Since when did Halloween become so slutty? I don’t actually think it’s sexy at all. Blood and ghosts don’t get me off. It also feels like a lot of pressure to be creative and impressive when I’m kind of shy. How can I actually have a good time this year?
You’re right. Halloween is terrible. But why? I think it’s because I find authenticity deeply sexy. Vampires, ghosts and French maids have never done it for me either.
Plus, when did Halloween become a 10-day affair? In New York City, I’m pretty sure it started when everybody arrived for Comic-Con two weeks ago. Who has the budget for three weekends worth of costumes? I like dressing up, but I’d much prefer that every day was as liberated as Halloween, instead of a day that usually feels contrived and commercialized.
That being said, there is something seductive about a night when things get inverted: football players dress like cheerleaders, petite blondes dress as vampires, The Hefners dress as Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke, and Miley dresses like Lil Kim. Also, it’s the only holiday where we don’t have to eat dinner with our extended families, so that’s an opportunity for unconventional fun if I’ve ever seen one.
Acting in the theater all my life has taught me that there is most definitely something alluring about taking one part of yourself and blowing it up to its extreme. Whether that be scary, grotesque, campy or dangerous. “Life’s but a walking shadow,” as Macbeth said, “a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage / And then is heard no more.”
And people do show a lot of skin, so there’s that…
Perhaps what’s worthwhile about Halloween is that it’s one night of the year when we can ask ourselves who we’d like to be rather than pretending to be something that we’re not.
Here’s my advice to you, from one Halloween discontent to another:
1. Keep it simple.
There’s a reason a sheet with two holes never goes out of style. Best part is you won’t even have to say hi or bye to any of your friends.
2. But if simple’s not your thing, go all out.
Sometimes the way to get over something is to just embrace it full on. Go to a Haunted House. Observe Elvira’s cleavage at her Halloween show. Watch a very hot, young Sarah Jessica Parker cast spells on kids in Hocus Pocus.
3. Indulge your Fetishes.
I once knew two guys who fell in love with the same girl on the same night because she was dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Her name actually was Belle IRL and she had the bookish sexiness and brown hair to match it. The origins of desire in cartoons never ceases to amaze me. Mine that. We all identify with different sex symbols. Find yours. Own it. Buy a costume to match.
4. Get freaked out.
Being scared can be fun. I mean, if you sit in a room with somebody you’re crushing on and read “The Tell-Tale Heart” out loud, somebody is going to end up burying their head in somebody else’s shoulder. The line between fear and sex is a blurry one.
5. Use this as an excuse to go high fashion.
Goth is back. If I had my druthers I’d find every Alexander Mcqueen gown ever made, raise Richard Avedon from the dead and we’d trot off to take pictures at midnight in an abandoned Scottish castle. But, that’s just me.
6. Find yourself.
Do you secretly feel like a matador with a deathwish? Buy some high waisted pants and slick that hair back. Did you always want to be a cheerleader but never had the chance because you were a footballer? Now’s the time. The best actors reveal who they really are onstage through their characters rather than covering it up. Follow their lead.
7. Buy really great candy.
Fuck Snickers. We’re adults. Splurge.
8. Go as a pussycat.
It’s sort of peripherally sexy, mostly because of the wordplay involved. A cat is timeless. Classic. Full of internet viral potential. Plus, if you live in an urban area you already own the costume—just wear all black.
9. Cast a spell.
There is nothing more fun than feeling like you have power. Give it a shot. I know a few people who seduce people all the time by reading tarot cards. I can’t believe it works but apparently there’s something alluring about being given advice about your future by somebody who has no idea what she’s talking about. On second thought, of course I can believe that.
10. See a ghost.
I once saw a ghost in my apartment in Providence, Rhode Island on Halloween, and I’ve never been the same. I’ve also never had as much sex as I did in that apartment. The more you believe the dead are among us, the more alive you’ll feel.
11. Choose “Trick,” not “Treat.”
Remember mischief night in high school? There is a playful aspect to Halloween that should be embraced. On some level, everybody likes to cause a bit of trouble. Make Halloween the moment for all that toil and trouble to bubble to the surface and release itself for a hot second. Freak somebody out. See what happens.
12. Don’t be so American.
Halloween is a bizarrely American tradition, but the origins of Halloween lie with the Celts who believed that at this time of year the dead could walk amongst the living. Why not celebrate Mexican Day of the Dead instead? It’s a holiday where people gather to remember people who have passed on. Being sad is hot too.
13. Get out of town.
I know, this is my answer to everything, but seriously: I’m writing this column at midnight from a house in Nowhere, Maine where the only thing Halloween-y is this hundred year old portrait of my great grandfather staring down at me, the haunted woods and the faint sound of chainsaws in the distance drawing nearer and nearer.
Yes, dearest, something wicked this way comes.
But, to quote a Macbeth again (his wife this time) “screw your courage to the sticking-place, And we’ll not fail.” Maybe this year you’ll screw something besides your courage too.
Just the Tips is Playboy.com’s weekly advice column, with professional matchmaker Katherine Cooper. Have a question for Katherine about sex, love or dating? Shoot her a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.