I love Halloween. It’s hands-down my favorite holiday. For the last few years, I’ve gotten into the habit of getting into the spooky spirit well in advance. Like, two months ahead. I do this because I feel like Halloween always comes and goes so quickly, before I can truly appreciate the holiday. Like those who wait for Christmas year-round, I anxiously anticipate Halloween’s arrival with an open heart and stomach, ready for junk food and other crap I reserve only for October months.
However, for someone who loves Halloween as much as I do, it’s surprising how little effort I’ve put into my costumes. Every year it’s the same song and dance: I always say I’m going to go all out for a costume, that I’ll actually put in the time and energy to blow everyone away with a phenomenally original ensemble. Yes, this year is going to be different, I told myself as I do every year.
And again, like the year before, that didn’t happen. And I’m now forced to come up with something half-assed that I put together the night before.
It doesn’t help that it took me and my boyfriend weeks to figure out what we wanted to go as. Last year, we both dressed up individually, with no connection between our garbs. That’s why I was so adamant that we’d have a shared costume that was perfectly paired. But in deciding what our costume should be, I remembered why we didn’t coordinate last year: We have different taste in just about everything — music, movies, style, among many other things. So everything I suggested (which was mostly costumes based on my favorite operas), he vetoed. And vice versa. Eventually, after weeks of back-and-forth banter, we made the executive decision: We’re going as Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love.
We made the decision Saturday. That gave us two days to plan and purchase our costumes.
We dedicated Sunday morning to costume shopping. As a big Nirvana and Hole fan, and by proxy an even bigger Kurt and Courtney fan, I knew this was something that wouldn’t require much work, but would still satisfy my need to not compromise my taste. I knew exactly what would work and what wouldn’t. And I, for one, already wear similar clothing to what Cobain wore in his prime: oversized t-shirts, fitted jeans, distressed sneakers, tattered hair. All I needed was a pair of big red sunglasses and a blond wig. How hard could that be?
Apparently, very. As Matthew and I wandered down Hollywood Boulevard, amid the plethora of pop-up Halloween stores and wig shops, my goal was to find the perfect Kurt Cobain wig. The sunglasses were a luxury item, something I’d be shocked to find in any store I wandered into. But the wig was a necessity. And I found it! At Hollywood Wigs on Hollywood Boulevard. I asked for the price and was told it was $80.
We kept looking. Eventually, I could feel what felt like hours of searching wearing down my body. But then I checked my watch and realized we’d only been looking for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, Matthew had already found the items to perfect his ensemble. I, however, still trudged my feet as if walking through molasses to find any semblance of Kurt Cobain. But in trying to find a piece for my costume, I realized that the reason finding a costume is so hard for me is that I don’t like dressing up. And maybe that’s why I could never make it as a performer: I didn’t like changing who I was.
I’m content with who I am, and dressing up like someone else makes me feel as if I’m trying too hard, or as if I’m covering up my imperfections. And for that matter, Cobain would probably hate the fact that people were dressing up as him for this holiday. In fact, I’m probably doing a disservice to his heritage by paying homage to him in such a droll manner. So I decided the less work I put into it, the more I’d preserve his legacy.
I’ll just keep telling myself that.
In the end, I bought a mop head which I plan to drape over my hair. It makes me look like Raggedy Andy, but somehow I think it’s the most fitting and accurate portrayal of Cobain. In turn, I applaud Matthew for going as Courtney Love. It wasn’t a hard decision to decide who was going as whom; it was pretty much decided that I would go as Cobain and he as Love. When Matthew picked out the black mini dress, disheveled blonde wig and red lipstick that Love made her signature, I knew there’d be no way I could upstage him, which seems representative of Cobain and Love’s relationship in general.
Even though some may question whether or not I put any effort into my costume, I feel content in my decision to downplay the importance of dressing up. I don’t think it’s a middle finger to others who put time and effort into the perfect getup — but it isn’t a thumbs up either. Maybe this will be the beginning of my new Halloween tradition: not giving a f-ck.
Arya Roshanian is a “senior” majoring in music. His column, “From The Top,” runs Tuesdays.