of the fact that every four years our presidential election day falls within a week or less of this clownish holiday. This year its as if the two dates are attempting to compete with one another for sheer media entertainment, especially on the Republican (GOP) side of he aisle. Dressing up a Hillary Clinton is simple as seen in the little darlings below. All you need is a wig (an optional mask) and a pantsuit, accompanied perhaps by an overflowing bag of newly discovered e-mails. With Trump, well, just check out the pictures at the bottom.

Some of our greatest presidents.

I have no idea what the context here might be,
 but I think we could safely say this is one of
those highly touted pictures "Hillary doesn't
want you to see."


No comments:

Post a Comment