Halloween Hair: Creepy, Classy or Cool?
Donna Kim-Brand

Did you know that Halloween is the number 1, favorite adult party holiday in the United States? Yes, I said ADULT! What’s going on here? It could very well be delayed maturity kicking in, for sure, but there could actually be something else going on too. And I don’t just mean living vicariously by how we dress our little munchkins as we trot them around the neighborhood begging for candies.

And that is, Halloween allows us to BE and ACT like someone or something we don’t normally…our latent fantasies emerge in our choice of character, our repressed emotions reveal themselves in our costumes and we take on behaviors beneath masks and outfits we wouldn’t dare in everyday life.

What’s more, Halloween gives us an excuse to exercise our imaginations in a boldness that seems like overkill in our day to day existence. Between the hair, makeup, outfits and accessories, we can take on a whole range of characters; the creepy, the classy and the cool.

The usual suspects for Halloween creepiness are always a big hit: witches, mummies, zombies, bats, skeletons, vampires, werewolves, ghosts and other creatures that go bump in the night. We all love Elvira, Vampy Horror Hostess with her bouffant poof of layered jet black hair held off her face by a headband to reveal deep, dark cat yes, blood red lipstick and black fingernails. She swirls about audaciously in a sheath of flowing black. Imagine what you could get away with in a get-up like that!

Super-size teased or frizzy hair which is home to bird nests and spiders (a la Edward Scissorhands or Helena Bonhome Carter’s maniacs ), or braided hairdos wrapped using wire or pipe cleaners and covered by slinky snakes as Medusa all convey the creep factor. Add dabs of white face paint, fake scars and bloodshot eyes to raggy-baggy clothes and the look is complete.

For more scary looks as zombies, mummies or bats, use tight silvery headpieces, gauze over matted down hair or hairbands with ears to set the tone. Over-the-top makeup and appropriate outfits complete the look.

Classy shows up in several ways, set off by the hair style. You can go classic 40’s style with a highly defined Rhett Butler hairline for a male look and flowing yet sculptured curls for the female look. Or skip back to the Roaring 20’s and take on a Flapper look with jeweled headband across your forehead while your tresses are either clipped into a gamine bob or flowing down your back. Modern day classiness can be expressed by tightly trimmed tresses and slim dresses a la Alicia Keyes, or flowing locks on flowing garb over natural curves  a la J Lo or Beyonce. Makeup tends to be more subtle, not part of the costume per se, yet sufficient to get noticed.

Classy costumes also show up when you dress as classy characters- Henry Higgens with cane and top-hat squiring Eliza Dolittle with an upswept hairdo and wide-brimmed hat,  Tinkerbell – a fairy with French bun and sparkles of fairy-dust in her hair, or even a prim Harry Potter in 3 piece suit and cape, sporting bold round glasses and slicked back hair. Princes and princesses always make an appearance, often based on latest crazes. Blond Elsa from Frozen is likely to be big this year, while old favorites, satin draped Aladdin and Jasmine with her long black swathe of ponytail sectioned off every few inches are playfully classy. Toy soldiers from The Nutcracker could fit here too, with hair pulled tightly back to hold the hat on and show off your red cheeks while your hands are cradling your rifle. You might get less scrutiny this way by the doormen than dressed as Rambo with knives and guns. Betty Boop with her curly-kew bob, polka dots and lashes big enough to cause a tidal wave just might fit into the classy category too as she was such a ‘little lady’….or maybe just a big tease!

Cool has a wide range of possibilities for Halloween hair. Go gaga, Lady Gaga that is, by sporting long hanging hair draped by a (hopefully fake) slab of steak on top. Add fishnets, tight clothes, platform shoes and voila! Or choose to be movie star cool, like portraying blue Avatar-like characters, spikey-haired Miley Cyrus,  Super heroes of all types, or even reprise those retro-cool Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I guess green slicked back hair or a tightly tied bandana over your eyes would work to imitate a turtle head!

Embody musical cool by sporting a Pharrell Williams hat on your updo, and acting Happy all night, or mythological characters like Bacchus with purple grapes and shatterproof acrylic wine glasses intertwined in your hair, or even make pop-art pieces like Lichtenstein’s come to life with red-polka dots all over your face, shocking yellow hair held with a headband and simple outfits in primary colors.

Nowadays you can buy wigs, costumes and outlandish makeup at party stores or specialty Halloween shops that appear and disappear as soon as you say Boo! Or, use what you have around the house. The key is to dress so you will be safe in your expected environment, as well as comfortable.

Remember also, that Halloween is a great opportunity to re-enliven your spirit of fun, boldness and wild imagination that was probably more evident in your youth. Philosophers tell us we become what we think about, and dress like…so go for it! Live the dream, whether it’s creepy, classy or cool!

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