Halloween costumes: An all-around waste of money

Oct. 31 reminds me of the saying, ""you have to pay your dues.""


Until Halloween ends, I cannot watch ""A Christmas Story,"" put up an Advent calendar, or cover my house in Christmas decorations. It's a shame to have to wait 11 months every year for the holiday season, but it's even worse to endure the pressures of and societal obsession over Halloween before Christmas preparation is permitted. 

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Halloween is fun and simple for little kids and grown adults. Trick-or-treating is an exciting tradition, even though it has been corrupted by the occasional poisoned-candy scare. Parents like observing creative costumes as well as passing out treats to cheerful kids.


Anyone outside of these two age groups doesn't have it so easy on Halloween, especially young adults and college students who often plan out their costumes months in advance, even though the outfit can only really be worn on Halloween.


Nj.com, an online New Jersey based news source, just published a guest column about fun and frugal Halloween costumes in the Web site's business news section. Guest columnist Julia Scott began her article as such, ""Big dilemma. What should I dress up as for Halloween without going broke for a costume I will wear for approximately 139 minutes?"" Why would this be a big dilemma in the first place, and why are cheap Halloween costumes worth writing about in a section that covers local and international economic news and market and financial reports?


In my world, no one would dress up for Halloween at all, much less dwell over finding a reasonably priced costume to don for one day in an entire year. As if we don't waste enough money on our own vices, there are more important things to spend money on, such as groceries, car payments, gas, rent, electricity bills, etc.


Some may try to validate an expensive Halloween costume purchase by mulling over its mileage. ""Well, I can always wear it next year,"" someone may say, but in many cases, he or she won't follow through with this idea. If the buyer hasn't changed in size in a year's time, he or she may want to dress up as something else, and this leads to more spending on frivolous Halloween outfits.


For something that will probably only be worn once or maybe twice, Halloween costumes are wasteful extravagances. It's even more costly to buy a timely costume. For example, the ""Twilight"" series has seen increasing popularity in the past year, so any ""Twilight""-esque costumes may be more expensive than the generic angels or devils. Costumediscounters.com advertizes two ""300"" inspired costumes, one of which is listed at $43.97, which is the discounted price. Amazon.com now sells a Michael Jackson Thriller suit costume for $54.95. With possible shipping fees and possibly needing to buy more accessories for the outfits, I'm wondering if this kind of purchase is even remotely justifiable.


There's something to be said about the thrill of dressing up, that's why we have themed parties in college. Most freshmen will experience or hear about an ""Anything but Clothes"" party. My dorm roommate draped herself in caution tape for this exact gathering, and she saved a lot more money on this costume than on her Halloween costume. The caution tape dress wasn't any more revealing than most scandalous Halloween costumes, it just fit very tightly over her skin.


Undergarment parties are also fun and inexpensive because everyone has underwear, and it doesn't even have to be inappropriate. I went to one of these parties in shorts and a tank top, and no one scolded me for not walking around in a thong like some of the other ladies present. Anyone who forcefully tells you to dress down is not worth associating with in the first place.


Though I'm opposed to the superfluity of dressing up for Halloween, I understand that some people thoroughly enjoy this kind of activity. I'd still advise these folks not to spend a lot of or any money on costumes. It's possible to be resourceful and still enjoy costume parties. So far, I'm looking forward to attending Gentle Ben's Halloween party. With my brown belt, blue jeans, checkered top, and authentic cowboy hat from my wannabe cowboy ex-boyfriend, I'm showing up as a ""C-list"" cowgirl. I won't win any costume contests, but I'll still enjoy the party. Best of all, I can spend as much as I want on drinks because I won't have purchased a pricey costume.



Laura Donovan is the opinions editor. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu




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