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Dressing down for Halloween: All Hallow’s Eve is not quite a legitimate excuse to lower your standards

Despite the fact that the holiday is obviously for children (or perhaps because of it), Halloween is one of my favorite days of the year.

I get to dress and eat inordinate amounts of candy. What’s not to love?

And while I don’t condone the practice of over-aged-trick-or-treating, I would posit that there is fun to be had on Halloween for those of all ages.

I might even go so far as to suggest that that fun can be clean and wholesome, as well.

As we grow older, candy is a treat no longer forbidden to us on days other than Halloween, and it’s just not quite as exciting as it used to be.

If I can go to Broulim’s any time I desire and pick as many banana Creamies as I want, that thrill of the forbidden is lost. It’s just not as fun to gorge yourself on sugar when mom’s not there to nag about cavities or hyperactivity (and the resulting sugar crashes).

As we get older, then, the focus swings from the candy to dressing and participating in silly (and sometimes stid) activities. While stuffing your face is now your right as an adult, dressing becomes a rare privilege, only appropriately indulged once a year on All Hallow’s Eve.

And as that night approaches, the question keeps coming everywhere you go: “What will you be dressing as?”

I know at least five people who are being characters from Harry Potter: Luna Lovegood, Ginny Weasley, Draco Malfoy, a Blast-ended skrewt.

Okay, not so much a skrewt. That was actually one of my ideas for this year’s costume, but I couldn’t find a lobster suit that looked quite right.

This is all part of holding my long, proud tradition of assembling my own costumes.

Some have been brilliant, like my ’06 version of Quailman. Others have been closer to disastrous, such as my rendition in ’03 of a bag of trash. It’s not too hard to guess how I managed that one.

Like me, a lot of Halloween-enthusiasts use the holiday as an excuse to relive the glory years of childhood.

Others use it as an excuse to show off their abstract wit and ironic sense of humor. You’ve seen them.

The cow costume with the addition of angel wings, to be a “holy cow.”

The trio of guys dressed in all black, each with a white sign on their chest saying “CTRL,” “ALT,” or “DEL”.

It’s the kind of costume that says, “I’m too lazy to wear a real costume, but I hope my wit makes for it.”

And then there are those girls, the ones who think that the opportunity to dress is nothing more than an excuse to show as much skin as possible without permanently scandalizing anyone.

Every year I’m reminded of the quote from “Mean Girls,” in which the main character Cady comments on the strange phenomenon that, “Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress [immodestly] and no other girls can say anything about it.”

Many of us have seen the girls dressed very skimpily at Halloween parties—even those hosted by students here or members of singles’ wards. One such costume consisted of only a pair of socks and a man’s dress shirt a la Tom Cruise’s famous dance scene in “Risky Business.” Or there is just the “hot” versions of traditional costumes: nurse, pirate, and so on.

But it’s not just girls. At the Halloween party I attended last fall, I was only faintly amused when a pair of guys showed in nothing but speedos, swim goggles and American flags worn as capes, claiming to be Michael Phelps.

This show might have inspired me to belt out a verse of the national anthem if I hadn’t been too busy spressing my gag reflex.

Just because the candy’s lost its thrill doesn’t mean we should be pushing every limit and standard with our costumes.

In the words of Mason Cooley, “Clothes make a statement. Costumes tell a story.”

And the only story I get from immodest and inappropriate costumes is that the wearer is willing to compromise their standards for something as trivial as a Halloween disguise.

I can only hope we all have much better stories to tell.


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