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Halloween has long held a low spot on the list of holidays I enjoy. I’ve never been a fan of scary movies, haunted mazes, or anything that could potentially give me nightmares. Aside from these unbearable ghoulish-themed activities, I can at least find some enjoyment in the beloved adult Halloween parties that pop up around the 31st. Friends that are lucky enough to have a home that can hold multiple people at one time send out an email or group chat letting everyone know they will be hosting an evening of drinks and games, and of course costumes are required.
Once these invitations go out in late September into early October, it’s time to begin prep work for finding/creating a costume. The pressure is on, and each year I am woefully unprepared. For a long time, I was tasked only with creating a single costume for myself. It’s never been easy, and I often spend too much time and money coming up with a costume that is greatly misunderstood. Now, having a partner has changed the game. What seemed difficult before is now nearly impossible. I need to create a coordinating costume and it has quadrupled the amount of stress I now have to handle when it comes to Halloween parties.
In my mind, it is incredibly lame to go with an overdone concept. Lola and Bugs Bunny from Space Jam has been done a million times, Squints and Wendy Peffercorn is old news, and any Disney prince and princess combo is a cop-out. I always aim to come up with something clever or at least unique, and it’s challenging to think outside of the box sometimes. My creative process feels stifled with a small window of time to be planning, and also the lack of any non-depressing culture references trending at the moment. The world isn’t giving me much to work with and it feels unfair.
Also working against me is a partner who refuses to contribute ideas, but has no problem shutting down anything I suggest. My first idea this year, “The Pioneers of Printing,” had us going as Johanne Guttenberg and the man who invented the Times New Roman font. As soon as I threw it out there, I was met with a, “What the fuck is wrong with you Kell.” A few days later I came back with Madeline Lost in Paris and her weird little Spanish neighbor Pepito. Before I could unpack the layers behind these costumes, I was met with a resounding “no!” I spend my free time laboring over these ideas, only to end up shut down time and time again. When I counter with asking what he wants to do instead, there’s never a single thought, or even a starting point suggested for a brainstorming sesh.
There’s a certain level of pressure added when you know you’ll be at a Halloween party that is filled almost exclusively with other couples. It will always end up a competition between who has the funniest/best costume and everyone wants to win. What a high to end up as the pair that everyone talks about for months, even years, to come. I’ve never being privy to this role, but I feel like I deserve it more than anyone since I genuinely care about couple costumes. I work hard to curate a cohesive theme between the two, and dive into crafts that require hand sewing, painting, and overall ingenuity.
Aside from Halloween parties as your runway, your pairing will also go on display across your Instagram page for all your followers to see. Halloween weekend everyone’s feeds will be littered with costume noise. You have to make something that pops out to avid scrollers looking to be impressed. This holiday post could really bring in some numbers as well as inspire future couples to copy your look. The pressure is truly on both a physical and digital front.
With a few weeks left before Halloween, I am desperately working to come up with and execute a couples costume idea I am proud of. I clearly have some hurdles to overcome, and it’s making my blood pressure spike. Like every year in the past, I will flip shit on my boyfriend for being wishy-washy then frantically rush to pull something together at the last minute, only to come up with the best idea at the beginning of November once the festivities have come to an end. There’s always next year, I guess. .