When I was a kid, costumes were fairly simple. A doctor’s coat here, a Freddy Kreuger mask there. There wasn’t much need for anything elaborate when it came to dressing up for candy, and the occasional dollar bill & comic book. There were the haunted mazes, where people would walk through the dank & dark halls of a house or amusement park and people in fake blood and jagged teeth would leap out at you, causing you to laugh or scream bloody murder, all the while the haunting moans of ghouls and ghosts taunted your fear. Thriller, Dead Man’s Party, and Monster Mash were the hits of the Halloween party, where people would dance Michael Jackson’s legendary dance moves, crotch grabbing and all. That still remains true over the decades. NOTHING has changed.
Halloween is not for kids anymore, and maybe it never was. I didn’t know a lot of adults who would dress up and go to parties, because I was a weird foreigner, but if there’s anything I’ve learned from TV and movies, is that adults and college students love Halloween as much as the little kid, but for much different reasons. And despite all the skimpy outfits, apple bobbing, and gory makeup, the adults always had the cooler costume. The kids were relegated to the onesy with the bunny ears or the plastic chest piece that kind of resembled Darth Vader’s alarm clock and/or calculator. In other words, costumes were low tech. But then, out of the blue, in a sea of lights, sound, 3D printing, and the active to nonexistent social life, put on hold for six months, the cosplayer appears.
Cosplay, the art of the costume and being able to BE the character, is the savior of Halloween, when it comes to tech. Most people are happy with the mediocre, but the cosplayer has put time, effort, money, sweat, tears, soldering, burns, cuts, bruises, and the occasional concussion, to put together the most elaborate costumes. Recently, the New York Comic Con ended with one person being the talk of the internet for at least 72 hours. It was the man in the Hulk Buster suit from “Avengers: Age of Ultron”. It was a 9 foot replica that I’m pretty sure was only made in CGI for the movie. One person decided to create this costume to end all costumes, well, until the next awesome costume. It was the amalgamation of all sorts of materials and electronics to get the lights and lasers working. A masterpiece of 1,600 hours of labor. I’d love to see that beast walking up and down the neighborhood.
Let’s not forget the actual giving away of the candy, where some homes go through the trouble of making sure you’re freaked out when you get your treat. I still remember one particular house that had a pool filled with “blood”, a pathway to the front door covered in darkness, dank, and cobwebs, and a singular shadow, stalked those poor, unsuspecting folk who came by for their candy. All the while, soft, spooky noises and music filled the misty air as the shrouded figure, clad in claws and jagged teeth, jumped out at you after you claimed your ill gotten prize. Bwahahahahahahahahahahahaha ha ha…ha.
Okay, so maybe this was more of a reminiscent post rather than one about technology, but that’s because there is no real Halloween tech. Sure there are Augmented Reality apps that turn kids into zombies or make ghosts appear right before your eyes, but that’s more or less it. Halloween tech is very practical and very simple, from the use of fog machines that incorporates dry ice, to the spooky music that greets you at the door. Halloween is all about the treat of simple jump and scare tactics of the mazes to the use of a sewing machine for the costumes. Yeah, computers and 3D printers help to make the intricate make believe, and may take over as the tech to scare them all, but for now, a little fake blood, jello brains, and spaghetti innards will just do the trick to scare the living crap out of people.