Tuesday, October 25, 2011

#44 -- The 2011 Halloween Survival Guide

BY THE WAY: An updated version of this column, and all of our other reviews, can be found on our new official site: http://www.ghostlittle.com/ No ads, no Google bullshit, just content. [The 2011 Halloween Survival Guide]

". . .we've never seen a girl go as a sexy-marmot, but, c'mon, that's a total double-whammy. You'll be all, 'Nice marmot.' And she'll be all, 'I'm a sexy-marmot!' Allow it!"

Halloween is a special day that brings out a person's full potential. The competition is intense and you either step your game up or you die, probably in a gutter or in a vat of acid or crushed in a glass-recycling machine. Normally, people are complacent and restrained, uncreative and sleepwalking. Not on Halloween though! No, no, you party at a post-graduate level of child-like euphoria on Halloween. More universal and fuzzy than Mardi Gras, it's the Super Bowl of partying, and fuck you if you say anything about New Year's Eve! All you have to do is show up on New Year's -- it's an exhibition game. They let the pine-riding scrubs come out to play on New Year's. Most of those people will get cut from the party team before the regular season even starts.

No, you have no choice but to show up with your game face on for Halloween. There is no avoiding it. It's the holiday you can actually, truly, legitimately enjoy without suffering contempt for other people, family members, religions, or whatever (more on the religion thing later though). All you need is a decent quantum of liquor and a straight-bangin' costume. 

Halloween is time-compression. Halloween is being fired out of a nostalgia cannon into a frozen margarita and after you land and make yourself comfortable, you get to talk to Julius Caesar, Han Solo, a mermaid, Batman, a girl in a unitard, a mime, Troy Polamalu, Mia Wallace, and, let's say, a coked-out, pre-crisis George W. Bush. Were you ever twelve years old? Did you enjoy being twelve years old? Did you also enjoy college? How about adulthood? On Halloween, for one night only, all the things you that love are coming back for reunion concert. Abe Lincoln is still alive! So are all the members of The Beatles! And Dostoevsky is back and he's handing out apologies for being an old, hideous Russian fucker! And all this stuff is happening again all at once!

Again, all you need is tip-top costume. A good Halloween costume can be difficult to come by, and by all means, if you have a good one, go for it! Seriously, people love punny costumes and outfits that are jokes unto themselves. Simple shit like taping single-serving cereal boxes and paper knives to your shirt -- add some ketchup, and boom, you're a serial killer. That said, you can also have no fucking clue what to do, and that's where we come in. While kicking around ideas for Halloween costumes up in the third-floor conference room at What's That From Headquarters (WTFHQ), we realized that if you can't come up with anything right off the bat, you should begin your brainstorm with this one rule in mind:
"Will this costume help me survive the apocalypse?"
It's a pretty easy litmus test to keep in the back of your head as you pull your costume together. The facts are these: Halloween is a limited engagement. Halloween is a battlefield. You're going to be dealing with harsh environments, long walks, varying temperatures, October weather, drunk sluts, and combative cosplayers that think they suddenly can fight like Cloud Strife. Nice sword, buster.

On this night, it's the party at the end of the world. It's Escape From LA. Be like Snake Plissken. Be ready. You need to go into this night prepared for every contingency and you need your costume to be just as ready. Here's how you survive an apocalyptic Halloween like Kurt Russell himself:

First, you need to be able to maneuver. Like a ginned-up ninja. This means no bulky box-costumes. Avoid extraneous wings if you can and go easy on excessive streamers or unattached mummy-bandages. We had a friend in college that we were able to track across campus because he was molting toilet paper off of his costume. It wasn't even like The Last of the Mohicans, "The grass is bent, he slept here recently" bullshit -- it was, "Hey, look, a swath of destruction and Costco toilet paper. Yup, check it, he vomited here, the vodka's still cold." 

Two of our friends went as a mousetrap and a washing machine, respectively, a few years ago and they were fantastic costumes to be sure. But what if they'd gotten stuck in an elevator on the west side or wedged between two couples groping at each other on a couch at some party? Then where would they be? In an inadvertent five-way, that's where. Five-ways are only legal in Utah, which is ironically the only state that has outlawed Halloween. Therefore, rule one is maneuverability. If you're dressed as Deadmau5, it'll be hard to run, negotiate a crowd, or fight off a Level-5 Stagger-Bro that can deal poison AOE-damage and confusion if he breathes on you. Being able to dress up as Optimus Prime would be awesome, but wearing a cardboard box will do more harm than good, so if you can avoid it, be built to hustle.

If it were the apocalypse, you would want to be able to outrun the deluge of Portuguese Fuck-Demons (see fig. 1) that are set to be unleashed -- same goes for Halloween. 

(fig. 1)

Second, layer your costume. This means that you should try to incorporate a jacket or even a hat into your actual costume. Or gloves. Gloves help almost all Halloween costumes. They add something -- heat, mostly. And they make you feel like Jason Statham.

You're going to be facing all kinds of outdoor temperatures in late October. Conversely, you're also going to be indoors and getting into drunken dance-offs for a lot of it too. If you're a baller and don't mind the cold as much, you can deal with wearing long sleeves indoors and out, and that's fine, but don't take off the upper layer of your costume because it gets too hot at the party and all of a sudden, you're just a medieval knight with tin-foil sword and a t-shirt from your team-building retreat in 2003. You want the ability to put on and take off layers and still be in costume at all times. Be conscious, survival is priority one at the party at the end of the world.

Another thing, avoid having any accessories that you have to carry. Travel light and keep your hands free in case you need to engaging in fisticuffs with a Disney Princess-swarm or a tequila-soaked T-Rex. This means you don't want any armaments that you can't holster or strap to your shoulders. We're talking staffs, wands, guns, swords, guns that are also swords, pet birds, bows & arrows, hatchets, and buckets. Exception: canes. Canes are an exception because you don't actually hold them and you're going to need something to lean on. Guaranteed. Also, canes are fucking dapper as shit, which is a good veneer to fail over to if you're waffling on a costume. Jauntiness is next to godliness. Plus, if you're carrying a cane, it gives you a non-essential something to be stolen from you.

That's a good thing.

If your costume ends up destroyed by the end of the night, you're doing it right. Like a Delorian being hit by a train, your costume is an infernal contraption, and it must be destroyed as soon as you've gotten yourself safely back to 1985. For obvious reasons, you'd best not have any actual sentimental attachment to anything you're wearing. The apocalypse only lasts for one night, then it's back to reality (oh, there goes gravity). If something is lost or left behind, be glad -- yeah, that's right, you had a cane, but no big deal, some girl stole it back at the last party and said she'd track you down and club you to death with it at the second party. See, now you have an in with her! (Guys really need that ice-breaker, right? (Can we get a "Heey-Yo!" up in this business?) Men are awkward and simple, and the threat of violence is the only thing they can process cleanly.) Nevertheless, you want your costume to gradually dissolve. Nobody likes a drunk, fully-costumed lobster after midnight. You should be molting stuffing and eating your own claws by 9:30. Who gets more cred? Somebody riding the train on November 1st dressed like a ninja turtle, or a somebody wearing knee-high green socks, missing a shoe, carrying nunchucks, and fixing their orange headband?

Masterfully-executed segue to the drunken-hookup subject. It's true, more relationships being on Halloween than any other day (Source: years on this planet). Sure, those relationships usually don't make it to New Year's (We want to say something to New Year's, if we could. Hey, New Year's, go drink poison!!), but that's not for months, so what the shit do you care? It's Halloween and you're bringing your A-game. You're here for that girl. You know, that one over there. The one dressed like a rodent. Seriously, ladies, why such bizarre sexy-animals? Sexy-mouse? Sexy-cat? Sexy-butterfly? Sexy-marmot? Okay, we've never seen a girl go as a sexy-marmot, but, c'mon, that's a total double-whammy. You'll be all, "Nice marmot!" And she'll be all, "I'm a sexy-marmot." Allow it!

And don't try to subvert the stereotype. Please. Don't try to make a statement and go as a sexy-moray eel or some shit. This goes for guys and girls alike trying to create costumes that comment on the Halloween-industrial-complex. Would you fucking smile for once? Have some respect for the sanctity of this beloved American past-time built on sexual frustration, sugar, and libidinous manipulation.

In all honesty though, there is a lot of leeway in the Halloween gender-politics and it caters to almost every audience, prudes and man-whores alike. Want to hook up with some rando dressed like red riding hood? Do it. That girl is out there. Want to use Halloween as an excuse to build up the courage to finally talk to that boy you like, maybe get a little real, maybe get a little strange? Get after that. Sin your pants off. You can use Halloween's powers for good and for evil when it comes to this kind of shit. If it really were the end of the world, it'd be nice to have somebody to watch it blow up with. You can be a little different on October 31st.

However, you are NOT the person you are dressed as. You have not become that person. You have not become one of the guys in LMFAO if you picked-out your hair and slapped some fuck-ugly shades on your face. Don't sing along to the words in Party Rock Anthem -- those men are not singing and they are not saying words. And they are not men. But it is possible that they're the only people on earth able to compose the musical genre known as "Party Rock," and we really do not exaggerate on that. Oh, but back on topic, keep in mind that you have not inherited Thor's personality or lightning powers, should you wrap a towel around your shoulders, do some push-ups, and fashion a pretty sick Mjolnir replica out of a gallon-sized Poland Springs bottle, two shades of duct tape, and an old veal mallet. You have not become Barney Stinson because you've put on a suit and bleached you hair. 

You cannot become Don Draper

Put on the costume, smoke your cigarette if you must, and get on with your night.

In fact, the only costume that you can inherit abilities from is the plain-clothes + goatee version of yourself -- Mirror, Mirror-You only works at a party that's mostly your close friends, so use it sparingly. Once executed though, you are licensed to drop into character and act like a total fucking nut-sucker for once -- or, conversely, a decent human being. We're looking at you, Cabatingan! 
Next, have a few explanations for your costume. You don't want to tell somebody what you're dressed as, then have to go into an entire explanation about who Inspector Tequila is and how he once killed a dozen guys while holding a baby and fuck you for not knowing your Hong Kong cinema! No, you need an alternative. If anybody asks, you are not just Inspector Tequila, you're a Triad-head, a Chinese gangster, never mind the fact that Chow Yun Fat was a cop in Hard-Boiled, not a criminal. You're already right and they're wrong, so, whatever. Fuck 'em. If it takes too long to explain what a Triad is, just say you're an enraged clarinet player. All the best Inspector Tequila costumes include a clarinet, despite its violation of the no hand-held accessories rule. 

Unless you somehow strap a clarinet to your back. That will end up raising even more questions. And it will be uncomfortable to sit down.

Oh, also, wear good shoes. An accessory to the maneuverability clause. You might have to walk or dance a lot. You don't want to be stuck in heels or ski boots.

Ignore the "War on Halloween." There's a War on Halloween now? Jesus on ice-skates, you've got to be kidding us. Is it the pagan thing? It's the pagan thing, isn't it? Because of Halloween's pagan proximity, it's bad. Alright, then cancel Christmas -- yes, we are playing that card. It's an old card, it's dirty like thrice-used Sumatra grounds at a Seattle coffeehouse, and it smells like cat pee. We play it now. Cancel Christmas. Cancel that pagan December holiday that celebrates giving and familial happiness in the cold months. While you're at it, cancel the Fourth of July. The guys that founded America wanted this big damn country to be based on a complete governmental separation from the Christian church. What a bunch of enlightened agnostic dickfucks.

Finally, don't dress up as something offensive. Go as something offensive -- and clever! Don't go as Steve Job's ghost -- go as a bricked iPhone. Go as Siri (either have her queued up to answer questions, or be smart enough to come up with your own). Go as something offensive-adjacent. That way, you get the panache of being funny and current while not offending that dude or lady you're trying to bang.

Because debauchery and maliciousness is all that October 31st stands for, right?

And that's really all there is to it. Go forth and conquer! See you at Thanksgiving. 

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-- Doberman
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