There’s a sociological concept called ethnocentrism. My prof introduced this by telling the class a story about a community in Central America. They’ve basically made a neighbourhood in a dump. There’s apparently even a school. Since there aren’t many options after graduation the people who are born there tend to die there. Every single nose in that classroom did the thing where one nostril just gets twitchy and rides up slowly. The prof noted that we were all judging based on our standard of culture. It can be as real as landfill living, or as random as Italians turning off the wifi when it rains. It’s unavoidable, we all do it. Part of the amazing thing about travelling is seeing what’s universal and what’s not. If you’re aware enough of your ethnocentrism to realize it and tuck it away, you can end up with some pretty cool habits. Also, if you’ve been doing it all along you can now tie it to actual sociology and use it as a stepping point to learn more about sociology because it’s awesome and not enough people study it.
Basically, that was a really, really heavy intro for a not heavy topic. What I’m going to be blithering on about for a while is my biggest point of ethnocentrism. The one thing I refuse to check because honestly, while Thanksgiving is the best North American holiday (the real one in October. November is too close to Christmas, like do you even finish your leftovers before you make another turkey?!) , the most fun has got to be Halloween. While I do admire that other cultures may have more kind of random dress up parties, these seem few and far between after one leaves college. Halloween is a beautiful time when everyone’s just like, “yeah, let’s wear a costume and have some drinks and eat some sugar.” It’s fantastic really.
If you do end up celebrating Halloween, or any fancy dress occasion on the road because well, hostels try, you end up in a weird spot. You’ve packed light. What do you wear for a costume? I
What do you even want to be? I have some basic guidelines:
- Don’t be an asshole. Seriously. Don’t. Don’t make jokes about other people’s culture. Do not, for the love of all that is good and holy, attempt to change your skin tone. If you even have the thought of, “hey, is this going to make me an asshole?” Then abandon the idea because it probably will.
Actually, that’s it. That’s one basic guideline. I feel it’s sadly not as observed as it should be.
Most of the ones I’m showing here don’t involve much- I’m trying to keep them without really any sewing. If you want to see my costumes that I’m making hardcore for this year, my friend and I have a sewing blog. I’m posting a few tutorials within the next week. They’re simple this year, and would be achievable while on the road… but I’ve learnt that while everyone carries a sewing kit, very few know how to use one.
I’m actually doing this one this year, so it mayyyyy be a bit of a cop out, but it’s a good costume. Basically all you need is a striped shirt, and a pair of black pants or leggings. A black tuque and black gloves would be great to complete it, but not 100% necessary. If you have an old black t shirt, you could even make the mask.
Literally any animal
Claire’s is pretty multinational, but look for anywhere with jewelry for kids. You can usually find some sort of ear headband. Wear whatever colour top matches with jeans. It’s a bit of a cop out, but always works in a pinch.
Roman God or Goddess
White sheets and safety pins work wonders.
Wear PJ’s and put some eyeliner or washable marker freckles on your face. If your hair is long enough pop in some pigtails, if not give yourself some bedhead.
I have a thing where I try to buy a rugby jersey for every country I go to. If you have, or are carrying some stuff from your hometown, deck it all at once. The thing that makes it costume-y? Pop some face paint on. Having “GO SPORTS TEAM!” on your cheek makes it.
Just being yourself tbh. Wear that camera on its neck strap and some socks with those sandals.
Flannels are everything and you should pack tons of them. Pop one on with some jeans, a tuque if you have it, and sing some Monty Python for full effect.
This one take a bit of effort. Wear a comfy outfit, and safety pin a bunch of your other clothes to you.
Wear a swimsuit. If you want to put some effort in, 60’s hair and makeup always looks cute with this.
This is the costume that proves you can never be too lazy to dress up. I also had to think of all the other costumes above so I could write about this, which is why some of them are super weak. (actually, upon my pre post reread, I’ve determined they’re all pretty good.) Procure a cosmetic mirror on a handle with a hole (easily found in any grocery store) and some string (dental floss works well.). Thread a length of string that fits well over your head through the mirror hole, and get yourself a necklace. When someone asks what you are, say what they are. Note that a LOT of the time people won’t get this right away, but will come back and tell you you’re a genius.
Any dress up party is only as fun as the enthusiasm you put into it. You know who isn’t having a good time?
Sulky McSulkertan in the corner who is trying to be cool.
I make sure to pack a few things I could incorporate into a costume just in case, and I’ve never regretted it. Look at all the things you can do with basic suitcase stuff. Imagine how creative you’d get if you raided the school supply section of the supermarket. Put the effort in, feel the passion, have the fun.
What are you being for halloween?
Besides a person having a shot for me 😉