​a girl’s guide to halloween

Bertie Brandes ponders the costume calamities and party mishaps that go along with the spookiest night of the year. The scariest part will be your hangover on Sunday.

by Bertie Brandes
28 October 2016, 1:50pm

Holy fucking shit, Halloween is on a Saturday this year. Cue milky teenage vomit on high streets nationwide, light up devil horns and hoards of non-specific costume wearing revelers lining up for jelly shots which strip away at least one layer of delicate mouth flesh. There is only one way to enjoy Halloween and that's to prepare yourself for how shit it can be and then do it anyway. 

Go in so hard that you genuinely frighten your friends, your parents and most importantly, yourself. Jam your behavior meter on atrocious, pre-game punch directly out of the ladle and see how many of the people you can estrange in one, horrifying night. Yep, dressing slutty is part of it but you can go there way more than once a year. The true joy of Halloween is indulging in the wholly unapologetic consumption of sugary plastic shit you spend the rest of the time snubbing. Orange stuff is cool, guys. Processed pumpkin tastes nice! Sweets make you hyper and alcohol is brilliant. 

No one cares how clever your outfit is unless your gf/bf is forcing you into a dignified gathering where you'll need an easy conversation point. Why waste Halloween on a bunch of couples that already have given up even though they're under 30? Fuck your S.O, come look for a house party with me instead. It won't be fun, but my god will it be ghastly.

What to wear
This is honestly the least important thing but if you can't get away with whatever is leather in your wardrobe then at least try something relatively topical. How about going as a young artist intent on challenging gender stereotypes by wearing pink sweatshop tracksuit bottoms, an embroidered children cap and sparkly toxic plastic bikini top? Spend all night arguing that your naked selfies are actually really #significant in breaking down idealized images of women online. Add on something about digital culture, something about lip liner and something about hoop earrings. 

Alternatively, be your slutty friend from middle school who only ever put on devil horns as a costume but all the boys fancied them the most anyway. That's because, unlike you, she believed in herself and the power of an inappropriately padded push up bra. Update her shameless sluttiness to suit Halloween 2015. Douse yourself in musk and oils, play Bach's Fantasia in G Minor from your phone as your enter every room, just keep going with your eyeliner until it's inches long out from your eyes, get horrible, sloppy drunk. Slur and whine your words. Lick people's ears when you're talking to them. Channel an everyday Jared Leto. Wait, is this fun? Yes! It is.

Where to go
100 percent to a house party. Unless you're the type of person who gets invited to a Halloween ball with endless free alcohol, teeny weeny little teeny pumpkin pies, a really strict dress code and a roster of DJs who tried to sleep with you when you were 15 then save yourself the stress and stomach ache and just be frightening on someone's living room floor instead. Unfortunately even that may not be so straightforward. Halloween is worst night of the year to be single because all your coupled up friends will either invite you over to their tame dinner parties or worse, pretend like they're gonna come out and rage with you all week and then bail at 9pm on the night. Persevere for the sake of all the burned witches who never got to gargle 4Loko or seduce somebody wearing a toilet paper mask. When it gets to 11pm and you're dressed up in your house alone (it will happen, accept this now) because none of your friends can be bothered DO NOT cry in frustration and go to bed. Go on Facebook and force invite yourself somewhere instead. Go in a cab so you can't back out when the bus doesn't arrive and then get awkwardly drunk on prosecco before snogging the third hottest stranger in the room. Tomorrow you will find out they were actually three years below you at school. Spooky!

Getting ready
You can avoid all of the above drama by simply buddying up with one person who's as desperate as you are. Share the burden of stress, the cost of Duane Reed ghost-white foundation and fake blood, the cabs to and fro, and the memory loss. Squeal with shared glee at the terrifying flashbacks instead of cowering alone in your bedroom with all the lights on. Pre-game hard while you can, go halves (or more, if you have more friends :I ) on spirits and get to the point where by the time you're out you only need to sip distractedly at a beer to maintain your vibe. If you still need help with a costume idea know for the last like four years in a row I've just worn clothes that are all roughly the same color and made up different reasons for different conversations. To an art student, "I'm a painting!". To my dad "I'm a tomato!" Scary!

That person you fancied
Don't see your actual crush on Halloween because this is a night where we only exist to get drunk and sloppy make out with people we'll never meet again. Avoid possible future partners and make room for someone dressed as a doctor who you'll mis-remember as being an actual doctor the day after instead. Perhaps even someone you've met twice but can legitimately text "sup" at 1 AM without feeling too mortified if they don't reply.

Throw your own party
If all else fails you could always take the initiative and allow screeching, painted strangers to your house and (hopefully) they'll descend in their droves. And why not? The minute the words "might/have/halloween/party" leave your lips you will have about 11 new best friends. It's also actually the cheapest option in a way because everyone is obliged to bring a bottle and there are always a few really wired people who stay until the next morning to help you clean up.

And then prepare for the most terrifying partThe prangover
Where are you? Are you alone? Did you lose your phone last night? Is it 6am and you got wine drunk so you've woken up with a headache that feels like an actual sneaker has been surgically inserted into your brain? Are you going to vomit? Can you make it there without your flatmate catching you on the way? Can you vomit quietly enough that you don't wake anyone else up? Where are your shoes? Where is the Advil? Have you ever felt more terrified and awful? Great! Happy Halloween.


Text Bertie Brandes
Photography Valeria Boltneva

Bertie Brandes
Girl's guide
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a girls guide