The Evolution of My Halloween Costumes
More than Christmas and my own birthday, Halloween is my favorite yearly celebration. When I was a kid, Halloween wasn’t a big thing in the Philippines. I remember dressing as Batgirl and my sister, Superwoman, when we were kids in 1990. We attended someone’s birthday that happened to fall on October 31, but we were the only ones dressed in costume. The other kids looked at us like we were crazy. Trick or treating was such a foreign idea, especially in Cavite City where we lived.
When it hit mainstream in my college years, I began exploring the city for Halloween parties. I’ve gone from Malate to house parties at World Trade Center to small parties out of town. I had my days of buying tiaras and wings from SM Department Store, thinking I was so creative until I entered Big Fish events and spotted dozens of other winged fairies who bought everything last-minute from SM Department Store.
I had my kinareer days where I purchased yards of cloths and embellishments and enlisted the services of the neighborhood mananahi (seamstress), so that she could make me something different from the sea of sexy devils I know I’d encounter in every Halloween party.
I had last-minute parties where I grabbed whatever I could from my mother’s box of costumes just so I could get in the “No costume, no entry” bars. I remember when my friends and I tried to convince the bouncer that wearing a hat or cat ears with our regular clothes counted as a costume. When I became a beauty editor, I started experimenting with more ghoulish looks.
When my budget was depleted, I learned to creatively put together whatever I could find in my closet—outdated clothes, animal ears from last year’s party, weird outfits I never used, and old accessories from my college days. As my friend Char once said, “There’s always something for Halloween deep in your closet. Just look.”
Another old friend once joked, “It’s not a Halloween costume if you have to explain what it is!” to which I added, “It’s worse if they don’t get it even after you’ve explained it.”
My favorite costume is Princess Merida back in 2013. I was struggling with clinical depression, had gained weight, and had just marked the first year since the death of a loved one. I was getting irked at people’s unsolicited advice to “Be brave,” so I took it literally and dressed as the girl from Pixar’s Brave.
That’s the thing about Halloween. No matter how ostentatious or cliché a person’s costume is—sexy devil, slutty nurse, slutty anything, or obscure character from a fictional book—there’s always a story behind it.
What will you come as this year? Me, I’m going to do what I once told myself to never do—dress as a character from a ’90s movie that needs to be explained before you get it.