Monster mashin’ fashion: U of S students share their Halloween costumes and traditions

By in Culture/Features

There’s something in the air on campus — the wind is brisk and cold, the trees are bare and every breath comes out in a cloud of condensation, but underlying all of that is a current of excitement. It’s Halloween season, and University of Saskatchewan students are gearing up for their favorite ways to celebrate.

For some students, that celebration includes dressing up. Many of us have fond memories of trick-or-treating as kids — sometimes with princess costumes stretched over parkas or Superman capes bunched under rain jackets. Halloween is a perfect opportunity to revisit the childhood joys of playing pretend.

The tradition of dressing in costume on Halloween has its roots in the Middle Ages in Europe. At that time, Halloween was believed to be a day when the spirits of the dead returned to the world of the living. Superstitious citizens donned disguises to blend in with ghosts and ensure vengeful, jealous spirits would not recognize them.

These days, costumes serve a lighter purpose. Halloween falls at a time of year when days are getting rapidly shorter and nights increasingly colder. Bright pumpkin lanterns, fanciful outfits and fun traditions with friends and family are great ways to make the transition to the darkest time of year more bearable. 

Everyone has their own preference when it comes to how they celebrate. The following five U of S students have different ideas of what makes a great costume and have a variety of favorite traditions, but they all share one thing in common: they love Halloween!


Keighlagh
Keighlagh Donovan, Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction costume. The College of Arts and Science, English, fourth year.

Tell us about your costume choice.

I am a huge Quentin Tarantino fan and Pulp Fiction is one of my all-time favourite films. It was also a really easy costume to put together and the wig was the only real expense at $30.

What was your favourite childhood costume?

One costume that stands out in my memory was the year I dressed up as Barbie. My Mom had initially surprised me with a Barney — yes, the purple dinosaur — costume because he was my absolute favourite, but I burst into tears and insisted I could not wear that because none of the other kids thought Barney was cool and I would definitely get made fun of.

What do you love most about Halloween?

Horror films, both old and new! I adore feeling frightened when I know I am not in any real danger.

Do you have any Halloween traditions?

I have never had any aside from dressing up. However, I do find myself re-watching films such as Hocus Pocus, Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween.


Tell us about your costume choice.

Erica-1
Erica Maier, sea monster costume The College of Arts and Science, archaeology and biology, fifth year

I have always loved retro Halloween costumes and monsters from old Halloween movies. I wanted to be something I’d never seen a costume of before. I love how colourful and ambiguous it is.

What was your favourite childhood costume?

A fuzzy blue bird costume that I wore one Halloween when there was a snowstorm. My parka fit under the costume perfectly, so I could still trick-or-treat.

What do you love most about Halloween?

Halloween is absolutely my favourite holiday. I love it because you can become whoever you want. You can switch identities and it’s so much fun seeing someone you know be someone else for a night. Halloween is awesome because it allows people to express themselves artistically through a different identity.

Do you have any Halloween traditions?

As kids, we always watched this old Donald Duck Halloween special called “Trick or Treat” from the 1950s. Me and my siblings still watch this every year. Now my biggest tradition is listening to old radio broadcasts of scary stories and listening to a Halloween playlist or spooky rock ‘n’ roll songs — it totally gets you in the spirit!


Kristian
Kristian Hundseth, splicer costume. The College of Medicine, second year.

Tell us about your costume choice.

I based my choice off the “splicers” in the video game Bioshock. I love video games and I love Halloween, so they went naturally together. I like that it’s creepy and still recognizable as such, even to someone who has never seen the character before.

What was your favourite childhood costume?

I dressed up as Pikachu. My friend dressed up as Ash Ketchum, so we got to look nerdy together.

What do you love most about Halloween?

It brings people together to have fun and enjoy dressing up as something you normally aren’t. It’s fun to be scary, funny or downright unrecognizable for one night.

Do you have any Halloween traditions?

As a kid, every Halloween meant every person in the house carving their own pumpkin to put outside, then decorating the house for trick-or-treaters. We would then go out at night dressed up, pillowcases in hand and see who could collect the most candy. It was always a bonus to find the houses that gave out the full-sized chocolate bars.

I still carve a pumpkin and decorate the house with my family. I then go out with friends wherever we can find a party for a night of drinks and crazy costumes.


Tell us about your costume choice.

Emily
Emily Hammer, Tinkerbell costume. The College of Arts and Science, psychology, fourth year.

I wanted something cute, fun and relatively easy to put together. I really love the wings, they’re very sparkly!

What was your favourite childhood costume?

In grade three, I dressed up as an orange crayon. Super fun, and it fit over a winter jacket.

What do you love most about Halloween?

Any time that I get to wear a costume in public is wonderful! There’s still a little part of me that’s seven, and wants to wear costumes every day.

Do you have any Halloween traditions?

Every year my parents would go out and buy themselves, my sister and I a pumpkin to carve. Afterwards, we would take a picture of each of us making the face that we carved into it. I still do this!


Tell us about your costume choice.

Bailey
Bailey Christopherson, pumpkin costume. The College of Arts and Science, second year.

I picked my costume because I don’t like how Halloween has become a display of who can make the sluttiest outfit. I thought it would be fun to see the surprise when people realized that when I said I was being a pumpkin I didn’t mean a tight, short mini dress. I’m being a big poofy pumpkin with tights!

I like it because I made it myself, and I felt really accomplished afterward. Homemade costumes are way better than the cheap stuff you buy in the stores.

What was your favourite childhood costume?

Probably this genie costume my Mom sewed for me when I was five! It was pink and satiny and had little coins sewn on around the edges! It was so unique.

What do you love most about Halloween?

It’s the last festive thing to do before it gets really cold. The colors are beautiful and the pumpkins are adorable! It’s super fun that everyone gets so excited for one day. Everyone’s in a generally great mood and it’s not an overly stressful holiday.

Do you have any Halloween traditions?

Watching Hocus Pocus. I’ve been watching it since I was little. That is the greatest Halloween movie of all time! I want to dress up as the Sanderson sisters for Halloween one day. Also, TV shows that do Halloween episodes. Oh my gosh, The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror!”