Happy September! Now that autumn is upon us and it’s socially acceptable to start decorating / planning for Halloween, I’m going to share some PAR-TAYYY ideas!
As of late, two reality TV shows have been rocking my world – RuPaul’s Drag Race and Project Runway. With Halloween around the corner, I can’t think of two more appropriately themed shows to inspire some monstrous creations. The Whorer emphasizes feminist and queer issues in the horror genre and so naturally, fashion and gender expression are a regular part of our discussions, but most people don’t really give a shit about socially deconstructing gender. However, with a holiday like Halloween, when people often choose to put on costumes and transform into people or things they’re not, it’s the perfect opportunity to create dialogue AND have lots of fun.
Party Option #1: A Halloween Ball
For those of us who love costume parties, a RuPaul inspired drag ball is a great idea. Encourage guests to dress in drag or just out of their comfort zones. Remember, gender isn’t binary and the ways people can choose to express their gender are infinite and beyond the stereotypical “girls where high heels, men grab their crotches” trademarks typically associated with drag. People can be sporty, sexy, nerdy, or even style themselves from different decades. It’s a fun and liberating way to play with gender and embrace something different and maybe even learn a few new things about ourselves and others.
Category: Realness – Theme your party or create different costume categories and have a runway show. For example, use specific TV shows or films like Twin Peaks or the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Have people dress up as the characters and compete for titles like Audrey Horn School Girl Realness or Hump Chic Riff-Raff Realness. You can also theme it around monsters and create categories like Zombie, Vampire, and Werewolf Realness or just go with horror film sub-genres and hold contests for titles like Slasher, Sci-Fi, and Creature Feature Realness. After individuals walk the runway, have them talk about their interpretations of their characters and why / how they chose to do what they did.
Lip Sync for Your Life! – Additionally or alternatively, have karaoke and/or dance contests where guests must perform in their Halloween drag and portray their characters.
Party Option #2: Designer Challenge
If you’re not super enthused about making your body suffer through the night in an awesome yet completely uncomfortable costume, perhaps you can get crafty instead with a Project Runway inspired party.
Make It Work! – Have guests bring something unwanted from their wardrobe (like an accessory, piece of clothing, old make-up) or even just some leftover Halloween trim. Of course, if people don’t have anything at home to contribute they can always pick something up for a couple bucks at the party or thrift store (consider passing around a sign up sheet and/or having some extra supplies on hand to ensure a diverse selection of materials). From these materials you and your guests can work together to create a Halloween inspired costume / outfit on a sewing form or manikin (call it a cadaver for fun! or name it after your favorite character). Play movies or music in the background to inspire your guests. This is a fun way to create something new from a mash-up of everyone’s personal aesthetic and style, and as a team challenge, naturally requires a lot of communication and dialogue. As Tim Gunn always says, “Make it work!”
And if the prospect of creating a costume seems daunting, just take one from Project Runway’s sibling show, Project Accessory, and supply people with / have them bring things like t-shirts, hats, totes, paint, glitter, and jewelry making materials to create Halloween inspired accessories instead.