What Halloween Actually Teaches Us

Halloween was this past weekend. What was your 2015 Halloween experience like?

I understand Halloween is not a big celebration here in Australia; however, I haven’t let go of every American tradition out of my life yet – I was eager to let go of the food coma-inducing Thanksgiving tradition, yet even in that I missed the family gathering Thanksgiving brings. Halloween permits individuals to become another being or person for an entire day and tap into their creative juices to create that character forming a preparation process. This preparation process can take months to get right. Side note: every year, I’ll think of a genius idea for a Halloween costume in March, but I won’t write it down. Then by September I struggle to remember what that genius idea was, and I’ll end up putting together a boring idea last minute. But I digress.

Have you ever noticed what exactly goes into your costume decision? It’s very similar to what artists face everyday in their business. Let’s break down the basic steps taken in putting together a Halloween costume.

Step one: deciding what or who you are going to be for Halloween. This step can be the hardest because the options are limitless. You can be anther person, an object, a cartoon character, and animal or even an idea. Some individuals might become overwhelmed in the decision process – they decide to take the easy way out and buy a pre-made costume from a local shop or online store. That’s perfectly fine, but does it always look like the model on the front of the packaging? Probably not, but hopefully close to it. For those who like a bit more fun and desire a challenge, making a costume is the only way to guarantee an amazing Halloween experience.

Step two is listing all the materials needed to complete your costume. Materials not only consist of clothing, but also accessories (like wigs, jewellery, props, etc.) and makeup. A sketch or picture from a book or online can be a useful resource in helping you put the right pieces together. You’ll need to consider functionality of costume – specifically how will it move, how the weather might affect the materials, level of difficulty in putting on or taking off the costume. A list is another handy resource to create in order to complete step three.

Speaking of, step three is shopping. Ladies (and some men), this is your category! Shopping is when you go out to collect all the elements you need to complete your look. Consignment shops are great! They often have cheap materials, an array of looks and pieces; hell, it’s your one-stop-shop for all you need for Halloween!

 My boring Halloween choice. Lost my brilliant idea again!

My boring Halloween choice. Lost my brilliant idea again!

Step four is trial and error. This is the step that allows you to try on the costume to see how complete the look is to your original idea. It’s very common to have to revisit step three – the shopping – to gather more materials. Best part about step 4 is the preview: show it off to yourself or maybe invite your closest friends and family for their feedback.

Finally, step five comes on Halloween: putting the look together for it world premiere. Excitement unfurls – your idea is genius, everyone is going to love it! Or are they going to hate it? Wait…what? I didn’t think of the consequences to my costume. And just like that, when you are about to go out that door into the world…panic sets in: the fear that your costume is going to be judged by others. You begin asking yourself: what if your costume is missing an element? What if someone else has your same idea and does it better? What if the costume falls apart in the middle of celebrations? AHHHH!!!!!!

Okay, I’m being a bit dramatic. But can you see how much fun and laborious creativity can be? Halloween represents a small fraction of what artists go through on a daily basis. The creative process is never easy, and putting your work out for others to witness and judge is anxiety-ridden. But for an artist, creativity is like breathing. The act of expressing oneself through the creation of an idea that was once in your head, inspired from your imagination, and transforming it into reality is enthralling, even necessary.

There are a lot of steps throughout the creative process; each one equally as important as the next. And the creative process can be long. But the rewards are priceless – for one person to acknowledge the hard work put into a costume is worth more than the 1,000 dislikes on Facebook.

If Australia doesn’t want to jump onto the American, commercialised bandwagon that is Halloween, can we consider renaming the day in honour of artists? Maybe call it Hello Creativity Day! What do you say? Who’s with me!