Halloween Costumes Are Meant to be Scary, Aren’t They?

Halloween is becoming more popular in Australia and as a result the shops are full of decorations, costumes and confectionery aimed to cash in on the event for the retail bonanza windfall. Last year I wrote a post called 5 Arguments For and Against Halloween in Australia and I stick by those reasons why I love the celebration.

I’ve really only been a participant in the ‘tricking or treating’ since my eldest son was a few weeks short of 4-years-old back in 2012 and being relatively “new” to the whole Halloween scene, there is something that disappoints has me confused about the occasion. Isn’t it supposed to be about dressing up as something scary?

When you look at the decorations and the theme of the lollies, sweets, chocolates and treats that are being sold as part of this celebration, whether you are looking at the catalogues of Target , Kmart, Big W, Aldi, The Reject Shop, Coles or Woolworths, it’s ALL about scary monsters, ghosts, witches, skeletons, pumpkins, tombstones and cobwebs. Lots of freakin’ cobwebs. Check out the photo gallery at the end of this story…

At Halloween, yards and public spaces may be decorated with traditionally macabre symbols including witches, skeletons, cobwebs, and headstones (source; Anthony22 (talk) Transferred from en.wikipedia) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween#mediaviewer/File:Halloween_Witch_2011.JPG
At Halloween, yards and public spaces may be decorated with traditionally macabre symbols including witches, skeletons, cobwebs, and headstones (source; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween#mediaviewer/File:Halloween_Witch_2011.JPG)

Halloween falls on a Friday night this year which is great because it means that the kids can stay out a little later than normal and don’t have to get up for school the next day. Unfortunately for us though, Friday nights from September through to the first week in March are reserved for Little Athletics which starts at 6:30pm and can go for one to two hours depending on what events they have to do that night, and if there are any delays on the running track where there is only one timing official and normally half a dozen groups all trying to run their particular 200m or longer distance race at any given time.

Because we are running on daylight savings time here in Sydney, we will experience last light (sunset) sometime around 7:45pm which would be when I would think the kids would start going about the trick or treat session. The reality is, at least in our area, Halloween seems to be mostly for younger kids between the age of four and no more than about ten so most parents who let their kids dress up and do the rounds door-to-door follow a few footsteps behind whilst their kids do the trick or treating in the glow of the early evening light.

It would seem that this year we are going to miss out on this unless we let our eldest son – who is a few weeks short of turning six – get changed into his Halloween costume and go door knocking later in the night. Chances are, that’s not going to happen because it is generally closer to 8:30pm that we’ve been getting home from Little Athletics, and after that time of night, those who are actually willing participants in giving out treats to the kids are likely to be parents of younger kids themselves and it would be at that time that they’d be getting their own children to sleep. Being a parent of a child that takes forever to get to sleep, I don’t want to be the cause of some other parent’s ‘Night of Hell’ (and I’m not talking about Halloween).

Where we are lucky however is that on the Thursday night before, our local library is having an event called Halloween Storytime which will include stories, craft and spooky music. That’s pretty cool. I’m looking forward to it. I’m taking the eldest boy only as it is for 5-9 year olds only and our 3-year-old wouldn’t sit still long enough to join in on the fun.

I already have my costume and found it some weeks ago although I only bought it last weekend. It bought a jet black hooded robe from a department store for only $15, a plastic scythe from a discount store for $3, and a half-face (chinless) skeleton mask for $4 from a grocery store. My costume this year is Death or the Grim Reaper if you’d prefer to call “him” that. The point is, my costume is a traditional Halloween costume. My costume is scary.

Photo Source http://www.costumecollection.com.au/grave-reaper-halloween-costume.html
Photo Source http://www.costumecollection.com.au/grave-reaper-halloween-costume.html

It’s not like I’m intentionally being scary because that’s my thing. It’s called for on Halloween, right? The advertisement for the event we are attending read;

“Dress up in your scariest costume and join us if you dare to celebrate Halloween at the library…”

So you are supposed to be scary. It’s a given…

I told my wife that I booked a spot for our son and I at that event so she decided to go out and get him a new costume to dress up in. My intent was to take him shopping last weekend to find a scary costume to buy but she beat me to it during the week last week whilst I was away for work. And what did she buy him?


Batman? Scary? Well I guess to some people the Dark Knight is somewhat scary, but not to me. I really wanted him to be a skeleton or monster or ghost. I wanted him to be Death Jnr., son of the Grim Reaper. That would have been really cool. But no, he’s going to be Batman.

I’m not naive. I know Halloween costumes aren’t exclusively in the ‘scary zone’. I know there are plenty of girls dressing up as Elsa or Anna from Frozen, and boys dressing up as superheroes, or girls dressing up as them as well as I mentioned in my post Can a Girl Be Spiderman?  In fact, thanks to the Internet and social media, Halloween costumes – in the States at the very least – have become competitive; who can dress up in the most topical costume? It’s about who can create something so awesome to do with something that’s gone viral in the last year. You know, like making an iPhone 6 costume that bends, dressing up as a Lego Movie character, or as I read in a news story earlier this week, dressing up as the Ebola virus (yes, that’s seriously what some people are planning to do).

It’s all about who can create a costume Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Kimmel or Jimmy Fallon will love so much they’ll show your photo on their show, or better still, they’ll invite you to be ON the show in person. Oh, and they’ll retweet your photo too…

My wife seems to think that our son is too young to dress as something scary but I disagree. She thinks that that’s his opinion. I know it’s not. I know he just picked Batman because it would have been something that he recognised and he’s comfortable with that. But if I found a Lord Garmadon from Ninjago costume he’s wear that. If I found a bones outfit that looked exactly like a skeleton from Ninjago he’d go with that. If I found a snake-man costume that looked like one of the Serpentine from Ninjago he would have gone with that. He’s okay with scary. He told me he’s cool with scary and he doesn’t get scared any more. In fact, only two weeks ago when we attended that premiere for the reality television show Firies he got his photo taken with the Duracell Bunny and told me that he’s no longer scared of people in costumes and he’ll even sit on Santa’s lap without fear this year. He ain’t scared.

But it’s okay. I’m over it. I don’t care. I just want him to participate. That’s the point isn’t it? And it’s letting HIM decide what to wear, not me forcing him to wear something that he doesn’t want to.

And there’s always next year. Next year we can dress in something scary. Maybe we can even rope Mummy and the younger one in as well and dress as some thematic that ties the whole family together. After all, the youngest will be 4-years-old next year and more willing to dress up himself.

And speaking of dressing up like a family, earlier this week Danielle from the blog Keeping Up With The Holsbys shared a photo on her Facebook page of the costume and make-up she wore last year. She also dressed up both her kids in matching costumes and it’s too cute not to share. You’ve just got to go and check it out by clicking here.

So what are your kids wearing this year? Are you dressing up too?

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6 thoughts on “Halloween Costumes Are Meant to be Scary, Aren’t They?

  1. Funny, I was just having this debate with my husband! I’m originally from Canada, and have been living in Sydney, Australia for about 12 years now. Every year Halloween gets bigger and bigger, but the holiday here is so unbelievably different than it is in North America. In my 25 years of celebrating Halloween in North America has there ever been an emphasis on costumes being scary~some of the costumes I wore growing up were Dopey, an astronaut, a clown, and a cow. The whole joy of Halloween is all about coming up with creative, and clever costumes (as you would see on Ellen Degeneres). I know Australia is not America, but given that this holiday has picked up steam based on American influence I’d sure love it to morph into the American tradition where it’s all about creating exciting, fun costumes… not about scary. The other really fun part of the holiday that I’d love to see adopted here is jack-o-lanterns. In Canada when I was growing up you’d place a jack-o-lantern on your doorstep to indicate that you are giving out “treats”, and when you run out “you blow out the candle”, so it makes it easy for children to know which doors to knock on. As I see this holiday grow more and more each year, I think we’re going to see lots of things evolve about the holiday is celebrated here in Australia. I’d love to see it adapt a little to be more Americanized, because it’s a really fun and carefree holiday for kids (with little focus on scary).

  2. I’d agree, though it seems to be the thing these days to dress up as whatever character you want, despite whether it be scary or not. Also i guess some adults and their kids, want to get dressed up and not wear a ‘scary costume’, due maybe to the fact that they don’t like scary costumes or monsters, but then that does seem to ruin the whole concept of Halloween. When you nut it down really, it’s just a good excuse to dress up, whether that be as a monster or as your favorite character.

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