Halloween has always been a bit of a paradoxical holiday for me. On one hand, I love all things ridiculous and historic and that involve costumes of any kind. I also love candy. But on the other hand, it can easily become one of those holidays rife with anticipation that goes sour. Yes, like those patch kids. When I was young, I would look forward to the day just like any other pre-teen. And because I lived in a suburb and had a magician of a seamstressing mom, I rocked around town with decadent Glinda the Good Witch or Jem and the Holograms attire. I know my best friend in middle school and I continued trick-or-treating until the year some idiot high school rabble rousers thought it funny to throw eggs at us. Apparently my hometown was more fierce than I thought. Then there was a gap in high school when you probably had to dress slutty to be apart of it all, and I just hadn't achieved that sort of confidence yet. And so the years went by. Being a theatre dork in college furthered the tradition with group theme costumes and then I moved on to New York where ostentatious apparel doesn't raise an eyebrow no matter what day of the year.
Finally, I came to Paris and after three years of living here, I finally decided to engage in Halloween abroad. It is absolutely not as big of an event in France. The younger generations are embracing it more and more, and if I were to go out and about on the 31st, I would certainly see various spooky figures scattered around the arrondissements. But I have learned that for the most part, the French assume that you are supposed to wear scary costumes only, and until recently costumes were hard to come by on the cheap. So it was no surprise when I decided to throw a bit of a to-do and found out that I had to pressure people with my charmingly aggressive flare to get with the program.
As mentioned in past, I sometimes organize a British Meetup group that I began attending about two or so years ago. This was the first time that I decided to push a theme, though the idea had dangled itself over my mind grapes in past. (Weird.) But because Halloween lands on a French long weekend this year and several regulars were to be out of town, I decided to plan the event on the usual mid-week festivities this past Wednesday eve. I did my best to provide a few decorations, lots of candy, and I even made up a Halloween quiz with accompanying prize. Little did I know that the bar was going to give us an entire private area for our 30-50 guests, otherwise I absolutely would have bedecked the scene with far more than a few plastic pumpkins. Live and learn.
While most people couldn't be prevailed upon to get together a real costume, several people at least had masks or a funny hat, and a few came through with a certified ensemble. I tried to let it be known that in the States at least, costumes need not be frightening or grim, they can be slutty or ridiculous, funny or just weird. I myself chose from among many pre-existing options in my closet and decided to feed my obsession for the 1920s and finally become a flapper. And let's be real, I looked absolutely radiant. As I wandered through the crowd, drinking aperol spritzes, handing out candy, and at some point standing on a chair to read the answers to the quiz, I found myself back in my natural habitat: costumes, ridiculousness, and center of attention. Hopefully I convinced my european compatriots that Halloween is meant to be embraced because being ridiculous is always meant to be embraced. Happy Halloween to all.