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"Shorts, Outtakes and Rants"

Most weeks I write a column for my paper; occasionally my daughter writes one. Usually they're focused at local issues, but every now and then I come up with one that I think Spearfish Lake Tales readers would find interesting, so I post them on the Spearfish Lake Tales Message Board. Since I've been neglecting "Shorts, Outtakes and Rants" recently, I decided to repost a few of them here, like this one. I hope you enjoy it! -- Wes

Costume Fun

October 23, 2015

It's getting to be the time of year for ghosties and ghoulies and long-legged beasties, of trick or treating, candy, and costumes. It's also the time for parties and fun, and not all of it is for kids -- there are adult-themed Halloween parties out there, and the sheer joy of dressing up in outlandish costumes is part of the fun.

As adults we don't often get the chance to dress up in something off the wall just for the sheer fun ot it. Unless you are into some special activity, there's only Halloween out there to take advantage of.

Now, there are other activities -- various conventions of like-minded people who enjoy what they call "cosplay," dressing up like Japanese cartoon characters or zombies, or a lot of different things. Some people will travel across the country to take advantage of such events, and the costumes -- well, outlandish is a word that can be used, and daring is another one. If you are going to Miami or Los Angeles for a convention, or "con," at least the neighbors aren't going to notice if you dress up like a superheroine from a Japanese cartoon, in an outfit where a high percentage is pure skin.

And then there are the renaissance faire people, and there are at least a few of them in this neck of the woods. Heck, I used to hang around renaissance faires a little, and there were some pretty off-the-wall outfits to be seen. Bear in mind that, at least for women, a renaissance fair costume will involve a promiently worn corset. Even though hemlines are usually barely high enough to keep from dragging the ground, some of the costumes can still be pretty daring.

I've got to go to a renaissance faire again sometime. It's been several years and I miss them. But, I digress.

I went out for breakfast on Sunday to the place I usually go on weekends. Things weren't real busy -- I guess I hit them in the seams -- and one of the waitresses said that she hoped the Halloween costume she had ordered made got here in time for the party she planned to go to.

"That's cheating," I said. "You're supposed to make your own costume, or at least assemble it yourself. That shows creativity. When you order something online, all you're doing is excercising your credit card."

"Yeah, but . . ." she temporized. "This one is pretty special."

She didn't say how special it was, leaving me to believe that if she wore in in the wrong part of some larger cities she might be subject to arrest, and yes, you can read into that statement what you will. I have a feeling that I would like to go to that party -- or at least would have liked to go to it when I was younger and more capable of withstanding all the alcohol in the witch's brew that passes as punch. Oh, well, that's just another downside of getting older -- I just don't have the energy to have fun like that any longer.

For most of us, though, Halloween is still for kids, rather than adults. However, my dictum applies: building a costume involves creativity, while buying one just exercises your credit card.

I have really enjoyed the downtown trick or treating we have had here in town for the last several years. I see some real creative costumes on kids. Granted, a lot of costumes are store-bought, or involve store-bought items, but I always appreciate the off-the-wall designs that show some thought. On Saturday morning last year we had something over eight hundred kids wandering around downtown, going through candy like a swarm of sugar-crazed locusts. In this day and age a lot of the magic and fun has gone out of our holidays, but there's still some left for Halloween. Don't let the squares and the naysayers take it away from us --- life is dull enough as it is.

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