News, music, movies & restaurants from the editors of the Silicon Valley's #1 weekly newspaper.
Serving San Jose, Palo Alto, Los Gatos, Campbell, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Fremont & nearby cities.

News and Features

home | metro santa cruz index | features | santa cruz | feature story


Ooh-la-blah: What if we all just skip the tired slutty costume thing this year?

Standup Get-ups

This Halloween, try a little creativity.

By Craig Gawlick

Browsing some costume shops in town, I couldn't help but remember old Saturday Night Live Halloween skits from back when the show was actually funny. Those sad-looking, prepackaged costumes in plastic bags reminded me of Jane Curtin grilling toymaker Irvin Mainway (Dan Aykroyd) about pathetic and dangerous costumes, like an oil-soaked "Johnny Human Torch" costume complete with oversize lighter, or a completely black and nonreflective outfit titled "Invisible Pedestrian," except those costumes were actually amusing. Pirate? Witch? Nurse? This is Santa Cruz, and according to the presidential race, the year of "change," we can all do better this Halloween!

Crossing some potential costumes off the list, let's start with the most obvious. Like Amy Winehouse last year and Napoleon Dynamite a few years before, there will always be that one costume which you run into endlessly, and this year it will be Sarah Palin. So, unless you are doing her in drag or have a lipstick-wearing pit bull to cart around, skip this potentially overdone costume.

Another notoriously overdone Halloween costume is the "sexy" component haphazardly thrown into any outfit. Many people will take a normal costume and just remove an article of clothing and--voilą! Sexy sanitation worker! Sexy priest! Sexy nun, or--another overdone "scandalous" outfit--sexy pregnant nun! Yes, Halloween is about being something you're not, so perhaps one should look at the real reason for adding sex appeal to a costume. However, used tastefully and cautiously, it can enhance a costume. Sexy John McCain, anyone ... ?

What kind of person you are also plays a part in what you choose to dress as this holiday. If you're an artsy type who wants and needs to be asked what your costume means all night, perhaps you can dress all in blue and stick tampons and sanitary napkins all over yourself--if someone figures out that you are "Picasso's blue period" before you have to explain, you've found a soul mate. One costume sure to be timely, and also a throwback, could be an out-of-work investment banker, bottle in hand, crumpled suit, bruised from a bar fight and shaky from coke withdrawals and the market crash. It's both 1929 retro and 2008 chic, for those looking to be timeless this Halloween.

As for last-minute costume ideas, the genius sometimes lies in the simplicity of it. All you need to be a flasher is a pair of cute underwear (or not), a trench coat, fedora and sunglasses. Stitch together some plastic bags and grab a box of Massengill, and you can be an instant "douchebag." Have a toilet plunger lying around? Put on some low-rise jeans and you can be "Joe the Plumber." Or, walk around with a six-pack, and you're "Joe Six-Pack," or if you're in excellent shape, you can be "Joe Six-Pack, shirtless variety." All it takes to find a good, quick costume is a moment's thought and a hint of creativity.

You can always dust off that French maid costume or vampire fangs for next year's predictable costume. This year, turn off your porch light for trick-or-treaters, take advantage of Halloween being on a Friday, and get out there with yo' bad self!

Send a letter to the editor about this story.