Ah, it’s almost Halloween. One of the best times of the year. Well, it’s one of my favorites at least, but I can’t help but feel that the overall experience has been a little lackluster for the better part of the past decade or so. Now, I’m generally not one to wistfully yearn for those “back in the day” moments because, frankly, back in the day sucked for a whole lot of people.
But the vague “back in the day” Halloween was far superior to current trends when it comes to the horror aspect. The costumes, the candy, the movies, the parties, it was all just very different. The lack of quality horror movies is a constant lament, but truly scary costumes have also all but disappeared. And it’s not just adult Halloween we’re looking at here, either. Grade schools hosted Halloween parties and the choice of costume was generally open to the imagination. If you wanted to be a rotting corpse, you could. If you wanted to dress up as a slain prom queen, more power to you. There was little that was considered “too much” but as time progressed, so did the standards in acceptable costume attire. I’m not talking about costumes that dance all over the boundaries of cultural appropriation, those costumes deserve to be left by the wayside and then some. No, I’m talking about optimizing the scare factor.
Regarding the costumes from back in the day, a lot of them were downright horrifying. Don’t believe me? Check out some old Mickey Mouse costumes on Google from the 50s and 60s and please accept my apologies in advance for the nightmare fuel they possess. Here’s a sneak peek of what you might find:
Sure, kids nowadays are still doing the Disney thing and seemingly better than ever, as I’d be hard-pressed to go a year and not see a dozen or so Disney characters parading around the neighborhood for candy. There was one year when literally every other kid who came to my doorstep was dressed up as Elsa from Frozen or some other supporting character from the movie. And that’s great, don’t get me wrong, kids having some innocent fun is always a good thing.
But the thing is, Disney costumes of the past were downright terrifying, even when they weren’t trying to be. Maybe it was because most costumes back then were either cheaply or crudely made, and by today’s standards, it looks like something straight out of a horror film. After you take a look at those nightmare-inducing Mickey Mouse costumes, look up the antagonist from the 2013 horror film called Torment and tell me you don’t see a striking resemblance.
This lackadaisical approach at Halloween scares isn’t contained just to Disney… costumes as a whole just don’t have the eerie ghoulishness they used to have. And I, for one, think that’s a shame.
The creepy A+ boo element doesn’t end with the costumes though. As you may or not be aware, before carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns, the thing to carve was turnips. Yep. Turnips. If you’ve never seen a Halloween turnip before, your first instinct may be to laugh. I mean a turnip, right? I hate to send you to Google Images twice, but it’s worth looking up I’ll just say that. Oh, what the hell, I’ll include some here just to do my part in giving you a little jump scare.
Like I mentioned at the beginning, I’m not too big on reminiscing on the old days but when it comes to Halloween, it’s an enjoyable walk down horror lane and I terrifyingly love it.
From a UK perspective I wish Halloween didn’t exist. I turn the lights off and pretend not to be in.
Oh no! Why? I know here in the US, it has become very commercialized.
Same thing here.
I have never been engaged by horror, maybe there was too much ugliness inside my house on a daily basis? I avoid horror films, books, etc. and would celebrate a decline in scary costumes if I were to notice the trend you are pointing out. My happy memories of Halloween were of the fact that, once in the year, I would have enough candy to actually get to eat some before it was taken away as “not good for you”, to be eaten instead by my mother.
I’m so sorry for your experience and memories. No child should live like that.
Once I was out from home, I enjoyed the frivolity of Halloween, in recent years have helped friends hand out candy to as many as 1000 kids passing through their neighborhood. I Iive too rural to get trick or treaters here.
Now those are some proper Halloween “costumes”!