When we put on costumes at Halloween, we dress up as unusual sorts of people; they are not at all randomly selected from real folks, or even from fictional characters. Instead, we prefer to dress up as people
cute costume, dad
The most unusual costume I saw on any of the kidlets that came to my door on Halloween this year was one I initially thought was "Mario", of the Super Mario Bros. series of Nintendo games. It entailed some sort of red-hued coverall-type shirt, a hat, and a painted-on mustache. But on closer examination I saw that this kid (a boy of maybe nine years old) had a logo on his shirt reading "Santa Clara University Facilities". My guess is that maybe one of his parents worked in facilities at SCU and he was dressing that way to emulate them, because otherwise I don't know where a kid of about 9 would get such an idea.
It seems like a "this character isn't me", or "this character doesn't have to live by the same rules I do" would be enough to make a character engaging enough to be a good costume, which leaves a pretty wide range of possibilities.
(I've almost always dressed as some sort of visual pun when I've done anything for Halloween. I'm not sure what that says about me, except that I like to be recognized as clever but usually think it would be socially undesirable to show off. Probably the same impulse as the pretty girls in sexy costumes.)
Which is why we dress up as zombies and serial killers?
Having actually been to the southern hemisphere, I can tell you that very little of it has the sort of seasonal climate that the northern hemisphere does. Plenty of places there, most of the big cities of the place, in fact, have static climates that don't change much throughout the year.
Your theory about winter entails the testable prediction than in the southern hemisphere, where the "winter" months are more like out summer, girls should dress more modestly for Halloween.
I had a thought about "More Meta Than Thou". Robin is dressed up in ancient Roman garb, perhaps because we associate thee and thou talk with them, But they spoke latin rather than English, so they wouldn't have said either word. Rather, we associate ancient Rome with Renaissance English theatre because the classics were of great importance to them and our knowledge of the classics is filtered through that time.
And what is the significance of MEAU?
It wouldn't be appealing to dress up in costumes if there wasn't something engaging or admirable about the characters we portray.
I just added my costume to the post.
Indeed! I wonder what the kids wanted to dress as instead.
i'm going to put on the costume of someone who really likes this post. excellent post!
Since when do people avoid regimentation and structure? Maybe teenagers do, but adults seek it at all costs. Security is our ultimate dream. Listening to bloggers sometimes, you'd think that people would be celebrating layoffs, not fearing them. You'd think they would love being dumped/divorced. We want to FEEL like we have interesting lives, not actually live them.
Every year, socially frustrated bloggers completely miss the whole point of Halloween, because they're not who the ritual is meant for. Halloween is cheap, tawdry escapism, and that's it. Those of us who actually have meaningful, interesting lives look at all these people having fun and get jealous. I have no idea why they don't just put on a damn costume and get out there and have fun.
The rules for who and what you dress up as don't matter nearly as much as how well you pull it off. People can pull off network administrator, so long as it's a FUN network administrator. Maybe be the one that went postal and shot up his workplace. He could walk around carrying a big red stapler and a plastic shotgun.
That's just for dudes, anyway. Girls use Halloween as their last chance for dressing up slutty before they gotta put up the dresses and skirts for the winter.
You're telling me that Halloween is about who we idolize? Gimme a break! Who idolizes sexy cat?
That was my immediate thought.
Try dressing up as an accountant. Nobody will know you're taking part in Halloween!
I had a friend who decided to be a lawyer for Halloween. (The outfit included a suit, tie, and briefcase.)
The same year, I was a "professional psychic (a.k.a. rip-off artist)."
The last time I wore a costume, I was a Prinny.
My guess: a machine emulation of Robin Hanson (in a rented body).
Many years ago, we dressed up our son as an IRS agent (in a suit, and carrying a suitcase in which to collect candy) along with a large-print tax return on a clipboard, listing deductions with big stamps over them that said "Denied." When people opened the door, he announced "Tax or treat!" It was a huge hit. Some people even gave him money.