Tonight is Halloween, and I have an issue: as of this year, I’m genuinely confused by this holiday.
While I know it’s really an American thing that we Australians have latched onto because we too would like lollies, I’ve been under the impression for my entire life that I understood what it was about.
Scary things. Ghosts, witches, zombies.
Historically, it was intended to be a night where you dressed as a monster or a ghost so you couldn’t be distinguished from any ‘undead’ released to roam the night. Obviously.
So costumes that make sense include a corpse bride:
Or a witch from Hocus Pocus.
Or a devil (kinda).
But in 2016, these costumes are the exception, not the rule. NO ONE DRESSES UP AS ANYTHING SCARY AND I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT’S HAPPENING.
At a Halloween party on Friday night, where guests were explicitly told to “dress scary – the gorier, the better”, I watched as people arrived in completely nonsensical costumes.
There were superheroes, an American Indian (oh God not this again), a Snow White, a taco, two Bananas in Pyjamas, a crocodile, a guy dressed up as a German who kept doing A NAZI SALUTE (seriously), a horse, so many cats, a pirate, and of course, a school girl.
These. Are. Not. Scary.
These. Are. Just. Costumes. You. Wanted. To. Wear.
Of course, over the weekend my Instagram feed was also full of celebrities’ costumes, as they headed to very fancy Halloween parties. And apparently the rich and famous have abandoned the ‘scary’ theme, too.
The one I found most perplexing was Kylie Jenner, who dressed as Christina Aguilera.
I just don’t… get it.
So much Christina Aguilera, so little sense.
It’s just so specific. And so random.
Even stranger was the fact Kylie Jenner wasn’t the only public figure who dressed as Christina Aguilera. So did Imogen Anthony, Kyle Sandilands’ girlfriend.
So just to clarify, two independent people thought it was a really clever idea to dress up as Christina Aguilera for Halloween – a holiday which is about dressing up as something scary.
HOW IS THIS SCARY?
Katy Perry has also received a lot of attention for her (disconcertingly realistic) Hillary Clinton costume. But again, I was left thinking, "That's nice, but what does it have to do with Halloween?"
Interestingly, when I did some research, I found the history of Halloween isn't necessarily all ghosts and monsters. According to one theory, dressing up originated from the idea of hiding your identity from the dead. So over time the philosophy has become 'the more original the better'.
Still - surely there are other occasions for people to dress up just for the sake of it. Halloween is fundamentally defined by spookiness, the supernatural, and (in the US and Europe) the beginning of winter - a time of darkness, coldness and (in the past) a great deal of human death.
Essentially, I feel like Cady from Mean Girls, turning up in a really freaky costume and wondering why everyone's dressed as mouses.
It's not that I think I have the right to tell people what to wear, it's more that I don't understand what they're wearing, or why.
Ultimately, wear whatever you like. In 2016 Halloween is first and foremost about fun. But if you're going to reject the 'scary' theme, at least try to be culturally sensitive. WE DON'T NEED ANY MORE AMERICAN INDIANS.