Dressing Dartmouth

by Abigail Medvin | 10/27/06 5:00am

Halloween is near and we all know what that means: girls in slutty costumes and dudes blacking out, so really nothing out of the ordinary around these parts. Which brings me to my next point: What the F is up with all the costumes? Halloween lasts 12 months a year on Webster Ave, where at any given moment you can spot someone sporting their best genuine rabbit-fur pimp hat, lime green unitard, pink tutu, coconut brassiere and other generally revealing or anachronistic attire, and you've been here so long that you don't even think its weird.

That's because here at the Big Green, we'll use any excuse (e.g. sunset) to throw a mask on our faces/true selves and embrace the liberation concurrent with the semi-anonymity of disguise. Because, let's face it, there are some things that you just feel more comfortable doing when you're wearing a giant foam ice cream cone. Like flirting with girls at rush, or flirting with boys at life. Or not. Either way, dressing up in costumes affords us the opportunity to escape the monotony of the everyday Dartmouth dress code (yes, even you who have so forcefully asserted your individuality in your North Face, Lacoste pullover, Sevens and New Balance sneakers, could use a little spice in life).

We all know that Hanover is mad boring, so I guess walking around looking like escaped mental patients is preferable to walking around looking like regular Dartmouth kids walk around looking. It's also nice to be able to whip out your sixth grade dance recital costume as a back up in case it's laundry day and your thirteen polo shirts of varying hues happen to be in the pile of dirty wash in the corner of your room that your roommates affectionately refer to as Mt. Smellena.

Another bright side of the art of disguise is that it gives you a chance to show off your creativity so people will think you are funny and will then want to make out with you. You get extra points if your costume references a clever pun on your name. But be aware: Originality is paramount. If your name is Abi, don't dress up as Abbey Road, cause it would have worked like a charm, but alas you're three years too late. Suckaaa.

So, it seems one really can't explain the whole costume thing from any sort of pragmatic perspective, as rigorous commercial trials have concluded that fishnet stockings do not in fact prevent hypothermia, togas actually make the wearer look less like a Roman god and no one actually got laid in the '80s, which is unsurprising considering what they used to wear -- there's really no logical evolutionary justification for why people would choose to emulate this dark period in our history.

Since I can't really spin our dress-up tendencies as a natural response to our primordial survival needs, I'm gonna chalk it up to the fact that (shocker) we're bored and that looking stupid can be funny.

In my opinion, the best costumes are the ones that are malleable enough to take on several stages of devolution occurring over the course of an evening. For example, my good buddy started out this past BG Te@ (best costume party in the history of ever) wearing a large salt shaker costume hot off the iparty shelf. As any non-rookie knows, you're starting at a disadvantage if your get-up came out of a plastic package, so the versatility of his garment was all the more impressive when 6 p.m. rolled by and my friend had magically morphed into an enormous condom. By 7:30 p.m., the condom had been removed and was now doubling as a blanket, while he snored gently in the corner of the hallway snug as a bug in a rug.

Speaking of rugs, no serious analysis of costumes would be complete without the requisite exploration of the widespread confusion of Halloween with National Dress-Like-a-Hoe-Bag-and-People-Won't-Judge-You-That-Harshly Day. If you're looking for a serious analysis of the subject, read the article that recently appeared in The New York Times (Rosenbloom, Oct. 19, 2006).

If you're not, continue reading. Despite the fact that Times author Stephanie Rosenbloom seems to think that slorey Halloween costumes are a recent trend, I'm pretty sure that they are a time-honored tradition -- here at Dartmouth and beyond. Even back in high school, Playboy bunnies and Hooters girls were pretty much the norm. In addition to the fact that my parents should have sent me to private school, this illustrates that the costumomenon is not merely a product of the embodiment of all evil and impropriety that is the Greek system.

So it seems I am fresh out of theories and your guess is as good as mine as to why people tend to dress up like idiots all the time and eleven dollar whores come All Hallow's Eve, but let me leave you with this: Halloween is fun, costumes are silly and people should do whatever they want. If you want to dress up like Kevin Federline, George Bush, Jenna Jamison, a keg, roadkill or an enormous banana, those are all okay by me. Just don't stare too much because you're jealous of my hot costume.