They're selling "Sexy Raccoon" this year?!
September 4, 2011 3:40 PM   Subscribe

There are a lot of things I love about the idea of going as La Calavera Catrina for Halloween this year, but I'm worried it might be offensive. What other costumes might incorporate the same sort of elaborate, open-ended craftiness and dramatic design?

Basically, this is awesome-looking. Glamourous, instantly recognizable, has an interesting art history. However, I have no Mexican heritage and I'm worried that it might be another case of drunk white girls appropriating other cultures for a costume party. Is that the case? If it is, even a bit, it would make me uncomfortable. What could I do instead?

I love planning costumes and working on them over time, and I'm crafty. I really enjoy the process of tracking down the right pieces to complete a costume (last year it was WWII-era uniform buttons on eBay), and I think if I were a little bit less self-conscious I'd probably be a cosplayer.

My first costume idea, a sarcastic Sexy Astronaut, jumped the shark. I thought about doing this Klimt, but that's pretty obscure.

History or art history are especially welcome.

posted by you're a kitty! to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
In a similar vein, going as Frida Kahlo from any of her self-portraits gives you variety and could be pretty cool. Idk how hip of a crowd you run with to see whether this would be trendy or passe.

You could go as a work of Dali and just have all sorts of weird crap strewn over yourself, both physical objects and makeup. Same goes for Picasso, either the blue or surrealist periods could work well.

Uhh...The Girl With A Pearl Earring, Tamara: Queen of the Goths, Random people from Greek History or Greek/Roman goddesses could be cool.
posted by JauntyFedora at 4:00 PM on September 4, 2011

What about some kind of nebulously Celtic Herne the Hunter thing with (artificial) antlers? Or what about going as a bird, with a big sleek (and obviously non-Native-style) feathered headpiece? (I kind of want to do that). Or I once saw someone (for a play) dressed up as the alien from Alien and she'd made this big weird sharp gothy headdress.
posted by Frowner at 4:09 PM on September 4, 2011

IANH (I am not Hispanic), but I don't see how this could be offensive, unless you plan on ACTING like a drunken white girl appropriating other cultures for a costume party. If you came dressed like the Virgin of Guadalupe, then YES, that might be offensive to some. If it's tastefully and respectfully done I think it could be lovely and very appropriate for Halloween.
posted by evilcupcakes at 4:20 PM on September 4, 2011 [5 favorites]

I really doubt that anyone is going to accost you about a Halloween costume. Here in LA, lots of people dress up as various cultural icons and no one says boo. It's a holiday, it's a disguise, and why not? I don't know any Latinas that feel like they have to stick to dressing as senoritas or Ramona.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:20 PM on September 4, 2011

Well if it helps, I had a [white] friend dress up like this last Halloween, she looked great and got a lot of compliments.
posted by june made him a gemini at 4:32 PM on September 4, 2011

I'm Mexican, and seriously? If done well this is the BEST COSTUME. I did similar for three years (tutu! makeup! scaring little kids because it looked BADASS), and this year, I'm going to be an Octopus.

Good luck!
posted by bibliogrrl at 4:57 PM on September 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

For whatever it's worth, here in Texas I've seen a fair number of Dia de los Muertos inspired Halloween costumes, such as you're considering, and I've never heard anyone suggest there might be anything politically incorrect about it.
posted by adamrice at 5:01 PM on September 4, 2011

Response by poster: I'm encouraged that you guys think it might be okay! Anyone want to pipe up against it?
posted by you're a kitty! at 5:01 PM on September 4, 2011

Response by poster: Also, bibliogrrl, that octopus is *awesome.* You could even glue the large-diameter bubble wrap on in strips as suckers!
posted by you're a kitty! at 5:02 PM on September 4, 2011

I'm Mexican; there's nothing offensive about this.

I'm worried that it might be another case of drunk white girls appropriating other cultures for a costume party

If you wore it with a micro-skirt, stripper heels and deep cleavage , yeah, perhaps. Or maybe not, I'm imagining a roller derby interpretation, it could be really cool.

Do it.
posted by clearlydemon at 7:02 PM on September 4, 2011

I say go for it too, done well it's more of a tribute, and it is a stunning costume idea!!! I may even have to give it a go!
posted by Jayed at 7:10 PM on September 4, 2011

Chiming in from Oakland, my sense is that you could wear that and get nothing but "Awesome!" and "Badass!" comments from onlookers. If I weren't so resolutely low-low-low-maintenance, I'd be hella tempted by that costume idea.
posted by Lexica at 8:59 PM on September 4, 2011

Another Chicana here to say-- this would be a great costume!
Good lord, it is a heck of lot better than many other costumes I've seen--most of those using a giant sombrero and serape!
posted by calgirl at 12:40 AM on September 5, 2011

Just another Mexican-American chiming in to say that La Catrina costumes are beautiful.

In any case, it belongs more to the realm of a universal 20th-century Art than it does to an ancient Mexican tradition or anything like that. That is, it belongs to everybody.

My Mexican mother, who tells me of traditional Day of the Dead gatherings she went to as a little girl in Mexico, also has told me how pleased she is that Americans seem to value the aesthetic.
posted by vacapinta at 4:24 AM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you want to go with this costume (not latina but I think it's an amazing idea) you can check out Makeup Alley and search for 'dia de los muertos', 'day of the dead' or 'sugar skull' for ideas and tips.
posted by like_neon at 6:34 AM on September 5, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, everybody! I'm excited :)
posted by you're a kitty! at 7:10 AM on September 5, 2011

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