Halloween is such a great holiday. I love candy, I love to dress up, and I love the month of October. There are so many things to love at once about Halloween. Throw in the church history bit, which I also remember and honor every October 31st as a proud, nerdy Protestant and it is without a doubt one of the best days of the year.
Nothing can be entirely without drawbacks, and there are a few things that I am less than enamored with about Halloween. Is it that it is a pagan holiday? No, I could care less, though that is a perfectly valid guess considering I am a practicing and studying theologian. No – my beef is this: nearly all of the costumes marketed for and sold to my gender are insulting and yet we buy them year after year (or else this would change). Truth be told, the feminist in me ts pretty pissed off about the whole thing and I must ask, “Have we really come a long way when we encourage our under-5 set to wear bridal gowns, cheerleading outfits, and princess outfits on a day when they can dress up as ANYTHING? And what excuse do we have for ourselves, grown women accepting this ridiculous and demeaning theme of costumes that manage to be both juvenile and oversexed no matter character they represent: Bo Peep, Alice in Wonderland, or yet another Catholic Schoolgirl.
It’s enough to make me feel a bit unwell but what is really audacious is the notion that some depraved person in R&D at a corporation thought up the costume in the story above, another person or group of persons believed in it enough to have it manufactured, some stores stocked it and while most pulled it not all did. Through all of these steps in the process these individuals thought it amusing to make a costume mocking a very serious illness that kills some fantastic, dynamic people — most of them women. One of these women could have been me. Anorexia *is* scary. We should be terrified of it. We should be well informed about it. None of those people were.
Whether one allows themselves to show such a lack of judgment and intelligence that they ascertain and don that particular costume or they dress up as a slutty Catholic schoolgirl is of no matter. On this day you can dress up as ANYTHING. Don’t buy into what they’re selling. The parameters are far too narrow and you are far too fantastic for that nonsense.
Ultimately, the question about Halloween isn’t all that different than the question about our ultimate concerns when it is so clear that so few take us seriously; take disorders that take so many of our lives seriously. Will I be dressing up? Absolutely. But I will be taking the question “Who am I going to be?” extremely seriously; as seriously in my costuming as I do in my everyday life.