Guys, I seriously love Halloween. I know this isn't a unique trait by any means, but I get more excited about Halloween season than I ever did about Christmas, my birthday, and Valentine's Day combined.
Part of it is definitely the costume factor: as a constant attention-seeker, I always appreciate an occasion where I can paint myself blue and ride public transit. But I also dig the Halloween season's macabre elements.
Like many a child with questionably unfettered access to the library and/or the Internet, I spent most of my youth reading fairy tales -- the darker, the better. I was particularly fascinated with stories about the borderlands: the places in our world where the air was just a little too thin, where magic could sneak through. Fairies, leprechauns, rogue unicorns, you name it -- in the borderlands, they could be just around the corner.
In anthropological studies, Victor Turner called these places "liminal spaces:" they're thresholds between one state and another, a place for trembling and holding your breath. Turner dubbed them as a place of great power and danger: you can dwell in liminal spaces -- people are often changed there immensely -- but you can't survive in them forever.
Though Turner was an anthropologist, this concept turns up again and again in fairy tales. It's why fabled miracles tend to happen at midnight, or at a crossroads, or underneath a full moon: these are places with immense potential for change. And as the transition period between summer and winter (and life and death), Halloween is an ideal setting in stories for big acts of magic, magic that's often just barely controlled by its user.
That's why I love this season: because it feels like being eight years old again. All of that thrumming potential for weirdness starts to rise again, until it feels like it's itching just under my skin. I may be in my twenties, but Halloween makes me feel like I'm still two wrong turns away from stumbling into Fairyland.
Unfortunately, like all holidays, Halloween has to come to an end. But I've recently decided to start trying to invoke that much open-mouthed enthusiasm for the weird at other times of the year, too. Hence: Zombie shoes.
Every year I see these things making the rounds on the Internet, and I have never gutted up enough to buy them. Until now!
They are glow in the dark, ugly as sin, and my prized possession. They also make me about a billion feet tall and are comfortable enough to run up a flight of stairs in (presumably away from all the zombies coming to bite your style). Plus, Iron Fist makes werewolf ones too!
And if zombie shoes aren't your thing, why not try some of these other creepy-ass ways to use your body to summon the Halloween spirit every day of the year?
Everyone knows that corvidae are the scariest birds. Aside from the whole "Nevermore" Edgar Allen Poe creepiness, they also hang around in groups called "murders" and remember the faces of people who have wronged them. Therefore, I love them immensely.
So when I saw these, which combine the intrinsic vague horror of crows with the unmistakable sexiness of garter tights, I knew they had to be mine. (Unfortunately, they are currently sold out of my size both at my local Topshop and online, which mean they may have to be mine through some sort of intricate bribery. But rest assured, I'll make it happen.) They're like "put a bird on it," minor key edition!
Eldritch Abomination T-Shirts
The summer after I graduated high school, my grandma took me on a fortnight-long bus trip with her through the United Kingdom. In between marveling at the countryside and flirting with the awkward dude from Jersey who was the only person my age in our tour group, I read a lot of Lovecraft -- so Cthulhu and his ilk always have a special place in my heart alongside the memories of splitting bottles of wine with my Nonna in Edinburgh hotel rooms and getting lost on the Underground on the way to Covent Garden.
So I love all things not only tentacular but mutated in general, which is why I covet these kraken, night-gaunt, and Welcome to Night Vale spider-deer shirts, too. (Side note: speaking of Halloween, are you listening to Welcome to Night Vale yet? WHY ON EARTH NOT?)
Animal Skull Necklace
We've talked about my obsession with bird skull-themed accessories in the past, but I figured it was worth bringing them up again because they're just so delightfully creepy. They really call to mind the whole "I might be a mid-size woodland creature wearing human skin for this party" trope that appears every now and again in fairy tales. If the avian isn't your jam, there's always a wolf skull, stag skull, or, er, this general "animal skull" pendant.
Scaring Is My Business (Casual)
If you, say, work in an office environment but still want to look like you're about 10 seconds away from launching into "I Put A Spell On You," might I suggest trying your luck with a femme-y scare-skirt? You can go with some classic B-movie monsters, implicitly threaten to give everyone rabies via thigh-meat, or just remind your colleagues that you are all made of bones and slowly decomposing flesh. Remember: dress like the job you want, especially if that job is sexy gravedigger!
This is far from a comprehensive list -- I didn't even include skeleton gloves, this bat headband or these amazing wolf-face jeans -- but these are just a few of my favorites. What did I miss? What tools do you like to use to recall that "someone walked over my grave" shudder even on the sunniest of afternoons?
Kate is howling at the moon: @katchatters