The Hipster Effect » costumes Identity, society and work in the age of perpetual connectivity Tue, 26 Mar 2013 00:35:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Happy transforming /2011/10/28/happy-transforming/ /2011/10/28/happy-transforming/#comments Fri, 28 Oct 2011 22:46:44 +0000 Sophy Bot /?p=382 more]]> So what are you gonna be for Thanksgiving this year?

Wait, that doesn’t sound right.

Who are you going as for July 4th?

Nope, that’s not it either.

Have you figured out your Christmas costume yet?

The one and only holiday* where we ask who you’re going to be rather than what you’re going to do is, of course, Halloween. It is the holiday of transformation, one in which it becomes socially acceptable to step into another’s shoes and to become somebody completely different for a night. From Lady Gaga to Frankenstein and from Charlie Sheen to Jesus, your Halloween costume is limited only by your imagination and your budget. The more complete your transformation, the more respect you’ll garner. But try and wear your costume on November 1st and suddenly the respect turns into laughter. Halloween is over and it’s time to be yourself again.

A recent Tumblr called “Halloween or Williamsburg” mocks the very essence of what it is to attempt a transformation outside of the socially acceptable boundaries of Halloween. Williamsburg, as we all know, is considered to be the birthplace of the modern hipster. It is a neighborhood where it is not at all uncommon to see people pushing self-expression to its farthest limits, whatever the time of year and without any particular reason. “Halloween or Williamsburg” shows photos of people in costume and out of context, pointing out the oddity of dressing up in otherwise normal circumstances. Then again, without the context, who’s to say that these people aren’t on their way to a costume party (of which New York has many, whatever the season) or a performance (at least two of the photos show local performance artists).

So here’s the thing: what’s the big deal with dressing up for no reason? Why can’t people have fun with self-transformation? Why must we be limited to one day of the year when it’s considered ok to put on a costume? As kids, we dressed up all the time for no other reason than the amusement it gave us. If people are honestly gutsy enough to put on some of these costumes and wander around one of the biggest cities in the world, I say let them do it. It amuses us as observers and they know we’re staring anyhow. The Halloween spirit is a healthy one, and one we ought to keep in mind long after the candy corn is gone and the Jack-o-lantern candles have melted: Have fun and be yourself… even if that sometimes means being somebody else instead.


*with the possible exception of Purim and Mardi Gras

Photo credit: Clinton Steeds


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