Halloween can mask unsavory characters

When we were 10 years old, our parents warned us not to eat opened candy, never to take treats from strangers and to stay with our friends at all time while trick-or-treating.

Also, growing up, Halloween was deemed one of the few days of the year when it was socially acceptable to be something we weren’t. We spent months conjuring up the perfect costume.

As college students, it doesn’t seem that very much has changed. People’s biggest concern of the night is personal safety, and everyone still looks forward to the opportunity to dress up. Although Halloween weekend is by no means the only night this is the case, it’s one of the few days of the year when the issues of dressing up and safety seem to overlap in a very distinct way.

When we’re wearing a costume, we are not uninhibited by our everyday attire. Often times, the way we portray ourselves and act is very different than we would any other night. When we dress up as someone, we also try to take on his or her persona to add to the effect. We search for the one distinct characteristic that will make it obvious who we are.

To some, a funny costume is crucial; people search for months to find the funniest idea. But many times, it has to offend in order to get a laugh out of people.

College students have been criticized for letting costumes go too far. Halloween ideas can perpetuate stereotypes that people work so hard to get away from… when they’re not dressing up as someone. People like to use Halloween to make a statement. But what we chose to dress up as and how we chose to do it says a lot about who we are.

It’s fun to dress up and be something different. It’s good to know that we still have our imaginations after all these years, but it’s what you chose to dress up as and how you chose to do it is important. Many girls take Halloween as the one day of the year where it is socially acceptable for women to run around campus in lingerie with wings or animal ears and call it a costume, but I promise we can do better. There are ways of putting together a hot costume that entails a few more articles of clothing (especially considering that Friday and Saturday night will be about 40 degrees.)

Safety is a big deal on our campus right now, and Halloween is not an exception. Halloween works in the favor of an attacker. They can go around campus in a mask keeping their identity a secret. Make sure you’re putting your safety first as you go from house party to apartment to bar, trick-or-treating for the college version of candy.

Be aware when someone offers you a drink. Obviously, this is not just a Halloween issue, but this weekend, many people experience new frat parties and house parties. Date rape drugs are more common than people are willing to accept. It’s really important to be aware of your surroundings when you’re going to a party with people you’ve never met before.

People justify their actions and make it excusable to act a certain way. The power of a mask is huge. The issue of safety has always been especially important on Halloween, but with the way the campus crime scene has been the past several months, we also have to be even more cautious.

Although we’re no longer kids, while getting ready for the weekend festivities we still can be excited for this traditional day of dress up and find costumes that are clever without offending. Take it upon yourselves to be aware of your personal safety, as well as the people around you.

Ashley is a senior in LAS.