Halloween Do’s and Don’t’s

Hello, Faithful Readers, and Happy Anniversary! Yes, it’s been a full year of advice from Gothic Charm School — it didn’t seem that long, did it? In amongst the questions that Faithful Readers sent in, there were also various missives from people asking, “what gives you the right to tell people how to dress and behave?!” To which the Lady of the Manners responds: She’s not telling anyone in a dictatorial fashion. Everything has been advice, which means people are free to ignore it completely. For those out there who have felt slighted by the Lady of the Manners’ disdain for face-covering elaborate eyeliner and plastic capes, oh well. Rest assured that she would never run up to you and tell you that you look silly. That would be rude and unkind.

Anyway, it’s October, and we all know what October means for goths, right? ALL THE STORES ARE STOCKING HALLOWEEN THINGS!!

Oh goodness. Sorry about the all-caps and shouting there, but you have to understand that the Lady of the Manners loveslovesLOVES this time of year. The weather starts being nice to those who have a lot of velvet in their wardrobes, the leaves turn colours, and in just about every store you go into, there is some sort of goodie targeted at the Halloween-happy goth. So, in honour of this wonderful holiday, Gothic Charm School has prepared a whole column dedicated to the Do’s and Don’t’s of Halloween.

* DO take advantage of the fact that this is the one time of the year you will be able to stock up on 99-cent fishnet tights, cheap black lipstick and nailpolish, and black candles.

* DON’T decide that you should substitute “clown white” greasepaint for your regular makeup. Even if it’s on sale for dirt cheap.

* DO carve Jack O’Lanterns. Lots of them. Host a pumpkin carving party, if you have the space.

* DON’T go around knocking off other people’s pumpkins from their porches or doorsteps.
* DO attend any special events your local goth club may throw in honor of the holiday. If they aren’t doing any, offer to help plan one.

* DON’T complain that “nothing ever happens around here” or “there isn’t anything to do if you’re under 21”. If there really IS nothing to do, start planning something. Even a group of friends watching silly, spooky movies is better than moping in your room, bewailing your angst-filled existence.

* DO take younger siblings, cousins, or nieces and nephews out trick-or-treating, if asked. (Heck, volunteer to do it!) It’s a nice thing to do, most trick-or-treating activities end at 9:30 (which will give you plenty of time to go find your own gothy fun), and there is always the chance that you will get sugary treats along with the kiddies. (The Lady of the Manners is a BIG advocate of sugary treats.)

* DON’T make jokes about poisoning candy, putting razor blades into fruit, or kidnapping little kids. It can be a scary place out in the real world, and (most) parents are already a little unnerved by People In Black. Don’t add to it.

* For that matter, DON’T perform any malicious or mean-spirited ‘tricks’. TP-ing someone’s house or soaping their car is fine, property damage or harassment is not.

* DO take the increased amount of “It’s not Halloween YET” comments in stride.

* DON’T snarl something like, “Then why do you look like that, asshole?” or any other antagonistic comments. Remember, most of the rest of the world does not understand the “every day is Halloween” aesthetic.

* DO feel free to buy whatever silly Halloween-themed toy strikes your fancy, if you can afford it.

* DON’T be soooooooo caught up in your own gothic attitude that you can’t laugh at yourself, and admit that you want the blinky, light-up skeleton lights.

* DO have a sense of humor about the fact that relatives or co-workers might announce to you that they are planning to dress up like you for Halloween.

* DON’T loan them your clothes, unless you really, REALLY trust them, and are confident that they will take good care of them.

* DO try to find someplace unusual to go for Halloween festivities.

* DON’T go hang out in the local graveyard. Yes, it’s spooky and goth, but lots and lots of normal people will have the same idea, and the police will be out in force dealing with trespassers. The Lady of the Manners is assuming you DON’T want to spend Halloween night in jail.

* And on that sort of note, DON’T do anything involving ritual sacrifice of any living creature, okay? The Lady of theManners is sure that none of you would do that sort of thing anyway, but you never know who reads these things. So she wants to be very, very clear on this topic. No sacrificing kitties or goats or anything else, right? Right.

* DO check out the local thrift stores; many of them save their more . . . unusual clothing items year-round, to sell at Halloween for costumes.

* DON’T buy the mass-produced “Queen of the Night”, “Dracula”, or other goth-themed costumes and try and wear them as regular club-going clothing. Beside the fact that they look obviously costume-y and cheap, they’re usually badly made and will fall apart in a shockingly short amount of time.

And finally . . .

* DO use Halloween as an excuse to dress up even more elaborately than you might usually do.

* DON’T dress up like The Crow and go out to the local goth club. Yes, it’s Halloween, but friends STILL don’t let friends dress like The Crow.

On that note, the Lady of the Manners is off to the store to buy more plastic light-up pumpkins. Come back next month, and send your etiquette questions to headmistress@gothic-charm-school.com!

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