Ask Amy: Halloween Costumes
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I'm going to be a 1970's Soul Train dancer for Halloween. Any suggestions on where to get the right outfit and accessories?
Thank you for giving me the perfect opportunity to briefly discuss my feelings about Halloween costumage and how it ruins my favorite holiday. My 2nd favorite holiday is Christmas. You can imagine how much I love the movie Nightmare Before Christmas.
As I hope you already know, so many costumes are full of racism. Also, sexism, anti-clownism, sizeism and more. I say "briefly", because I have a lot to say on the topic and don't have the space to go into it here. I say, "I hope you already know", for the same reason. Here's a nice little article in Racialicious that will give you some examples of bad costumes: click me!
Although, I do love the "person riding an animal" effect.
When walking into a Halloween party, I cringe, one hand over my eyes, peeking through my fingers like when watching a scary movie. I think, "Please don't let anyone be a geisha." Inevitably there is a white person in a sombrero, their face painted brown. Once at work, someone dressed in one of those fat suits that have air constantly blowing into it. I'm not a fan of dressing up in the work place anyway, so I wasn't too upset when this person ruined it for the whole agency by setting precedent for a ban on costumes.
I have a ton to say about the sexy lady costumes (sexy teacher/firefighter/nurse/witch/senator...) and why women wear them. It has a lot to do with women not feeling free to express their sexuality the other 364 days of the year combined with the usual notions of women as purely sexual beings. My advice on this one is to dress slutty all year and then be something scary, creative or ironic on Halloween. Also I am starting to see these sexy costumes for little girls. That's fucked up and warrants a lot more words than I'm giving you here.
The "Sexy Indian"costume: killing two birds with one tomahawk.
On the subject of the scary clown costume, I have this to say: If you wear a scary clown costume, you are perpetuating the notion of clowns as evil, thereby ruining not only millions of kids' lives but also the creative artists known as clowns who dedicate their entire beings to simply making people laugh. Ever hear of a killjoy? That's you.
Who wouldn't be afraid of clowns after seeing this bastard?
I recently had a discussion with a friend about this whole Halloween costume subject. It is cause for her to hate Halloween. I tried to convince her that we should instead reclaim it. I mean, why let it go to the idiots? I say dress up as a pumpkin and keep the holiday fun!
In closing, I will finally answer your question. Don't go to one of those pop-up costume shops that charge way too much money for a plastic cape. For a 70's Soul Train Dancer costume, you should have no problem finding your outfit at a thrift store. And please, if you are not African-American, do NOT wear an afro wig. If you are, shop at a wig store. There will be a huge selection and you'll get a higher quality wig for the same price as a costume one.
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