Halloween in the Netherlands is an excuse for teenagers and college students to dress up as slutty anythings or wear cat ears while consuming copious amounts of alcohol. Halloween in Los Angeles is an excuse for teenagers and college students to dress up as slutty anythings or wear cat ears whilst consuming copious amounts of alcohol, but it is also so much more than that.
And so, without further ado, I present to you the foreign student’s guide to having an unforgettable Halloween — though you might forget some parts, who am I to judge.
First, make sure to take your costume very seriously. Many people here put their sweat, blood and precious midterm study time into creating unique and inventive masterpieces to be worn only once. The scary costumes are legitimately scary and the funny costumes make me laugh out loud (do yourself a favor and google “hoverboard Aladdin”) — even the slutty anythings look convincing as hell. Group costumes are definitely a thing for both friend groups and families. If that is not enough, plenty of people have at least two costumes ready because everyone knows that wearing the same costume to different parties is social suicide.
Next, map out a strategic party route that minimizes the chances of being shut down early and left in the streets trying to assemble your drunk group of friends in search of another party. My roommates didn’t listen to me and went to the Row. Who had a terrible night? They did. Who had a great night? Me!
Third, if you are hosting a party, make sure there is candy. For American college students, Halloween is more than just getting drunk. Chances are, their parents dressed them up in adorable costumes when they were little and took them trick or treating. Now if there is anything Jimmy Kimmel has taught me, American kids are serious about their Halloween candy — and I definitely would not want to let that tradition go as I became older. Though, I have to say, I do not understand this obsession with candy corn. Seriously, why be satisfied with those weird little waxy cones that taste like nothing but sugar and butter when things like sour straws exist? Or those foamy jelly type things that look like real eyeballs? Ah, Americans.
I have been laughing so much at all the media paranoia about Halloween. My favorite story this year was that some parents were concerned that shady neighbors would give their kids ecstasy pills that look like candy. To me that seems highly unlikely, not just because that is evil and pointless but also because giving perfectly good drugs to children seems pretty damn wasteful (just kidding, mum and dad).
Finally, plan ahead to the next morning when you have to cure your hangover. I recommend Roscoe’s fried chicken and waffles with a side of aspirin.
This Halloween, I spent an entire day making a matching, wacky, waving, inflatable arm-flailing man costumes from laundry hampers with my friend and then spent all night feeling kind of ridiculous and wildly unattractive but also happy with the attention I was getting from intoxicated strangers. In fact, I was probably more popular than if I had just conformed to the gender norm and dressed as a slutty anything. I was definitely more popular than my normally dressed self.
That’s kind of depressing.
Almost as depressing as my shattered phone screen, which I don’t remember dropping.