My favorite Halloween lasted a week. First of all, my Dutch friend was in town so I was able to enjoy pumpkin picking and all kinds of candy guilt-free. Secondly, we had to make the most of her first and only American Halloween so things may have gone a little crazy.
So we started in Washington, DC.
Traditionally, in DC, Halloween parties are the Saturday before the actual holiday. I believe this is so that no other city can steal their thunder. DC Halloween involves a lot of pub-crawling. In fact, Nightmare on M Street has expanded so much in the last few years that it covers most of downtown, DuPont, Georgetown, and everything in between. I think it’s even making it’s way up to U Street. For those of you who have no idea what that means, it will have to suffice to say that you can walk miles and hit one bazillion bars. All you need is a handy dandy wristband. Allegedly this wrist band gets you deals, but I think it just helps with crowd control. Of course you wouldn’t believe that because everywhere you go is PACKED. Be prepared for lines and standing shoulder to shoulder at even the lesser known places.
Also, be prepared to feast your eyes on a lot of young T and A. Not like, illegal young, but like, barely legal? There are zillions of college students, grad students, and “young professionals” in DC and this is their moment to shine. Or wh— it up. I confess, my friends and I have had our fair share of skimpy Halloween outfits, but don’t be surprised if you see more than one leaf-covered Eve or a girl who somehow managed to make the Mad Hatter slutty. Guys, on the other hand, will usually opt for a ‘hilarious’ costume. You’ll see a lot of sitcom characters or clever satire on current events. My favorite was a guy who handed out voided checks and his t-shirt just said “Bailout”. Yup, we are that nerdy.
We had a blast because we embraced the ridiculousness. We got dolled up and strut our fake eyelashes all over the place. I felt old until I drank enough and remembered that this American Halloween was what she wanted to see. We roamed, we shivered, we waited in line. It was a helluva good time and Uber got us home in one piece.
But Halloween had just begun. That year it landed on a Friday, so we had a full week of pumpkins and candies to go. And totally embracing a holiday for the sake of someone else (but really cuz it’s awesome) is a refreshing experience. We went to a corn maze, a hayride, the full nine yards.
Then, on Friday, we flew to New Orleans. Hells to the yeah. We got to the hotel and CULTURE SHOCK. Halloween in NOLA is so completely different than anything I had experienced before. First of all, yes people are throwing beads and doing shots and listening to jazz – that is everyday normal. But the entire (tourist section of) town is decorated in creepy spider webs, ghosts, and … just… creepy. It’s like Tim Burton took over a city. The Victorian houses emphasize the oldness and haunted feeling of the place, and there’s absolutely zero silly cartoon pumpkins or googly eyed monsters.
Halloween is serious in New Orleans. This is probably, in part, due to the heavy cultural influences that mix and mingle in this amazing American city. Imagine Dia de la Muerta skull masks and voodoo doctor jewelry and clown-demon clothes. That’s just decor. When we went out drinking, the costumes were astounding. We went as (non-slutty) vampires, pretty boring ones at that. We were under-dressed for the occasion.
Most important to Halloween costumes in NOLA is overall commitment. If you are dressed as David Bowie, you’d better have full lightening-bolt makeup on. If you’re a ghost, better have evidence of how you died, i.e. still wet stab wound with worms coming out. And people were not going for cute or sexy. People were going for creepy as f—. I’m talking Reagan masks. I’m talking dark, twisted, possessed rag-doll ballerina murderer outfits. I saw THREE women dressed as Uma Thruman’s character from Pulp Fiction when she’s DEAD for a few minutes. Blood coming out of her nose, looking like hell, all dirty and sad. Did I mention creepy enough? I am not sure I can emphasize creepy enough.
But like I said, people were dedicated. I saw some of the most amazing costumes I’ll ever see on that night. And I must say I enjoyed focusing the night on something other than being a sex object. People from all over the city were there to just do their thing, no matter their age or background. We had an amazing time meeting and talking to people, and even though it was a hearty crowd, we weren’t fighting for space or for a bathroom. And of course it’s cheaper than DC, though not by much. In hindsight, stumbling home on our own was probably an idiotic idea.
The best part was that the next morning everything was totally regular (crazy) NOLA again. It was 75 degrees and we thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Garden and Art Districts.
So, what’s the point? Just go live life and experience things and don’t worry about whether or not you’ll fit in or if it’s your style. Use whatever excuse you want, but let yourself indulge in ‘guilty’ pleasures. Go with the flow and see different perspectives. Respect differences and appreciate variety, all that good stuff. I mean, it’s life, HAVE FUN!
Probably won’t get laid, but at least he’s enjoying himself.