Playing dress-ups

Well, it’s only taken me half the week to recover, but I’ve been hanging to post about my first Halloween. In Australia it’s a holiday that’s only observed by a handful of candy-greedy kids and uni students looking for yet another excuse to party, particularly in slutty costumes. Here in the States, though, Halloween is a big deal. More than a few people have told me it’s their favourite holiday, more precious to them even than Christmas. And now I get it. I’m sure for children it’s a magical occasion – the costumes, parties, and forcing strangers to give you treats. But for big kids it’s a night where the bars are alive with drunken monsters, historical characters and pop culture icons, all united by a camraderie that is equal parts nostalgia and the chance to pretend to be someone else. A chance to wear your Marvel-comics obsession or ironic sense of humour on your sleeve. And your back. And your head.

It’s so hard to pick a favourite costume of the night (and I’m here I mean Saturday night, though Sunday was the actual day of Halloween and the hectic parade through West Village), but I think mine was a merry band of muppets we kept bumping into as we bar crawled through the Lower East Side. There was a Swedish Chef, a chicken, Gonzo, Fozzie, Ralph, Beaker, Kermit and two yip-yip-yip-yip aliens. I’m not sure if all of them made their own costumes, but this lass dressed as Kermit made that amazing headpiece herself from fabric and a bike helmet. Well played.

Inspector Gadget was another well-executed costume that scored extra points for being one of my absolute favourite childhood cartoons. On that note, sadly I didn’t see a Danger Mouse. But I did see a number of Kenny Powers (cf newfound Eastbound & Down obsession, get on board people!)… and high-fived every one of them. “You’re fuckin out!”

There was a Ron Burgundy (Anchorman), a number of Kim Jong Ils, a very impressive Che Guevara T-shirt (the guy made himself up as Che and put a cardboard shirt around his head), and a heroin addict with a syringe dangling from his arm. He said it made saying no to beggars on the street much more entertaining. There was an awful lot of goose-pimpled female flesh on show in the inevitable slutty-(insert character here) costumes, so it was nice to see the objectification balance redressed occasionally. For example, there was a giant cock-and-balls sighted. And there was this guy (stilts and top hat sadly cropped out):

Everybody on the L train was trying so hard not to look. NB bare bottoms on the subway = not hygienic for anyone

A mini-trend was social media themed costumes. My friend went as the “sad FourSquare mayor” which is something I do not understand but proved a hit for more social-media savvy New Yorkers. At one point she had 10 people “checked in” to her and I believe it was the highlight of her night. For Twitter fans there was a great Fail Whale, and my favourite of all was an ostensibly uncostumed guy who was Mark Zuckerberg. He was even handing out business cards that said “I’m CEO, bitch”. (You have seen The Social Network by now, right?)

Then there are those costumes that are just plain cute. Like French Toast here….

I opted for warmth and an excuse to smoke by dressing as Margot Tenenbaum. Unfortunately many people didn’t get it because I struggled to maintain the requisite surly expression because I was having too much fun! I wish it could be Halloween every weekend..

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