A Halloween Horror Story: The Group Costume

Halloween in a simpler time.

Nothing stresses me out more than Halloween costumes. Not midterms, not straight men, not the impending Frankenstorm. Nothing.

I have to be both sexy and creative at the same time? Listen, I know I go to Brown, but I’m not that smart or savvy. I JUST WANT TO DRESS UP LIKE A COW LIKE I DID IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, OKAY!?! Or maybe a sexy Eskimo. It’s gonna be cold.

Now, even though most Brown students may pretend to adore Halloweekend, no matter how much you squeal about fishnets and hair pieces and clever women-in-binder costumes, I know you’re drowning in costume-induced anxiety. How do I know? Much like a school of fish or the majestic African impala, you find safety in numbers by rounding up your friends and going in a group costume. But I’m here to tell you: this is a mistake.

My beef with Halloween group costumes started when I was trick or treating with Janine, my best friend in 7th grade. We decided that we would go as the ugly stepsisters. I couldn’t have been more excited to be hideous. I put on a sack dress and ratted my hair, and took my very first eye pencil and drew in a mole, unibrow and mustache.

I arrived at Janine’s house, pillow case in hand, and rang the doorbell. A ballgown-clad beauty greeted me.

“Oh, I’m so sorry, Cara,” Janine gushed. “I decided to be Cinderella! I just couldn’t find any ugly clothes anywhere!”

Yeah, and white Disney ballgowns are in such abundant supply.

We traversed through the D.C. suburbs, stopping at every house. My fellow suburbanites gushed over Janine’s beauty as I grabbed handful after handful of candy so I could eat my feelings later. But the stark reality of our group costume debacle really hit me when we knocked on the door of Mrs. Slavova, a 85-year-old immigrant from Bulgaria.

At first she saw Janine. “You are too old to be treek or treating, Janine,” Mrs. Slavova said in a heavy accent. “You guys need boyfriends.”

Then I approached. “Oh,” Mrs. Slavova intoned. “Vell, now I see.”

Ever since then, I have always hated group costumes.

The problem with the group costume is that one member of the group always comes up with the idea and snatches the best costume. Piglet in the Winnie the Pooh clan? But who’s going to be stuck as Eeyore? Oh, that’s right, me. Spice Girls? Nobody wants to be Scary Spice!! Charlie’s Angels? I’ll be the one dressed as Bosley.

Or you’re stuck going with a costume at a level of smutty that is simply unacceptable. Consider my friends’ idea for sexy Halloween costumes this year: SWAT team S.E.X.Y.

In the words of one of my friends on our communal message board: “We can call ourselves the SS!”

Yeah, I didn’t get it either. Apparently, SWAT team S.E.X.Y. involves wearing as little clothing as possible. And hats that say SWAT on them. When there’s an abundance of ugly in a party, SWAT team S.E.X.Y. will bust down the doors and, like the beginning of a poorly acted porno (and let’s be real: they’re all badly acted), purr: “ We got an emergency call about a severe absence of… sex.” Then, the sexy SWAT team will make things more sexy by… what? Distributing free dildos? Giving out vouchers for free blow jobs?

And let’s be real: I am the least likely member of SWAT team S.E.X.Y. ever. The last time I tried to do something “spicy” (wearing a trenchcoat and nothing else to my boyfriend’s dorm room), I ended up huddled under a blanket attempting to warm up my lady bits with his suitemate’s blow dryer. Providence winters are brutal.

But I digress. At Brown, we pride ourselves on individualism. So be an individual! Come up with your own original, unique costume! We have a right to choose! We don’t have to surrender to peer pressure! Society is always trying to tell us how to behave. But break free, ladies: come up with your own unique slutty Halloween costume!

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