I was asked today about what i thought was a good kids Halloween costume- and first I wanted to address fundamentally what Halloween IS and what it is NOT- especially when it applies to children.
What is Halloween? Traditionally, when i think of Halloween, try keep in mind this is a pagan holiday in its roots and it is a very mischievous holiday. We don't chant the words "TRICK OR TREAT" because we want candy- it is a barter. It means i am a GHOUL coming to your door- you give me an offering and i will spare you... if you do not agree then may God have mercy on your soul. During the 80s, when i was a kid this was a VERY serous holiday- earlier in the night was for the kids but around 9pm the big kids (teenagers) were ALL OVER the place egging houses, shaving cream everywhere, toilet paper blowing through the trees. THIS was mischief! I COULD NOT WAIT to be a big kid! I NEVER forget, my Mother would let me bring ONE egg to carry all night and at the end of the night i could hurl it like the big kids. My Mom believed in fairness- so she let me do so i could have my own mischief night (and i think she enjoyed it as well). At the time i remember how heavy that egg was, how much it weighed me down and when it was my chance to throw it- i threw it as far as i could and it probably landed maybe less than 6 feet in front of me on the sidewalk. Although my full intention was to splatter this egg on the sidewalk- i remember being disappointed at how heavy and hard it was to throw but satisfied by the splatter it made. For adults who dont have the time nor thought of halloween to buy a 99 cent bag of candy for the kids is not only wrong, it is foul. They deserve some 80s retribution. God only knows now in the police state 2011, some 14 year old kid who TP'ed a tree would sitting in jail next to another kid that stabbed a guy. You might be kind of shocked at the idea of the entire neighborhood of teenagers going ape shit throwing eggs and smashing pumpkins- but let me tell you from my memory it was naturally accepted and the next day people knew what to expect. You just hose off the mess and move on with November 1st, no complaints or harm done- possibly they did worse when they were younger. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
These are your typical kids costumes i found on google images. (boys costumes,all girls costumes are princesses etc)
I would like to make the point that dressing up is fun! Halloween is the time you get to put together an awesome costume and dress up! and YES being your character from your favorite movie is fun too- but lets remember what Halloween is! You are a ghoul terrorizing the neighborhood this night- not a walking commercial!! This picture seen above- NOTHING is scary! the only thing evil is Dr Doom and perhaps a pirate! A pirate is an oldschool Halloween costume and was a cool one- (remember there were no blockbuster movies about pirates until 2003 or whatever.)
So here is the problem, what do children do if they want to be a scary character from a movie but have no clue what the movie even is? We cant necessarily have a 5 year old watch a Friday the 13th movie... and it would be more for the parents amusement and the neighbors commentary on parenthood if we dressed up baby Justina like a favorite woman character from a horror movie:
Steven king's "Carrie" (awesome movie- not an awesome kids costume)
Horror movies have lent us classic evil characters of literature. They extend beyond the pagan ritual of monsters and ghouls- because they redefined fictional personifications of evil that contemporary society can admire. Freddy Krueger was a child molester that killed children with knives on his gloved fingers- he was tried in court but got off on a technicality. Then he was burned alive by mob rule. He captures kid's souls and tortures them hilariously and creatively in their sleep. He is an antagonist we all love to hate. Optimus Prime is NOT a Halloween costume. Some costumes can have a novelty that is too irresistible to say no to.- such as being a Ghostbuster. Why not? He is not evil but he busts ghosts; and ghosts are part of Halloween. Why bust ghosts? Because bustin makes you feel good!
I dont know why today's kids costumes have been emasculated. I was once scolded by a child that claimed "HALLOWEENS NOT SPOSED TO BE SCAARREEEEEYYY!!" and I say shut up little girl, you have no idea what youre little mouth is talking about. Furthermore, Halloween doesn't have to be expensive! Most of the cheap Chinese costumes that come in a bag were once someones idea they wore and it really went over well- then years later it trickled down to somebody who mass produced it and threw it in a bag for $39. Creating your own costume is fun and original! I think you can at the very least take a cheapo costume from the Halloween store and add to it. Take a basic inmate uniform... big fucking deal. But add a bald cap and weathered angry looking make up and you have Shocker!
But back to children. I dont expect children to know who the crypt keeper or Jason Vorhees is- but there are classic Universal monsters that ANY KID can watch and be for Halloween! Wolfman, Dracula, Frankenstein, invisible man, Dr Jekyl/ Mr Hyde, wife of Frankenstein, creature of the black lagoon, The Mummy, Phantom of the opera ETC ETC ETC All these classics are not only fun to watch- but perfectly acceptable for Halloween costumes!
The whole gang is here!
Back to my point, when thinking of Halloween- its whatever you want to do with it. I am a firm believer that scarey is FUN and it is the only time you get to do it. Dress up parties on new years or during the year are cool BUT it is no place for Leatherface- so take advantage of halloween's nature. Here is a list of classic- VERY EASY costume ideas that involve little more than facepaint or a mask and some accessories:. Werewolf, Vampire, Ghost, Mummy, Devil, Zombie, Monster, witch and my favorite- a Skeleton (throw a top hat on it!). For girls they can be a bride of Frankenstein's monster, a witch, black cat, evil jackolantern (weak!) Evil queen AND OR all the things i mentioned a guy can be!! Isnt that cool?
SO good luck, have fun and remember the essence of halloween!!! Dont make the mistake of boring your kids to a gruesome death!
VS. scary! (mildly)