The Non-Traditional: Halloween costumes and parties over the years

Ashley Haberman

Remember all those childhood Halloween costumes and class parties? Disney characters and 50’s poodle skirts are two of my top memories from those younger years. And almost three decades later, dressing up still hasn’t lost its charm. Out of the many annual holidays, Halloween is the one that is fun at every age but morphs into new ways of dressing up and celebrating. After those juvenile years, my approach to costumes changed and became less cheesy, and now watching my daughter choose to be a ninja this year and deciding that I will be a butterfly princess still brings the excitement of Halloween.

Ashley and her boyfriend Jason as Gomez and Mortice Addams (Photo courtesy of Ashley Haberman)



A few of my old school favorite bands (STS9 and the String Cheese Incident) have been known to throw some of the best themed Halloween shows that bring out some incredible costumes. The STS9 red themed Halloween show in San Francisco back in 2006 was one to remember. Bassnectar played at The Mighty the night before which meant one costume wouldn’t do. Girls in fishnets, boots, and bumble bee costumes buzzed around the dance floor till 5 a.m. and those same faces filled the Fillmore Auditorium on Halloween-adorned as red butterflies and vampires. I was a cat and chose the lighter version of red, pink, while my friends were red crabs and mermaids swimming across the dance floor.

Oh, the fun to reminisce in memories of those more carefree days before “growing up.” These days, trick or treating down Mountain Ave with a mob of four-year-olds getting spooked and filling bags with candy have become the Halloween festivities, and are just as fun.

Bringing out the kid in you isn’t hard at any age during the week long Hallows Eve festivities.

But one important thing to remember- refraining from costumes such as Pocahontas, War Bonnets (or more known as the incorrect term headdress) “black face,” and others that represent oppression, injustice, and stereotypes of people is gross, offensive, and just not cool. “We tend to stay away from the native costumes, the geisha costumes, anything that seems to present groups of people in a stereotypical way,” Sociology and Ethnic Studies major Erika LaFehr said about her and her daughter. “I’m not even a fan of witch stuff sometimes because of the context that image derives from (very anti-woman).”

So have fun, dress up, dance and eat candy, but always be mindful of what you choose to represent with your costumes of choice.

Collegian writer Ashley Haberman can be reached at