I have never been celebrated for my wit or style at Halloween. I’ve never been kissed, or cooed at; my costumes have never earned me the affection of others. Well, it did one time when I dressed as Peter Pan but that involved an old drunk guy with somewhat questionable designs and I felt he wanted to cover me in more than just fairy dust. No. I have never managed to throw together something spectacular or worthy of merit. Last year I went as some sort of dead-rabbit-slut and I woke up genuinely surprised that I didn’t have £20 notes stuffed into my underwear. Each year has been more demoralising than the last – I have spent over twenty years failing at Halloween.
My lack of success at Halloween started early when I always planned on being a weird mixture of costumes. Never quite content with simply being a vampire or ghoul; I wanted to be some sort of hybrid of my own creation. I wanted to be something different, I wanted to be someone different. I remember asking my parents when I was younger if I could go as a witch and them declining. They will likely deny this, or perhaps it’s faded from their memory, but I remember asking if I could wear a dress. I wanted a ratty wig, Wizard of Oz inspired aesthetic for my witchy-woman costume. I’d probably have asked for fake breasts had I known at that time what breasts were. But of course they declined and that year I went as the physical manifestation of disappointed child. I bobbed for apples at my primary school disco brimming with disdain and loathing.
I could never pull off basic costumes because I didn’t have the cheeky word play boys in my class had; I didn’t have that frisky spirit you needed if you were dressed as a cat or a dog or a bat or a fish or whatever. I was forced to be normal and nobody gave a shit. I’d much rather have covered myself in green balloons and go as a delightful bunch of grapes, rather than force some fangs in my mouth there were too large and caused me to drool all night, whilst I went around trying to suck everyone. (REFRAIN.)
I always felt boys had it so easy at Halloween, back then and these days too. Girls are tasked with the feat of being sexy but not overtly sultry; adorable, but kind of a turn on. Undergo a complete transformation but still hold sex appeal. The last few years I’ve seen straight guys parade around with their beer bellies jiggling about, or wearing a rubber mask, and then claiming that it’s their costume. Minimum effort, but expecting a kudos. Whereas girls are subconsciously pitted against each other. They need to look good, feel good, whilst having to avoid verbal landmines such as the word ‘slut’ or ‘cheap.’ Girls are tasked with looking gorgeous and sexy, with being memorable, but are then normally slatted for it after.
I feel that, although I was happy being a boy back when I was kid, I wanted to be a girl that Halloween because I have always found girls (females) a lot more empowering than I have men. I’ve always idolised females; my favourite TV show has one of the strongest female leads characters of all time: Buffy. I’d always play as the female characters in computer games; I’d always favour any book or film that had heroine rather than a hero. I still do in fact. So this year I’ve decided to fulfil the youthful whims I was denied all those years ago and go as a girl – well, in drag anyway.
My drag aesthetic can be described as dressing halfway between the man I want to take home and the girl I want to party with. It’ll be Adore Delano-esk; with subtle nods to my influences, mainly lead female vocalists that I’ve idolised over the years: Agent M from Tsunami Bomb; Brody Dalle from The Distillers. This year I will finally pay homage to those brave and daring females that tackle the social hurdle that is Halloween head on. It will be the first time I’ve drank all month, so I will likely be a teensy bit too drunk to be a good candidate for candy, but I feel that I’ll need alcohol to brave this costume. It’s very out my comfort zone.
This year is my salute to that bold child who wanted to wear a dress but was forced to play the part, sell out and go as something cosmically blah. To little Topher, and your perhaps weird cross-dressing impulses and odd infatuation with witches, this year is for you.