Sampling Popular Culture at MegaHalloween

Halloween 2018

Choosing the Halloween Outfit: The Second Most Important Election of the Season

Published as “Time for Some ‘Funner’ Voting,” DeLand Beacon, November 9-25, 2018

Elections are important.  But they also wear us out.  All the ads and flyers and promises—and we can only hope that the winners actually do the stuff they promise.

Time for a funner election—that’s a fun word my children taught me.  For this election, can you guess the most popular outfit of the year at MegaHalloween on West Minnesota Avenue in DeLand?

My students and I in American Studies and History at Stetson University ask the children about their outfits.  These mini-interviews are fun ways of learning about how kids think—after all, children have culture too—and sometimes they say the funniest things.

The tallies are in, and we want your vote for the second most important election of the season.  And my fellow Americans, we can certify that the results are 100% Politician Free!  However, there was 1 Trick-or-Treater who was a Fear Leader—ready for Washington politics….

Send your response to pcroce@stetson.edu, or 386-822-7533, and the early voters will be eligible to win prizes of historic (and tasty) significance.  No polls or focus groups, no confusing ballot, and total honor system; make your choice now before reading on to the end of this article, where I will pull the mask off of this mystery about The Top Ten Outfits.  Ready? OK, no peeking.

How about some clues.  As I tell my students, one way to deal with the mountains of information around us is to look for patterns; same with the MegaData of Halloween.  There were probably over 2,000 on the street that night; we were able to talk with about 1,600.  Here are some trends:

-While popular culture outfits (based on things like movies or video games) are big, they have not totally smothered out folk culture outfits (from family or cultural traditions); and many mix popular and folk culture.

-There were many versions of Nothing—the Halloween equivalent of NPA (No Party Affiliation), showing impatience with business as usual.

-Lots of gender benders, especially female versions of traditional male characters, just as there was a record number of women elected to offices just 6 days after Halloween.

As with the political elections, some of the most interesting action was happening among those that did not win in the numbers game:

One gender bender reversed the trend; of the 9 Mermaids, one was a Man.

4 Mickey Mouses, but 7 Minnie Mouses, including 1 “decidedly without Mickey.”

4 Cowgirls, but 0 Cowboys—so much for gender parity out on the range.

2 Chuckys, but only 1 Bride of Chucky.  Ok guys, which one of you is getting married, or Dear Bride of Chucky, do we have some polyandry going on, with marriage to both of these gentlemen?

1 Willie Nelson Before Puberty.

Among the 5 groups that arrived in Family Sets, there was 1 PsychoDad who “keeps everyone under control.”

Heaven seems to have a retention problem: of the 8 Angels, 6 were either Dark or Fallen.

1 Granny Wolf among the 7 Wolves, which makes you wonder: really an oldster, or just a hungry one in disguise before pouncing on the 5 Little Red Riding Hoods?

There were 5 Killers, including 1 Killer Pirate, who for good measure added he was one “that kills.”  Yikes—ok, got it.

Of the 6 Butterflies, there was 1 Butterfly Murderer—no word on whether this one murdered butterflies or was a pretty murderer?

Of the 10 Bees, 1 Skeleton Bee; call the biologists: vertebrate bee found!

4 Ladybugs, including 1 that was Miraculous—but hey, aren’t they all?

0 Environmentalists, but beware of 1 Gator Killer.

Of the 5 Aliens, one insisted he was “from space,” and another had a more specific address, “from the moon,” which makes you wonder about where the others are from—illegal aliens without Green Cards?

The 1% was represented, with 1 Billionaire, and yup, there was only 1.

1 Basic White Girl.

5 50s characters, more than all other decade characters combined.

2 Waldos—in case you were wondering where he is; and having 2 should make the search easier.

1 Farmer—yup, McDonald himself, but not so old.

1 Wicked Good—apparently still choosing direction.

And pitched to a historian, but with a good reminder to us all: 1 Wade-Davis Bill (I can’t make this up), which would have given African Americans the right to vote 5 years before the ratification of the 15th Amendment in 1870.

Now be sure your vote is in, because now the truth can be revealed….

The Top Ten Outfits, MegaHalloween DeLand, USA

1-Vampires: 48, including 1 Simple Vampire, 2 Bats, 1 Skeleton, 1 Who Forgot Teeth, 2 Princesses, and 6 Vampirina; plus there was a character Who Eats Vampires

2-Zombies: 38, including half-dead versions of these: 5 Pirates, 4 Cheerleaders, 1 Football Player, 1 Hairdresser, and 1 Firefighter, also 1 Sidekick Zombie, 2 Dead Zombies (no split personality here), 1 Toxic Waste Zombie (is this what happens to environmentalists when they raise attention to pollution?!), and 1 only Kind of a Zombie; but only 1 who was Attacked by Zombies (that’s it for the invading horde?)

3-Spidermen: 36, including 1 Spiderwoman and 1 Spidergirl.  Spiderman has kept his gender mojo more than Batman and way more than Superman (12 Superman-types, which included only 1 Superman, but 2 Super Women, 7 Super Girls, 1 Super Baby, and 1 Super Monster)

4-Nothings: 35: including 6 I Don’t Knows, 3 With No Clue, 2 404 Costume Not Found, 1 I Forgot, 4 Randoms including 1 Random Bloody Stuff and 1 Random Skull, 1 Just Something, 1 with Stuff from the Closet, 1 Just a Painted Face, 1 with Just Make Up, 1 with Just a Mask, 1 Masked Thing, 1 “Pretty Scary so I don’t need an outfit,” 1 with Just Shirt and Skirt, 1 in T-Shirt and Shorts, 1 who “Can’t Fly” (and that’s news?), 1 with a Private outfit, 1 Took Off My Costume, 1 with Eyeball on Head (Why?  “I was broke so I just put an eyeball on my head.”  Ask a silly question…), 1 Regular Person,1 Just Got off Work, 1 Married or Something, 2 who were Just Me, 9 with Nothing Special, and one who was Just Dead.

4-Unicorns: 35, including 1 Kitty Butterfly Unicorn, 1 dark Unicorn, 1 Sparkly Unicorn, and 2 Killer Unicorns

4-Witches: 35, including 1 Scary, 1 Good Witch Glinda herself from The Wizard of Oz, 1 Ballerina Witch, 1 only Supposedly a Witch, and 1 Grandma Witch, who was ready to defend her kind: “you say witch like it’s a bad thing.”

7-Ninja: 34, including 1 Black Ninja, 1 Karate Ninja, 1 Warrior, and 1 Girl

8-Batmen: 32, including 10 Batgirls, but only 1 Robin

9-Princesses: 31, including 1 Baby, 1 Candy, 2 Pretty ones, 1 Pirate Princess, 1 each of Peach and Poppy Princesses, 2 Leias, 1 Jasmine, 1 Anna, 1 Aurora, 1 Fairy Princess, 2 Warrior Princesses, 1 Vampire Princess, 2 Warrior Princesses, 3 Sophia the Firsts, and 1 from “from Disney,” and 1 Dead.

10-Cats: 30, including 3 Cat Boys, 1 Wonderwoman Cat, 1 Cat Without a Hat, and 4 Kitty Cats, including 1 who was a Princess.

Keep on voting, my dear fellow citizens—to paraphrase the 2 Buzz Lightyears—at Halloween, and beyond!

To compare 2018 with MegaHalloweens Past, go to Paul Croce’s https://pubclassroom.com/ > Categories > Sampling American Popular Culture at MegaHalloween.  Thanks to Mary Bernard who helped organize the information, and for their fine work with children of all ages, thanks to Cassandra Concilio, Kennedy Francisco, Harrison Futch, Jade Greene, Ryli Reback, and Brianna Wise.

 

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