With Halloween just around the corner, it’s high time to start devising your perfect outfit. Halloween is hands-down my favourite dress up occasion of all time, and I usually go all out (not quite Heidi-Klum-as-Shiva-all-out, but BIG by South African standards) and, until Halloween of 2009, threw a Halloween party every year. The reasons for this will become clear later, but in the meantime I am way behind with my Halloween planning, my outfit a mere tentative sketch in my mind.
I’ve dressed up as everything from Heidi to Pochahontas and Cat Girl, but in recent years have decided that non-scary options are a cop out, because Halloween is about gettin’ ghoulish, gettin’ grisly, and gettin’ down. Girls that come as fairies, angels, princesses and ballerinas, this applies to you. Anyone can float about prettily in a pair of wings and carry a wand. That aint effort, and it aint Halloween, at least not in my book.
I subsequently went as a variation on the vampire theme in both 2008 and 2009. I have loved vampires since I was a kid, but my more vigorously expressed interest in them coincided, by a dorky and embarrassing stroke of misfortune, with the advent of Twilight mania. This unfortunate turn of events means that for a significant part of last year people thought that I had turned into a closet Robert Pattinson freak, when in fact I could scarcely stomach the first installment of the vampire/werewolf abomination that is Twilight. A smashmortion, as my friend Sarah might say. A flagrant soiling of the vampire stereotype. While I merrily and obliviously painted Dracula’s face onto dainty porcelain plates at my ceramics class, teenage girls everywhere gazed adoringly at Edward’s face and put silent hexes on Kristen Stewart. Eish.
Anyways, in 2008 I was still living with my friend Jenna at Wembley Square, and I somehow convinced her that hosting a Halloween party in our pristine, antique-filled 6th floor flat was a good idea.
It was a good idea, if you consider 50+ revellers crammed into a penthouse, incidences of public indecency, security on the intercom from 9pm onwards and everyone from Where’s Wally to Robert Smith from The Cure pitching up a good idea. I certainly do. We strung up Ghost Pops as décor and set skeletons and spiders into vats of ruby jelly. It was historic. I hired a gorgeous Victorian, high-necked blouse from Annie’s Wardrobe, painted Cruella streaks into my hair and ended up making out with a skeleton, who had earlier arrived without an outfit. Somehow I ended up in the bathroom painting his costume on… from the waist up, I might add. Great night. I got to hiss at people through my fangs, everybody had a grand old time, and not one Ghost Pop was left. The genuine madness that ensued, however, convinced me that a hiatus from being the host was in order, at least for a year or two.
The success of the vampire getup and the fact that the hissing came so naturally to me meant that last year I opted for a variation on the theme and went as a 1950’s vamp. I hired a tassled flapper dress and velvet cap from Mardi Gras, whited out my face and added blood for effect. My brother went as Evil Kineval, and felt as at home in his helmet and cape as I did in my fangs.
Now I am at a crossroads: surely if I go as vampire again it will become a tradition? And perhaps sufficient time has passed and I will not be mistaken for a Twilight twit, and be recognised as the Anne Rice, Nosferatu, Morticia Addams devotee that I am. My other idea is to rehash another character that I dressed up as and loved at another party – GoGo the bloodthirsty Japanese schoolgirl from Kill Bill. I attended a birthday party in full GoGo regalia, complete with schoolgirl fringe, tartan mini and weapon (the spiked ball on the chain). It rocked. For weeks afterwards I bumped into people all over town who kept saying: “Hey, it’s GoGo!”
That, in my opinion, is the real key to a good Halloween. You gotta live it. If you’re going as Axl Rose you best be prepared to bust out some Welcome to the Jungle; if you’re going as a Ninja Turtle than you should still be finding flecks of green paint between your toes a week later.
And if you’re going as a vampire I expect to see the bite marks to show it.