Most holidays seem to have a spiritual home. Anyone who’s walked past Liberty of London in December knows that London owns Christmas, probably due to our concept of Yuletide having been entirely invented by Charles Dickens. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, seems very Eastern Seaboard because of the changing leaves and pilgrims, neither of which are plentiful in Southern California. Mardi Gras is observed in drastically different ways in three places around the world: in New Orleans it’s about partying; in Sydney it’s about the gays; in Rio it’s all about sex. On second thought, maybe those don’t sound that different after all.
It’s hard to say for certain what makes Halloween the quintessential Los Angeles holiday but it probably has a lot to do with the fact that most Angelinos came here to be somebody else. This is one day every year when they can dress up and act like whomever they like out in public without fear of being committed or put on a reality TV show. The Halloween celebration on Santa Monica Boulevard alone attracts over half a million people each year and I remember being blown away by the creativity and dedication of the revelers there over the years, from a buff Batman leading a buff Robin on a leash to a cluster of Eighteenth Century drag queens whose enormous skirts lit up from inside. Those were the days when we started out at Susanne Bartsch’s amazing party at SkyBar then hobbled dangerously down the incline to the Boulevard in eight-inch platforms. One year, I was about nine-feet tall with those shoes and my bunny ears.
Unfortunately, things have become a little boring of late. Scott and I made the rounds of costume shops a year or two ago and saw the same assortment in every place: slutty nurse, slutty maid, slutty policewoman, slutty valet parking attendant… actually I don’t remember if I actually saw the parking one but you get the idea. And those were just for the ladies! The guys have been running around all kinds of naked for the past week, with just eye patches or mouse ears in place of costumes so as not to obscure all the work they’ve been putting in at the gym. Or maybe there’s a clothing-optional resort favored by pirates and Mickey Mouse that I didn’t know about.
The Great Gatsby: Sure, we’ve been hit over the head with the Roaring Twenties for about a year and a half now but it was a great looking era for fashion. I liked this idea for a costume until I was on the treadmill yesterday and noticed on “The Catty Bitches of Miami” that one of them had a Gatsby-themed reception that required parking lot costume changes for the guests after the wedding. Ugh.
Duck Dynasty: If you’re really short on time, just stop by your local army surplus and pick up a bunch of camouflage stuff. Valentino also did some lovely camouflage pieces but they’re a little harder to find and a lot more expensive. The ZZ Top beard is a must in either case.
American Horror Story: Coven: Okay, so the girls don’t really dress that cool on the show but they looked amazing in their black and white outfits and sleek pointy stilettos on the teaser video. Very Saint Laurent, those hats.
Breaking Bad: I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never seen an episode of this show but the orange hazmat suits are unmistakable and probably quite comfy if you’re trick-or-treating in a colder climate.
Boy Scout Madonna: I can’t remember why Madge showed up to the GLAAD awards dressed as a Boy Scout but it’s a great add-on if you already have Madonna drag.
I guess a couple of celebs already did hot-mess Miley Cyrus at the VMAs but that was too easy. At the other extreme, no one will get Amanda Bynes or The Debt Ceiling and it gets old pretty fast having to explain your costume to everyone you meet.
At the end of the day, just cover your junk and have a blast.