You know what’s the best thing about Hallowe’en? Well, almost everything, actually.
Bonfires. Spookiness. Trick or treating. Fancy dress. The way it usually seems to be foggy. Monkey nuts. Bobbing for apples. Telling ghost stories to kids. Getting so drunk at house parties that you start to believe you really are Lestat the Vampire from the Anne Rice novel, and not just a dypsomaniac in a straw-coloured wig, velvet pantaloons and a shirt so frilly, you could lie on the coffee table and call yourself a doily.
The fact that this Irish Celtic festival of the dead has gone forth to basically colonise the whole world like an army of especially hungry zombies. The fact that you can spell it with that cutesy little apostrophe between the two ‘e’s. The fact that you’ve a choice of two appropriately terrorific alternative names for the day what’s in it: Horrorwe’en or Hellowe’en.
The fact that it inspired a truly great icon of popular culture in the first Hallowe’en movie, and to a lesser extent the subsequent sequels. The fact that they show good horror movies on telly at all, or even better, show rubbish horror movies, which are always more fun.
Like Shark-Wasp KillBlood Electrical Rampage Part 3: Fins Ain’t Watt They Used to Bee. Top show, that one.
So as you’ve deduced by now, I love Hallowe’en. I love it in a way I’ve never loved any other vaguely defined festival type thing based on some ancient Celtic yoke what used to mark the passing of the seasons or honour the dead or whatever.
But there is a problem. All is not as perfect as it could and should be. I have, as Mafiosi were prone to saying in the 1920s, a stone in my shoe.
And it is this: the proliferation of “sexy” costumes worn by women, out on the town or going to parties. The idea is fancy dress, yes, but at Hallowe’en, that’s supposed to mean fancy dress with a horror twist. So, for example, you could dress up as a vampire, a ghost, a Fianna Fail TD, or whatever.
If you’re a bit squeamish and easily frightened, well, go for some other fancy dress costume. I remember being at a college Hallowe’en bash where one fella came as Jesus – complete with giant wooden cross – and another came as Brandon Lee’s character in The Crow, and looked totally cool and amazingly like him. That’s what I call a muhfuggin’ costume.
But as for this “sexy” fancy dress nonsense… Let me state, I have no problem with sexy clothes, in the right circumstances. Suspenders, teddies, high heels, negligees…I enjoy dressing up in all of these from time to time, as any normal man does, and indeed they can be quite attractive on a woman too.
However, when it comes to sexy schoolgirls, or sexy mummies, or sexy pirates, or sexy blah blah blah…I object. Je objecter. Ich objekten. For the following reasons:
- Why the Sam Hill must women be under constant pressure to sexualise everything? It’s Hallowe’en, for Christ’s sake, not a Roman orgy. Women are more than body parts and sexual objects.
- It’s often sleazy and even dodgy. Dressing up as a sexy version of Alex in A Clockwork Orange – you do know he was a rapist, right? So people are out there sexing up a rapist’s outfit. This is so weird, it makes the head spin – and the stomach turn.
- What sort of men, exactly, are people hoping to attract in these Hallowe’en costumes? Dressing up as a sexy schoolgirl: great, if it’s a leering pederast you’re after. Because who else would find that a turn-on? Dressing up as a sexy corpse (yes, this outfit is available): great, if necrophiliacs are your thing. Dressing up as a sexy vampire: great, if you’re into masochistic blood-fetishists with a death wish. And who wouldn’t be?
On it goes. Head still spinning. Stomach turning, ooh yes.
- Hallowe’en is meant to be about, like, scary stuff? Not sexy stuff. I understand that the pervert in Fifty Shades of Grey sort of combined the two, but for most folks, scary and sexy don’t ordinarily mix. I don’t think anyone’s ever been there getting intimate with their sweetie, lights low, smoochy music playing, four or five gallons of wine consumed and the feeling is oh so right…when a thought pops into their head: “Hey, you know what’d really spice up this moment? If a masked lunatic burst through the door with a chainsaw, chased us round the flat then severed my limbs, head and genitals (possibly not in that order) and made my other half eat them with a nice salad nicoise?”
Actually, for all I know, that may be exactly what you’re thinking every time. In which case, fire away.