Every year when October rolls around, I find myself pondering the same question: “What should I be for Halloween?”
In recent years, there’s been a second question: “Should I wear lolita fashion?”
For me, this is a hard decision. On the one hand, I love wearing lolita fashion. It brightens up any day, and fills my heart with sparkles and happiness. On the other hand, Halloween is a time for costumes. Lolita fashion is not a costume. Additionally, I think of Halloween as a time to be something unusual, unique, and absolutely out of the ordinary. For me, lolita fashion is none of those things.
When I wear lolita fashion, strangers are constantly asking what my costume is or who I am trying to be. They see something they don’t recognize and presume that it must be a costume–that I am trying to be something else. There’s no way that they can be expected to know that I’m trying to be myself. When I respond that I’m not dressed up as anything, this is just the way I like to dress, there’s a lot of resistance. Some people absolutely refuse to believe me; others nod as though they understand completely, despite their bewildered expressions.
Since I spend so much time championing the “lolita is not a costume” assertion, why would I want to wear lolita fashion during Halloween–a time known for costumes? Simply because I enjoy wearing the style so much. Despite this, I worry about reinforcing lolita fashion as a costume…by wearing it as a costume. Even if I know that I’m wearing lolita fashion simply because I can, doing so at a time when I’ll be less-questioned because costumes are expected makes it seem to be a costume.
This is counter-productive to my actual intent. I even avoid wearing lolita fashion the week immediately after Halloween (and sometimes even the second week), specifically to avoid jeering passers-by yelling, “Halloween is over!” (Often with more distasteful terms added on.)
Yet, when I’m pressed to choose a costume I often assemble something from my lolita fashion wardrobe. This is not because I’m feeling particularly hypocritical around the Halloween holiday, but instead because I want to avoid spending money on a Halloween costume. I cannot sew and do not have other garments at my disposable to fashion into a costume. When I’m pressed to need a costume for some event, I will rifle through my frilly dresses and lavish accessories, and cobble something somewhat passable together. “Princess” is always a very easy one, although I don’t own a crown or tiara. “Alice in Wonderland” was simple before I parted with my solid blue dress. “Little Bo Peep” would be instant if I had a stuffed sheep. (And, really, I’m the only one who notices that kind of thing. People suspect I’m dressed as the wayward sheep-herder no matter which dress I choose and despite being sans sheep.)
I’d rather be something more interesting, but I find that most commercial costumes are low-quality, and most high-quality costumes are very pricey. I don’t want to spend so much money on something I’ll only wear once. (And, because I am a lolita, I don’t want to spend so much money on something that isn’t a lolita garment! Predictable, but very true.) I ought to invest in one costume that I can wear year after year, but I don’t attend Halloween parties or go trick-or-treating; I only dress up for work events.
I always tell myself that I won’t get dressed up for Halloween, because I don’t want people to think that the style I love so dearly is a costume, but when it’s October 30th and I can’t decide what to wear for the function at my office, I pull out something from my closet. It’s a habit that I know I ought to break, but I don’t think about it until there’s just not enough time left. Sometimes I have difficult reconciling my philosophy with my actions.
Do you like to wear lolita fashion as part of your Halloween costume? Do you prefer to wear something else entirely? Do you have absolutely no problem with lolita fashion being perceived as a costume?