Monday, October 28, 2013

My personal vendetta against the pre-bought wall of Halloween costumes

I love Halloween. It's been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember. I'm not a huge fan of horror or being too scared but I love the theatricality of it all. I love the dressing up, I love carving pumpkins, I love watching Thriller every single Halloween without fail. There is one thing however about Halloween I just cannot stand for and that is buying a pre-made costume in a bag.

I took my annual trip to 'Party City' yesterday. I needed a wig last minute, and synthetic or not I didn't have the time for any other option. To be honest the quality of the one I purchased is better then I thought it would be which was a surprise but that's neither here nor there.

Back to my vendetta. When I was a child my mother made all my costumes till about grade 4 when I cried and complained about wanting a 'real costume' from the store and not something my mommy had made me. I suppose the rebellion had already hit me and I thought a store costume would be more adult or more cute, who knows how a 12 year old's mind works.  So I picked out a southern belle dress that never looked even slightly similar to the photo on the bag and was more then unflattering on my not exactly ideal frame. We bought my costumes from a party store wall the next few years. A jester, a teen witch(with a bare stomach! Yikes) and freshman year of high school a 'sexy nurse'. Every years' costume had a dilemma that came with it. The fabric was see through or snagged before even getting it on, rips and holes and just shoddy craftsmanship that we payed right through the nose for.  And to boot every year there were other girls with my same exact costume, accessorized identically like a handful of Halloween clones.

Then sophomore year of high school I discovered my love for vintage and the thrift store and I found my costume that year for only $10. An authentic 1970's flower print jumpsuit. I still have it in my costume trunk, I couldn't bare to part with it. All I bought from the party store that year was a cheap pair of plastic peace sign earrings, and I'd never been prouder of a costume. I had no wardrobe malfunctions and no costume clones- I had been converted. 

Now when I posted the photo above on my Instagram and commented slightly on my distaste for the 'wall of costumes' I lost a few followers and was reminded a few times about the fact that a lot of people don't have the money to spend on more elaborate costumes and such and all they can do is get an inexpensive costume and try to accessorize it better then others might conceive possible. But that's the thing that really gets me, because all those costumes are far too expensive for what you actually receive. 

The companies who manufacture these cheap, flimsy costumes prey on people as if they have no better option then to buy what they can offer and people should not accept that. If money is tight and you have a family with children you should not be shelling out $50 a kid on a crummy polyester suit that can't even sufficiently cover their bodies and ultimately just allows them to conform. 

Instead we should garner creativity and being thrifty and smart on Halloween. Learn to sew, or scrounge through vintage second-hand or thrift stores, go through your closets and find or create your own characters to dress up as. The costumes you remember each year are the ones off the beaten path that remind you of the imaginations of the people around you. And that's what I try to remember every Halloween, not to buy into the costume but to commit to who or what I want to be and make it the way that only I could.

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