“It’s red, satin, makes me look like a sausage and I’ll never wear it again,” I said about the dress I had to wear last year when I was in my best friend’s wedding party.
My gay friends inspected the dress, looked at me, then at each other, then back and me and in perfect sitcom unison they chimed, “Halloween!”
After that we were on some kind of costume designing runaway train that involved streaking mascara down my cheeks and getting a bottle of scotch and an up-do for an outfit dubbed “Always a Bridesmaid.”
Next to Pride, Halloween is pretty much the gayest day of the year. When else might a conservative schoolboy wear sparkles and glitter and be rewarded with miniature chocolate bars?
Girls can be cowboys or pirates or wrestlers and their parents and neighbours encourage them with rockets and caramels. Feminists can be drunken depressed bridesmaids and hang out with four different interpretations of Batman’s Robin. Halloween has been my favourite day of the year for as far back as I can remember.
Handing out candy over the past few years, I’ve noticed a steady decline in the fanfare of it all. Last year, a number of houses on my street didn’t open their doors and didn’t hand out candy which I’m sure was demoralizing for the queers, artists, and fashion designers of tomorrow. Shame on them and the flickering lights from their television sets. Their lack of pumpkin pizzazz was upsetting but I could at least tell myself that they were dullards with family values and SUVs.
It saddens me when queers don’t get into Halloween. It’s one thing to boycott —or simply avoid —mainstream holidays. I get that. Halloween is different. It doesn’t have the same baggage.
In fact, you could even argue that that’s partly why we should get into it more. Halloween, like the queer community, has somehow managed to anger most conservative religions to the core just by being what it is.
I’ll admit that carving a jack-o-lantern and buying bags of candy is a bit of a gamble. If no trick-or-treaters come, you’ll find yourself in that challenging predicament of having a battle of wills with a giant bowl of chocolate. But still. Who better to open the door for trick-or-treaters than a gorgeous drag queen in three-inch heels or a strapping butch in Charlie Chaplin garb?
While we’re piecing together our creative ensembles for the Oddball, or the Ghost Ship or a house party, all over the city there will be kids with glue, sequins, boas, felt and cardboard who might come looking for a community one day. We owe it to them to at least answer the door when they knock.