As Halloween draws closer, here are a few more of the perks and pitfalls of this holiday for the eager Gothling.
A better option might be that you lend your eye for all that is dark and spooky to them when shopping for costumes, whether in supermarkets or thrift stores, and help them create something unusual, unique and aesthetically pleasing without having to hand over your own velvet cloak.
What about your own costume? Goths, particularly older Goths, who have the money, skills and other resources to do so, tend to pull out all the stops for Halloween, especially if they are attending a Goth-specific event, club or party (including Whitby Goth Weekend, of course). This is the best time to indulge in all those overdone make-up cliches such as spiderwebs, stitches and fake blood, and many do so with great aplomb. Goth costumes may also tend towards the obscure, for example Edward Gorey or Neil Gaiman characters or little-known characters from legend or history. And of course there are some who simply prefer to revel in wearing their most extraordinary and opulent Gothy finery rather than dressing as anything specific.
When choosing your costume, please bear in mind your plans for the day. If you're going to find yourself helping out with a children's party, this is not the time to wear that one costume from Artifice Clothing. Or anything TOO scary! If you're likely to be playing any kind of energetic games, a four foot train, fluttering veil and corset may not be practical. And if trick-or-treating, remember what wind or even rain will do to elaborate hair-dos and make-up (finding an umbrella that suits your costume may not be easy but could be worth it).
There are some rather obvious and cliche Goth costumes, including The Crow, Lestat de Lioncourt, Dracula, Catwoman, any members of The Munsters or The Addams Family, most Tim Burton characters and Cleopatra (or Nefertiti). If one of these costumes would be a dream come true for you (heaven knows I've got Morticia Addams and Cleopatra on my must-try list, and most people will probably dress as a Tim Burton character at least once) go right ahead, but make sure you do it to the absolute best of your ability so that you knock the fishnet socks off the four other Cleopatras on the Goth club dancefloor.
Thankfully the suggestion that sets the most eyes rolling is one that I have not yet received, but I'm sure many of you have - the good ol' 'dress like a normal person for Halloween' cliche. I did try this once, but it didn't feel 'Halloween-ish' at all so I took it all off and went to hunt out a corset and top hat. If you have read Ellen Schreiber's Vampire Kisses, in which Goth girl Raven tries this, you may think it sounds fun and original, but the fact is that almost every Goth has it suggested to them by a well-meaning non-Goth at some point, and frankly it isn't really fun because after the novelty (and the joke) wears off, it can be rather glum watching everyone else saunter past in wonderful costumes and decadent black clothes whilst you're stuck in jeans and a pastel-coloured T-shirt.
Plus, when Halloween is the one day of the year that you can turn the spooky dial on your attire up to thirteen without raising a single eyebrow, why would you want to waste it wearing khakis?
Listening to: Butterfly - Tapping the Vein