One of my most favourite times of the year is approaching soon, in just one week from today it will of course be Hallowe’en, and one of the reasons it is so is because is it’s a fantastic excuse to dress up, have some fun, a lot of fun actually, but it’s the creation of a costume that I adore the most. With the exception of my very first Hallowe’en, at age five, all my costume’s have been home made, with the occasional store bought items that I either didn’t have the time or the skill to make myself. Hand made is always the best option when making your costume for several reasons, if you’re going to a party you’re less likely to show up wearing the same costume as someone else, it shows you to be creative, thoughtful, industrious and have perseverance, which come to think of it, are great qualities that job recruiters look for. Perhaps we should add photo’s of our costumes with our CV’s? So, yes I do take costuming somewhat seriously, (however I have nowhere near the dedication, skill or talent of costuming artists), and store bought seems cheap and lazy and then there’s the ignorant, sexist, and racist factor of most store bought costumes. Last year I visited a temporary store that was selling costumes and other Hallowe’en paraphernalia in the hope of finding some small props to bring with me on holiday but what I got was feeling of disgust and I left without purchasing a single item. For women there were choices of the usual vampires, fairy tale and historical characters, all of course re-imagined as sexy, and by the way sexy is apparently a very short skirt, dress, oh and low cut. Even the Doctor’s and Nurses costumes were sexist and seemed like they’d been in storage since 1960.
Then there was this.
It’s not the fringed shirt that is the problem here, it’s the headdress, this is a very significant cultural symbol of many First Nations’s people. The one that is usually appropriated are those worn by the Plains nation, traditionally worn by men, (hence the outcry of making the headdress a fashion item). From what I know, the eagle feathers are presented as symbols of honour and respect and have to be earned, and I feel the fake, cheap feathers sold as a costume are a secondary insult, as well as wearing one by a non-native is simply perpetuating a stereotype. Of course they’re will be those who won’t see any problem with the above, and I can’t help but imagine them dressing up for Hallowe’en in a cheap, fake headdresses, having blackened their “white” faces and wearing sexy Holocaust style “pajamas.” Now, having done with that rant, allow me to show you some photo’s of costuming done correctly.*
It doesn’t have to spectacular, or on an expert level, just put some thought into it, you’ll be surprised as to what you can come up with. *I have more examples but the photo’s belong to others and I won’t post them without their consent. Apologies for the poor quality of the photo’s, the store didn’t like you taking pictures of their goods, so I had to be a bit sneaky.