Halloween: Find Your Secret Awesomeness

Halloween masks

Be careful. Halloween costume selection is as important at twenty or thirty as it was at seven.  Plan carefully. Tonight you will be immortalized in a hundred photographs, irretrievably posted by your friends and coworkers.

First, aim not to offend.  Ask yourself: will this be racist in twenty years? Not everyone who donned a little black face for their fraternity party back in 1920 was a segregationist xenophobe, but you don’t ever want to be on the wrong side of black face. Remember all Disney characters are racist, sexist, and possibly satanic.

Next accept the universal truth: if you dress as an industrial accident victim (lightning-strike survivor, amputee et. al) you will end up cornered by the punch bowl with the only real industrial accident victim you will ever meet in your entire life. He will tell you the whole story. You deserve this. Listen attentively and then leave the party when he goes to the bathroom.

Additionally, resist sluttiness. It’s tempting. That cavernous Halloween store that appears overnight in an abandoned strip mall and disappears the day after Halloween – no returns allowed! – is full of slutty outfits. Slutty nurse. Slutty nun. Slutty vampire. You look at them and think, “I’m sexy.” You are. Because of your mind.  Nothing that comes in a bag attached to a plastic coat hanger will improve upon that.

However, if you do opt for slutty, build the outfit out of clothing you already own. Be ready for the question: where did you get that?

“Oh, these purple vinyl, thigh-high boots? Can’t remember. Just hand ‘em laying around.”

Now you may think toys are a safe Halloween option, but toys, as reflections of our society, encompass an array of social pitfalls. Avoid Barbie (sexist), Bratz (slutty), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (imperialist),  Cabbage Patch Dolls (socialist), Care Bears (too reliant on pharmaceutical antidepressants), and dolls that pee (just weird).

Cute and cuddly things (kittens, puppies, bunnies of the non-slutty variety etc.) may seem like a safe choice, but you must consider your dignity. Do not dress as a fluffy bunny, if you have the power to fire people at work.

Never dress as an infant.

As you can clearly see from this helpful guide there are four obvious go-to Halloween costumes:

  • A squid
  • A square block of Legos
  • Any variety of office supply
  • George Washington

But you want more out of Halloween, you say. You want the magic you remember…being seven, racing masked through the darkness, slinging a bag of candy that was, to you at that age, more valuable than cocaine and similar in physiological effect.

If that is the case, look for your secret awesomeness. You cannot buy it in a bag. It does not come in a kit with stick-on eyelashes. It’s in the back of your closet, in an old high school photo, in that thing your hair does in the morning. It’s there, this fabulous trait, this alter ego, this outfit the shape of your soul.

It is a wedding dress filled with LED lights. It is a cowboy belt caked with real mud. It is your mother’s prom dress. It is a pair of wings made of dripping spruce branches adorned with a glitter of tiny rhinestones. Embrace it — this miracle, this monster, this beautiful maiden — because this is who you are.


For Halloween, Karelia will be going as a superhero of her own creation: Professor Awesome.  You can catch her reading from her latest book at

Another Read Through Bookstore (Nov. 16 1:30)

Jones Night Club (Nov. 20th, 7 PM)

Powell’s in Beaverton (Nov. 25th 7 PM)

or at kareliastetzwaters.com

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