The Celtic people believed that the veil between this world and the realm of the spirits was gossamer-thin around this time of year. Like, poke it with your finger and open a whole psycho-ethereal conduit. During Samhain, the annual harvest festival that later evolved into Halloween, Celts would carry an ember from an honorific bonfire to their own personal hearth at home, usually in a hallowed out gourd or turnip.
So, imagine you’re lugging an Iron Age jack-o-lantern back to your house, and inside this jack-o-lantern is a tiny fire, which, if extinguished, can cause some problems between you and the Celtic God of the Dead. His name is Balor, and even just reading his name gives you the impression that this guy doesn’t screw around at all. It’s not like his name is Cody. It’s friggin’ Balor. And it’s really windy out and that little ember is getting fainter by the second. So you want to take a shortcut through the dark and foreboding forest and get this ember safely in your hearth, but, since there’s an open door policy right now between Planet Earth and the Spirit World, you’re afraid you might run into a sluagh, a dearg due, or one of the other unpronounceable entities in the demonic pantheon of the ancient Irish. They’re very nasty creatures, which, at the very least, will probably knock your hollow turnip out of your hands and say “Whoops” and laugh derisively at you, or, at the very most, will suck all of the blood out of your body. What do you do?
You put on a costume. That’s how Halloween costumes got started. Ancient Celts thought to themselves, “Maybe if I put on some really scary get-up, the evil spirits will run away. Or at least I’ll blend in.”
Today we wear Halloween costumes for a much different reason: to impress our friends at Halloween parties. I guess if your friends are jerks, it’s sort of the same idea. You wear an awesome costume to avoid the derisive wrath of the people with whom you regularly associate. Unless your costume is stupid. Then prepare for embarrassment and emotional turmoil as you feel the judgmental eyes and wicked tongues of all your so-called “pals”.
Below is a litmus test: if any of the following applies to your costume this year, then it sucks. This way, you have plenty of time to change it. Happy Halloween, fools!
Five Reasons Your Halloween Costume Sucks:
- You’re going as The Joker. The Heath Ledger one. Because no one saw that one coming a mile away. Actually, you know what? Any incarnation of The Joker is off the list of acceptable costumes now. Cesar Romero’s Joker, Jack Nicholson’s Joker, or any variation. Don’t slap clown make-up on your face and put on your work uniform and come as “Joker, if he ran the drive-thru at Burger King”. Don’t come as the Joker and tell everyone that you’re doing it ironically. Irony is for jerks. Your Ledger impression is awful and so are most of your ideas.
- Your costume mostly consists of lingerie. This means you, ladies. You bought a teddy and a garter belt from Victoria’s Secret two years ago, in anticipation of your wedding night. Now it’s 2011, you’re still single, pretending you love it and you haven’t met a man who makes all that complex underwear worth donning. Halloween is not the occasion to justify a regrettable purchase. Putting animal ears on along with your lingerie doesn’t make you a cat or a gazelle or a sexy chimpanzee. I’ve watched all of “Planet Earth” and I’ve never seen a creature, great or small, who dresses like a desperate hooker. You ladies who wear this costume are the reason why men think women aren’t creative or cerebral. Stop holding back the feminist fight and put on a real costume.
- Your costume was bought at the store and includes the word “kit” in it. If you want to be a redneck, you can find a Crystal Gale shirt and cut the sleeves off it. You can grow out your own mullet. If you want to be a vampire, find a friend with a sewing machine and commission a cape. The components of a Halloween costume can be easily assembled with a little effort. Even if you don’t make everything, there’s no shame in finding and purchasing the right wig, or a gnarly set of fake teeth. But if your costume came from a plastic bag in Wal-Mart, next to a 10-pound sack of fun-sized candy bars, you’re sending a certain message to the world. That message is “I’m a lazy turd, and I think I deserve candy for it.”
- You decided to go as the dead or zombie version of someone famous. I know you think that it’s creative and original. But it’s not. Everyone has already thought of that idea. It’s Halloween, for crying out loud. Dead things are on most people’s minds. Unless someone famous has keeled over in the two weeks before Halloween, going as a decaying or zombie celebrity implies that you went as that living celebrity last year and you splashed some fake blood on it. That being said, those of you who are planning on going as a very pale version of Steve Jobs, be forewarned that one hundred other people in your town are going to be wearing the exact same thing. It’s kind of a lose-lose situation.
- You’ve released your inner Jersey and your costume is Snookie or The Situation or any of those idiots. We don’t any more reminders that such brainless degenerates exist.