Adults have hi­jacked Hal­loween

The Korea Times - - LIFESTYLE - By Ana Ve­ciana-Suarez

Hal­loween has been taken over by grown-ups. Se­ri­ously. The candy bo­nanza of my chil­dren’s era is now an an­nual cos­tume bash where adults get to dress up and sweets aren’t a part of the equa­tion — un­less these come in the form of al­co­holic beverages.

Don’t be­lieve me? Take a walk down the aisles of Party City. Or eaves­drop on a con­ver­sa­tion at a cof­fee shop, where adults de­bate what out­fits to buy for them­selves. Ap­par­ently the pop­u­lar ones are straight out of video games and TV and movie sets: “Spi­der-Man,” “De­scen­dants,” “Stranger Things,” and “Fort­nite.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Re­tail Fed­er­a­tion, con­sumers will spend $8.8 bil­lion on the hol­i­day this year, and most of it will go to­ward cos­tumes. Large-sized cos­tumes. About half of adults plan to buy at least one, and if my on­line search is any in­di­ca­tion, these don’t come cheap. Ex­pect to fork over any­where from $50 to $60, un­less you’re cre­ative enough to throw some­thing to­gether from Good­will castoffs.

As a re­sult of this ap­pro­pri­a­tion by grown-ups, Hal­loween has be­come fraught with pit­falls, in­sults, hurt feel­ings and work­place law­suits. Peo­ple with jobs and driver’s li­censes have a way of mess­ing things up, even when they don’t in­tend to, and it doesn’t help mat­ters any that the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal cli­mate has made us over­sen­si­tive to pretty much any­thing that pushes bound­aries or nee­dles deeply held tenets.

Ap­par­ently more com­pa­nies are skip­ping the of­fice Hal­loween par­ties or telling em­ploy­ees to keep their masks and cos­tumes at home on the last day of Oc­to­ber. It only takes one em­ployee com­ing into the of­fice dressed as a pe­dophile priest — or a #MeToo sur­vivor or, for that mat­ter, Don­ald Trump — to turn the fes­tiv­i­ties into a night­mare for the hu­man re­sources de­part­ment. We all know that what might be hi­lar­i­ous to one per­son can be deeply in­sult­ing to another, and nei­ther side seems to un­der­stand why ex­actly.

A so­cial faux pas can prove em­bar­rass­ing even when the dres­sup venue isn’t in a con­fer­ence room or the down­stairs cafe­te­ria. Off­site par­ties have cost em­ploy­ees a rep­ri­mand at best and their jobs at worst. A Kansas City, Mis­souri, nurse got the boot af­ter her hos­pi­tal em­ployer was alerted to so­cial me­dia pho­tos of her dressed in black­face. One Facebook com­ment: “I do not feel that it is safe hav­ing a racist em­ployee work­ing with the pub­lic.”

Another woman, a 22-year-old from Michi­gan, got raked over the coals when she wore a bloody Bos­ton Marathon run­ner cos­tume to a Hal­loween party six months af­ter that tragic bomb­ing. Not only did she lose her job, her par­ents re­ceived death threats and she was shamed off so­cial me­dia.

Tri­bune News Ser­vice

Once thought of as a hol­i­day for kids, Hal­loween has been ap­pro­pri­ated by adults.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Korea, Republic

© PressReader. All rights reserved.