In the spirit of Samhain, I wanted to talk in a countdown-like fashion about some of the most notable music-inspired costumes I’ve seen over the years.
5. Most of us have seen the Blind Melon video for “No Rain” with that tubby little girl in the bee costume. That video was weird, but I seem to recall a bunch of girls in my junior high totally using that as their costume. Unfortunately, that song was overplayed and pretty awful to begin with, so I’m sure when they look at the photos of that Halloween, they cringe.
4. My spooky friend Matt and I went out last Halloween to get wasted like everyone does on Halloween. He was dressed as Angus Young from AC/DC. I thought this was stupid for two reasons: First, I have never known him to listen AC/DC, and second, it was freezing and homeboy was wearing shorts. I think it goes without saying that he nearly froze to death. We got into an argument about who was the least interesting drummer in history (his pick, Phil Rudd of AC/DC, or my pick, Patrick Wilson of Weezer). I lost the argument because Patrick Wilson actually did some interesting drum work on the Rentals’ debut album, Return of the Rentals.
3. Once, in the wake of Kurt Cobain suicide, I saw this dude dressed as Cobain for Halloween. At first I thought it was cool, but eventually felt a little uncomfortable. I get that Nirvana was super important; in fact, it’s one of my favorite bands. However, I never once considered Cobain a role model and, even at a young age, it struck me as a strange choice in costume. Maybe if the guy had used makeup to represent a giant hole in the back of his head? Uh oh…too soon?
2. A guy I used to work with quit his job to start a black metal record label. The first band he signed had some ridiculous name that I can’t recall, and its shtick was that it only played once a year—on Halloween—and its members were supposed to be werewolf hunters. Each member dressed in leather clothes complete with corpse paint (that weird metal white-and-black makeup—think KISS, but less stupid). The singer stood out in a costume similar to that of Hugh Jackman in Van Helsing. The music was cool and all but, in a display of utter weirdness, the singer insisted in banging a stake and mallet together through most of the show. What this had to do with werewolves I will never know.
1. When I was but a lad, running freely through the meadows of adolescence, a friend of mine had a Halloween sleep-over every year because it happened to fall on his birthday. The theme was always Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” He got to dress up like MJ, and the rest of us had to be his zombie backup dancers. My mother spent many an hour slaving over a hot sewing machine to put together my outfits as I barked orders and ate Abba-Zabas. I vividly recall the year it got a little too weird for us to be doing this. We were 17, and none of us wanted to do the dance anymore. Nothing is sadder than someone dressed in a red pleather coat with a single bejeweled glove crying and yelling at a bunch of zombie backup dancers.