Erin Sellers

Halloween costumes can be an escape from the cultural norms that confine us, letting us be someone else for the night. 

This weekend marked the first of two unofficial "Halloweekends." As groups of students flocked to off-campus parties, or hung out at campus sponsored events, it was clear to me that Halloween brings with it an electric energy to Gonzaga, one that feels almost like how I felt about dressing up for Halloween as a kid.

For us adults (or almost-adults as I like to think of myself), there are very few opportunities to play dress up, to find the happiness and mystery that lies in pretending to be someone else for a night. 

I remember sitting in front of the bathroom mirror as my mom twisted pipe cleaners and plastic snakes into my hair, prepping the Medusa costume I was sure would win me first prize at the Candy Carnival the town always hosted for students. I felt that same sheer excitement again as I browsed local thrift stores for Halloween costumes with my girlfriends.

While some might scoff at the sexy White Claws, sexy Hydroflasks and sexy angels and devils walking up Hamilton Street for Halloweekend No. 1, I find the opportunity to play dress up and to play it in a way that makes me feel confident and excited to be a freeing one. 

While there will always be themed campus dances and off- campus parties throughout the year where we can engage in the fun of playing dress up it’s never on as grand of a scale as Halloween, a holiday it seems the whole campus is celebrating.

When I dress up, I love that I won’t have to worry so much about being judged, whether I choose to wear my super comfortable Stitch onesie, my inflatable dinosaur suit or my short-skirted Wednesday Addams costume. 

As a student, sometimes I feel trapped by expectations of what I’m supposed to be. We all know the ideal Zag as someone who is involved in lots of extracurriculars, goes to the basketball games, has a thriving social life and still manages to get great grades at the end of the day. But on Halloween, we can all be escapists in our own way. We get to be someone else for a night, or a weekend, or two weekends, for those hardcore Halloween fans. 

I also find that as a woman, there has always been a lot of pressure to dress and look a certain way: pretty and appealing, but always classy. But on Halloween, these rules seem to disappear. 

Women can wear their sexy Winnie the Pooh costumes and feel great in their own skin without having to worry about how society is going to interpret their choice of clothes and treat them. 

Men can also feel free to dress in sexy Halloween costumes. I’ve seen shirtless Dalmations, Playboy bunnies, firefighters and cops without being judged for their unbridled joy and excitement. 

Of course, no one should feel pressured to dress any way or show any skin if that doesn’t feel freeing and fun to them. Giraffe onesies can be just as fun as that French maid dress you saw at the Value Village. But I find the magic of Halloween is in the freedom: the freedom to be someone else, anyone else, of your choosing, the freedom to play dress up like when we were kids, sans judgment and the freedom to have a good time with good friends.

Erin Sellers is a staff writer.

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