From senior Halloween veteran, Emily Leven.
Disclaimer: I don’t really know what an open letter is, but Putin just wrote one (I also might not know what op-eds are) so it seems like it’s #trending.
Dear Freshmen (or any first-time college Halloweener):
As we approach this magical time of year, I want to share with you some of the lessons I was unfortunate enough to learn the hard way. And when I say “the hard way,” I don’t mean that I was the one making the mistakes, I really just mean that I was subjected to them. But potato, tomato, am I right?
First of all, let’s not forget that Halloween is a pagan holiday. If there are parents who won’t allow something, that basically means it must be fun. But pagan doesn’t mean Godless, it actually means a whole lot of Gods, and Gods tend to like rules. I’ll spare you the whole Holy Book of Halloween and skip to the Ten Commandments (read: CliffsNotes for non-pagans, not that you should be using those anymore now that you’re in college- you should be able to write the essay without reading the book OR the CliffsNotes).
I. You should dress up.
This is not Legally Blonde. If you are invited to a Halloween party (any party within a week of Halloween in either direction), everyone will be wearing a costume. It is your goal to have the funniest, most creative, and/or all around best one. Kid’s costumes are encouraged. And if you find anyone who isn’t in costume, it is totally fair game for you to walk up to them and tell the Vivian that when you dress up like a frigid bitch, you try not to look so constipated.
II. You should not dress up to class.
Gone are the days of Halloween parades and Vice Principal Philips making you change into your gym clothes because your costume is too revealing. I know, I’m really sad about both of those things, too.
III. You should not waste your money on a “slutty” [insert profession here] costume.
If you are really convinced that you need to go out and buy the full Party City shebang to send the provocative and artistic message that only a really well done “slutty” nurse or lady cop outfit can send, you have probably been approaching this “slutty” thing the wrong way for a while now. On that note,
IV. Wear heels that you can walk in, even at the end of the night.
This is a pretty good rule in general, because people like me will make fun of you when you’re hailing a cab to make it those last two blocks to your date’s frat house because you literally just can’t hobble there fast enough, but it especially applies on Halloween. If I see someone who walks like a newborn giraffe on Halloween, I’m thinking it’s at least plausible that this is a dude who thinks he’s being funny. If you haven’t yet mentally adjusted to the fact that your figure is a little less dainty and delicate than it was pre-freshman-fifteen, you’re setting both of us up for embarrassment if I mistake you for a guy.
V. Never underestimate the value of a good mask.
A non-exhaustive list of potential mask uses: Avoiding an ex, spying on an ex, hiding a really bad zit, drawing attention to your really kickass bod that has been thus far overlooked with the hope that maybe the opposite sex will no longer be distracted by your unfortunate facial features and might talk to you come November, preventing yourself from eating too much candy, preventing yourself from drinking too much, hiding your identity when you inevitably embarrass yourself, hiding your identity when you want to pull a really good prank, wearing a secret camera (this gets weird and illegal pretty quick so maybe think this one over), scoping out the frat/sorority you’re trying to rush next semester without being noticed, acting like you’re actually wearing a costume.
VI. Halloween is not a green light to make out with your cousin.
I don’t care if it is your first cousin.
VII. Don’t ask for it.
If you’re going for that edgy, mildly offensive costume, you better make sure it works before you go out in public wearing it. This is Philadelphia, boys and girls, there’s only so much you can get away with. Dressing up in blackface wasn’t funny when you tried to be Lebron in high school, and it’s definitely still not funny. Other costumes that shouldn’t tempt you: terrorist, nun prostitute, Amanda Bynes post-breakdown (she’s going through a really tough time right now).
VIII. Have a different costume every night.
Now you will have some really cool Facebook pictures that will make all your friends from home jealous when they see you having fun with all your new college friends. You don’t even have to go out afterward. You don’t even have to know these people. Just take the picture.
IX. Only eat the apples with the razor blades in them.
Did your parents warn you against this when you were little, too? When I first heard this urban legend (hopefully) I was all “People are bad and I’m never eating apples again!” until I remembered that caramel apples are the homie and that anyone who actually wanted to hurt me would go for the candy, not the apple. Now that I’m a senior and expected to go out into the real world in just a few short months, I’m trying to rebel while there’s still time. Bring me every razored apple you find and see what happens, I dare you.
X. Wait to buy candy until November 1.
This rule will stop applying once you have trick-or-treaters again, but for now, enjoy the fact that all the candy will go on sale literally tomorrow. You can bulk up for winter once you’ve gotten full use of that skintight outfit.