I don’t like Christmas, and this isn’t just some “Look at me, I’m such a Grinch, I wish you bad tidings, bah humbug” attention-seeking ploy; I just don’t like it all that much. Not everyone has to enjoy the festive period, and I’m merely one of the ones that doesn’t. I find the whole sparkly cycle cynical, a cash-grab and most importantly: it means absolutely sod-all. It’s just a non-thing, and all it’s good for is an excuse to drink weird things like a pint of Guinness with Tia Maria in it. But to be honest, you can do that whenever the hell you want.
However, I’m happy to aggressively stamp on my views when it comes to Halloween, because although it’s still a cynical cash-grabbing exercise in pointless excess, I love it. Mainly because, unlike Christmas, it still holds a bit of meaning, namely: death and despair. Blood and guts and ghosts and zombies and all that stupid horrible crap that I have always loved.
Also good: the build-up only lasts one month. Halloween, much like Christmas, only occurs on one day, yet Christmas actually starts in October, doesn’t it? I’ve already seen Christmas trees this year and that’s absurd - it’s a festive fart spread out across the entire backside of the year. Why are you putting your lights up when the big day isn’t for three months, you absolute reindeer? The only person that should be preparing for Christmas this far in advance is Santa, and he’s dead.
But you’ve only got a month of build up with All Hallows Eve - a month of thinking about horror films, the devil and that giant blue howling ghost that lives in my attic. On a side note: it turns out that ‘lack of sleep due to the roof spectre’ as an excuse for being late for work doesn’t wash with most bosses. But still: ghosts.
Halloween is the time of the year when supposedly (definitely) the ‘walls’ between the living world and the spirit worlds thin, thereby enabling a horde of undead cretins to spill through onto our streets, back gardens and living rooms and then, ouch, our necks. You get the idea: Halloween is meant to be scary.
As such, you’re supposed to dress up scary - disguise yourself as a monster and they won’t clock you and drag you screaming into the underworld. That’s how the tradition started, and that’s why everyone dresses up as vampires and stuff when they go trick or treating. It’s why you wear a Christmas jumper with a reindeer on it in December, because it’s the tradition.
Do you, at Christmas, dress up as Super Mario? Do you ever do that? No? Then why are you doing it at Halloween? Stop diluting the scary part of Halloween by dressing up as David Brent. What’s with your Del Boy costume? Why are you dressed like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory?*
You should be made up like a ghost, or Frankenstein’s monster, or a mummy. Or if you want to go a bit further, Ash from Evil Dead or Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th films, or even that dumb doll on a bike from Saw - any character from a horror movie gets a pass. Sure, these characters haven’t been around forever, but the sentiment is there - you’re upholding the tradition of ‘scariness’, of ‘spookiness’, of good ole life-ending at the claws of a snarling werewolf.
You know what? You can even stretch it to some sort of non-traditional, yet real life villain, like Trump or something, but just know that every single banker or estate agent in the country will be going as him, so it’s best to swerve it. Go as something that not everyone will be going as, basically (and everyone will be going as Trump).
If you absolutely, positively HAVE to go as a non-horror pop culture character, then at least go as a dead version of them. Go as zombie Batman, or Joe Pesci in Goodfellas, but after he’s dead - it’s all very easy.
Saying all this, there are still certain costumes that may appear to adhere to the rules, yet should unquestionably be avoided. Like, obviously don’t go as Heath Ledger’s Joker anymore, don’t do that, because everyone is doing that, still. The Dark Knight came out ten years ago and people are still putting on a purple suit and smearing lipstick across their face and calling it a costume. Not anymore, thanks. As such, you are also not allowed to go as the female version of this costume: Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad.
Or this year’s version, as it happens, which will 100% be Pennywise from It. Do not pat yourself on your frilly back, smug in the knowledge that you are being the first person to do this, because you resolutely are not. There will be swarms of Skarsgard-model It-clowns filling the dancefloors of pubs and kitchens of houses everywhere this year. If you want to go as a clown, go as the Tim Curry version; there will be far less of them and you’ll stand out in the crowd.
Look, Halloween is about pain, and a sexy cat does not speak to me about pain; Superman does not haunt my dreams; a fried egg does not flood my brain with images of hell and torture; a Power Rangers morph suit does not tear each tendril from my quivering body as my soul is consumed by a thousand screaming demons. Sort it out, and treat Halloween with the respect it duly deserves.
Then, in November when it’s your birthday, you can have your stupid fancy dress party and go as the cocking 118 man and I won’t give a swiftly-chucked toss. Mainly because I won’t be there - I’ll be elsewhere, heavily engaged in a pagan ritual, sacrificing rats in my peat-filled bed, surrounded by bat shit, because actually, I lied: Halloween is all year round.
Lucifer the serpent shall soon come, and then you’ll be sorry. I’ll see you in the very deepest depths of a fiery Hell, Mario.
*Actually fair enough that’s terrifying