What the Heck Happened to Halloween Costumes?

I remember Halloween when I was a kid.  I remember costumes that we threw together with thrift store items or bits and pieces left over from old costumes stored in a Rubbermaid box under the stairs.  I recall one year when my grandmother made me a costume of an angel and I believe my sister was a devil.

I was in the mall last year around Halloween and some company had rented out an empty space for the month of October and set up a Halloween store so The Boyfriend and I decided to peruse and see what was up.  They had some awesome makeup, props, and accessories but the thing I couldn’t believe was how much the costumes had become all about guys getting fun and creative costumes and girls getting costumes that showed the most amount of skin and really didn’t make any sense at all regarding the supposed “theme”.

For example, I give you the two wizard (read: Harry Potter rip-off) costumes I spotted.  As you can see, the male version is quite good.  It looks like the movies did.  The female version, however, is somewhat…off:

2011-10-18 20.27.31

Now I’m not a prude and I’m all for sexy costumes if someone desire to wear one, but I don’t understand why the guy gets to wear the actual GOOD looking costume and the woman is stuck either wearing the male version if she actually wants to look like the movie character, or she had to parade around with her ass cheeks hanging out in close to freezing weather.  It’s Canada up here, people…we used to have to wear costumes that would fit over snow suits.  It’s freaking cold on Halloween.

Another example we stumbled across was an M&M costume.  Yes…the candy that apparently will not melt in your hand (I still call shenanigans on this) somehow managed to be turned into a sexy costume.

2011-10-18 20.23.36

My problem with this?  IT’S NOT A FREAKING COSTUME!!  It’s a skin tight tank dress with a picture of an M&M on it.  It’s like when you were little and you’d get the cheap costume with a picture of superman on the smock and a cardboard picture of his face with a crappy elastic around your head and you’d have to pretend to be Superman looking like a weanie in a plastic blue smock and a mask that broke in five seconds.  And you don’t look like a weanie in this one…you look like a chick wearing a bar dress with a stupid picture of an M&M on it.  NOT a costume…dress with a picture of what your costume was supposed to be.  There is a difference.

Just to emphasize my point, I give you the following comparison.  Again, the guy’s costume actually LOOKS like what the character is supposed to be, and the chick is wearing a tiny, short dress with a picture of the desired character pasted on the front of it.

2011-10-18 20.29.512011-10-18 20.29.34

I am of the opinion that if you want to wear something “slutty” for Halloween, dress like something that is supposed to look that way.  I don’t understand taking the name of whatever you want to dress like, putting the word “sexy” in front of it, and then destroying what the concept of the costume was supposed to be in the first place.  For example, in the Batman universe, Harley Quinn (on of my favourite characters) is always sexy.  I’ve seen her in the jester costume and I’ve seen her in the awesome outfits she wore in Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City (Google searches for pictures here and here.  A “sexy” costume of her would make sense.  A sexy costume of Robin, The Boy Wonder?  That just doesn’t make any sense to me:

2011-10-18 20.29.112011-10-18 20.28.26

Heck, one of those even has a picture of Robin in the bottom corner and honestly, I don’t see his boobs popping out of the costume.

I don’t know…honestly I prefer to still make all of my costume with odds and ends from the thrift store.  I love picking through the racks and finding the perfect item to go with the concept and pulling it all together to take the wee tots trick or treating.  I still have a giant Rubbermaid bin of all the costumes I’ve had in the last ten years in the storage closet (much to The Boyfriend’s chagrin) just in case I need to use something from a past outfit and I love it.  I think it’s great to see people dressed up in original costumes or things they made themselves.  It seems like there’s so much more care and fun put into it.

I know it’s a month early and all but Trick or Treat everyone…hope you all have a great Halloween and get your hands on massive amounts of candy!!

Nausea Rules My Life No More!

I discovered something over the holidays, my friends, and I have to tell you, it’s something absolutely wonderful.  I can play first person shooters again.  I can run around in a virtual world and kill the enemy and not throw up all over the floor.  At least for a couple of hours anyway.  Let me explain.

A while ago, I posted about having Simulation Sickness, a condition where certain people cannot handle the visual graphics and movement of certain kinds of video games.  For me, it was most prominently first person shooters.  I LOVE first person shooters so you can imagine how this upset me.  I missed out on a tonne of triple A titles in the last eight years or so of my life when this little ailment started.

However, over these past Christmas holidays, I was invited by the awesome members and friends of The Games Day Podcast to a marathon gaming session that lasted from 11:00 am until about 2:00 am.  I was stoked because I hadn’t gamed like that since high school when I used to have all the guys over for hours and play the crap out of 007 Goldeneye for the 64.

I knew that first person shooters would definitely play a huge roll in the days events because they are awesome, but I knew there would be a plethora of games for me to play so I didn’t worry too much about it.  When we got there we checked out the demo for Just Cause 2 which was totally awesome.  I was happy because it was third person and the game play rocked.

We also checked out DJ Hero, which is a hell of a lot harder than it looks and despite my original thoughts on the concept, some of the mashups were actually pretty cool.

Eventually, I was drawn to the back room where some people were playing Call of Duty: Black Ops, specifically, the zombie mode.  I sat down and watched for a while before someone put the controller in my hand.  I stared at it for a few seconds before I started playing, expecting the well known hot flash followed by cold sweat and nausea.  However, a few rounds into playing, this hadn’t arrived.  I kept playing, learning the controls and getting used to the feel of it again as I wondered why I wasn’t getting sick.

Eventually I came to the conclusion that playing a first person shooter on an HD television did not cause the nausea I used to experience on an standard definition television.

As you can imagine, I was overjoyed.  This was pretty much the game I played for the entire rest of the day, switching out with the other players, learning how to best play the game and experiencing multiplayer online gaming for the first time.  Eventually, they filmed the last episode of the year, the topic being Game of the Year 2010.  I got to sit in the background and play COD: Black Ops while they filmed it, which was awesome.

Eventually, I played for too long and I did start to feel nauseous, but I didn’t let this discourage me.  Since then, I’ve purchased my own copy of the game and I have found that I can play for about two hours or so at a time before I need to turn the game off.  I’m freaking thrilled.  I have so many plans to play catch up with all the games I missed and to get in on massive online death match rounds.

So happy gaming to all of you out there in 2011…the year I didn’t throw up during a first person shooter!

A badly drawn representation of my joyful reaction to being able to play FPS again

Letter to Santa – The Finished Product

So today I wrote my letter to Santa Clause and will be sending it out in the mail tomorrow.  I chose a very lovely stationary with snowflakes and Christmas trees.  It ended up taking 3.5 pages but not because I’m greedy.  My handwriting is atrocious and very big, so it takes up a lot of room on unlined paper.  Below is a picture of the finished letter and a translation underneath so you can see what I wrote.

My very pretty letter to Santa

Dear Santa Claus,

I know that it’s been a while since I wrote you a letter, probably almost twenty years, but it’s never too late to catch up, right?
How are the reindeer? Are the elves surviving these hard, economic times?  I hope so, they always seemed like such a jolly lot.
Anyway, I don’t want to take up too much of your time, so here is the list of things I was kind of hoping to get for Christmas.

  1. A new boxspring for my bed. It was damaged in a freak accident and now my side of the bed dips. This makes for a most uncomfortable sleep at night.
  2. A pug named GIR so the Peep can have a friend and stop torturing the boyfriend on a daily basis.
  3. Fuzzy dice to hang from the rearview mirror in my car. Because Bob the Car is just that classy.
  4. A belted sweater for the boyfriend because I can’t find them anywhere. His favourite colour is orange.
  5. Another Snuggie. I know that I already have one, and I love the way it’s warmth and coziness invades me while it steals my soul, but I can get cold at work and would like to have one there as well.
  6. I’d really like someone to make a She-Ra movie. There are no good cartoons left in the world and that was one of the best and greatest roll models for girls and she was the best. Boys got a He-Man movie and I’m still waiting for my She-Ra film. I’m sure you have connections in Hollywood and can make this happen.
  7. By the way, since he doesn’t have opposable thumbs, Mr. Peep would like cat food that is easily opened so he doesn’t have to wait until the boyfriend and I get up to eat his tasty breakfast. Because, trust me, Mr. Peep is not impressed with his humans sleeping in.
  8. I know that this is a very nerd-like request, but please bring back Buffy and Firefly. Please????
  9. A new duvet would be lovely because the boyfriend stole mine two years ago and I haven’t been able to snuggle into it’s pillowy goodness ever since. I miss my duvet, Santa, a lot and I’d be very appreciative to have another one. We don’t share blankets very well, so no, that is not an option.
  10. Lastly, Santa, I would like a winter coat. I used to have several and somehow, they have all disappeared. It may be the boyfriend’s way of getting me to buy a new coat as the old ones were ten years old. I live in Southwestern Ontario. It’s freaking cold here and the moderately rated one I have isn’t really cutting it.

So, in closing, I would like to thank you for your time and tell you that its been wonderful writing you a letter again after so long. I hope your trip is good this year and Merry Christmas to you.

Thanks again,

Shannon.

Letter to Santa – A Prelude

This year, I was discussing with a friend about how much fun it used to be to write letters to Santa every year and get one back in the mail.  Then, at the very same time, we both stated out loud the address to which you sent them at the same time and laughed and I had a brilliant (if not somewhat childish) idea.  I’m going to write a letter to Santa Claus this year.  I may be 27 years old, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to partake in the fun and joy it always brought me as a kid to sit there and write that letter and then, like magic, get one back in the mail, written specifically to me, from the big man himself.

And so, I went to the craft store on my lunch break yesterday and got my hands on some very pretty stationary and I’m going to do it.  This weekend, I shall sit down and hand write a letter to Santa and mail it off on Monday.  Then, as I did when I was but a wee tot, I shall wait every day in eager anticipation for my return letter.   I will, of course, be sharing the entire journey with you all, from what my letter said to what I got in return, so you can eagerly await it as well.

If you are feeling a hankering for some good old fashioned child-like fun this Christmas, don’t hesitate.  In case you had forgotten, the address is as follows:

Santa Claus
North Pole
H0H 0H0
Canada

So go ahead and write a letter, ask about how the reindeer are doing and if the recession effected the number of elves he had in employment, I certainly intend to.  Maybe I’ll even leave some milk and cookies out this year.  Why should kids get all the fun and magic and leave the adults with the stress of shopping and decorating?  I say, “No More!” and I’m taking back my magical Christmas.  I fully encourage you all to do the same.

For further, more official information on the subject, visit the Canada Post website.

Small Town Halloween

I have very fond memories of Trick or Treating in the little town I grew up in.  It was small (less than 1000 people when I was a kid) and for a really small child, it was great because you felt safe and it was fun and when you got to be older, it was awesome because you could hit almost every house in town and end up with two pillow cases full of candy by the end of the night.  It was great to show up at everyone’s door, have a small chat about this and that, and then head to the next house.  The parents who take their kids out go in groups and chat, dress up and have a great time while monitoring their youngsters.  Everyone is polite and compliment the kids’ costumes and I always felt overall that it was a great place to celebrate Halloween as a child.

When I moved to the city, I tried to become one of those awesome people handing out candy that made my childhood so great.  It never seemed to work out as well.  I have noticed a few things about Halloween in the city (and remember, I did not grow up here at all, and am probably biased).  For one thing, there are WAY less kids trick or treating in the city.  I think the most I have ever had come to the door was about fifteen and I was always left sad at the end of the night because no one came to my house for candy.  I asked around and this is a common occurrence.  At my mother’s house back home, she had 250 + kids come to the door last year.  This is a significant difference.

I also find that the kids are less polite here.  I don’t know why, some of them seem really great and their parents are nice but some of them come to the door in half ass costumes and don’t even say thank you.  After the first time this happened, I adopted a personal rule: If I can make the effort to dress up to hand out the candy, people aren’t getting said candy unless they’re nice and they made a decent effort in dressing up.  Show up at my house dressed as a “rapper” or a “hipster” (basically wearing street clothes) and you get no candy.  These are the rules.

Anyway, on we go to the point of this post (I know, it took a LONG damn time to get here, sorry about that, folks). I was hanging out with some

An awesome little costume, before we covered it up with a winter coat.

friends at work on break when one of them mentioned that her daughter was six years old and had never had a decent Halloween experience because trick or treating in the city kind of sucked.  Everything was far apart, you didn’t get much candy and it just didn’t feel very much like Halloween.  DING!!!  Lightbulb over the head kind of moment.  I immediately spoke up and volunteered to take her and her daughter (and another friend and her daughter, who unfortunately got sick and couldn’t come) back to my hometown and let them trick or treat there.  So Sunday rolled around and I got dressed up as a witch of sorts, all excited and eager to go home again for Halloween and I picked them up, driving the forty or so minutes to my home town.  Her little girl was dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast and she looked freaking adorable.

We arrived at my parents’ house and were pleased to find special made candy bags for her little girl and the other one who fell ill (thanks Mom, you rock) and a bowl of assorted candy on the table that said, “Help yourselves”…which we did.  We headed out into the town and I was thrilled to find that her daughter was immediately commenting on how much fun it was and that she was having a great time.  I was having a blast.  It was like flashback central.  I chatted with parents who had their kids out, got candy from my relatives’ houses and admired all the decorations and effort that some people put into making the night that much better for everyone.

Some people had entire scenes built in their front yards complete with fog, lasers, spooky music (or in the case of one house, endless remixes of Michael Jackson’s Thriller), and tonnes of different decorations.

This house had everything: lasers, fog, awesome decorations and endless remixes of Thriller

My awesome cousin, who got into the spirit and painted herself totally green with Acrylic paint.

I loved the atmosphere of everything, but it was definitely freaking cold.  I was silly and didn’t have any mittens or a coat or anything.  Darn the fact that my mother wasn’t home when we left so she could tell me I was being stupid and give me a pair of mittens and a sweater at least.  You’ll notice to the right that my cousin was smarter than me and had a coat and mittens on and still looked awesome.  This is required for Halloween in Canada.  Costumes designed to fit over snowsuits are a way of life up here.  I had forgotten that little tidbit in the 13 or so years since I had gone trick or treating for myself.

I will say that I had a great time and I loved seeing my friends daughter have such a good time and

Perfect, no sugar, no cream...just epic coffee goodness as it was intended to be. I was so warm after that and we were able to trick or treat for another forty minutes.

ask if we could return for trick or treating next year.  However, I must mention the best part of my night.  Actually, there were two.  We stopped at one older woman’s house and she was absolutely sweet as sugar and she gave “Belle” her candy and then looked at me and said, “Aren’t you going to come get your candy too?”  She thought I was a kid!!!  It made my night, I felt way younger than my 27 years of age.  I thanked her and told her that it was alright and I was old enough to buy my own.  The second favourite thing for me that night was stopping at the local volunteer fire department where my father is the chief.  They were handing out candy to the kids and I got my favourite treat of the night: coffee.  Yes, that’s right…I trick or treated for coffee and it was wonderful.