I've been a grumpypuss about Halloween for years because I have serious moral reservations about celebrating the macabre and demonic however much I love fancy dress, but I have to admit that the holiday has been redeemed somewhat in my heart this year. Here I am, back in the USA for my least favourite holiday, rolling my eyes at over-the-top horrible horror decorations on sale in stores and planning to avoid wearing anything that can be remotely construed as a costume so as to anti-observe it (actually, harder than it sounds with my wardrobe, I discovered!). Yet, today I found myself putting on something of a costume to get in for free to my cousin's orchestra concert.
Ok, so I conceeded to the holiday to save five bucks and here I am, wearing a sari as a sort-of costume. Saris are every-day wear for me in PNG (I wear one maybe once a month or so to work or church or a concert or somewhere), but if I wear one in America it looks like a costume so it'll do. Add lots of eye makeup, silver bangles, necklace, and earrings, and some jewellry in my hair and I'm set.
At my cousin's concert I noticed right away how charming and festive it was to have everyone in the orchestra in some sort of goofy or scarey or at least bright costume. It's like a party! Even the death/demonic/macabre ones weren't winding me up like they usually do. And the audience was full of people wearing silly things. My grumpyness lessens.
After helping out at my cousins' after-concert party, I still had 1/2 an hour to squeeze in attending the nearby contra dance, also a Halloween-themed affair. The dance hall was filled with more people in silly costumes. I danced with John Lennon, an minuteman, a jester, an explorer with a real pith helmet, some guy randomly wearing a rubber snake around his neck, a cool cat in a zoot suit, a ladybug. I realized how much fun all this fancy dress is and that most people aren't being demonic, even inadvertently, but just being festive. Without meaning to, I've been won over--but just a bit. Besides, heaps of people told me they thought I looked beautiful in my sari, so I am gratified and feeling generous.
And so, I found myself pulling off two contra dances and two waltzes in one of the world's most un-contradancable outfits, unwinding and flying away as I went, my earrings tangling in my necklace, but full of the joy of dancing and enjoying the surprise of each new neighbor's costume. I won't wish you a Happy Halloween, because I am still grumpy enough about all of it, but I can say: nice costumes everybody, and thanks for making the effort.