The one thing Kate and I try to do every Halloween is go to the Nocturna Halloween Bash at the Metro, usually in costume, I was not in costume this year, Kate was a Harlequine. There is of course costume contest, which leads me to what I think is a wonderful and very funny observation about a Halloween party at a Goth club. The observation is this: it is at times a little difficult to tell who is in costume and who is simply dressed as a Goth.
On Halloween you have three categories of dress at the club 1) definitely in costume 2)just Goth 3)either too Goth a costume or overdone Goth, but in either case I am not sure that really qualifies as a costume. And for some reason every year three or four people in categories 2 and 3 attempt to enter the costume contest.
In category three there are various iterations: for instance there were a lot of people in wings last night. However they were allso still in their big black boots and PVC or leather skirts and pants. I guess one might argue "I'm a Goth faerie", but you see the problem is that people wear wings to Goth clubs all the time. In fairness they don't often wear wreaths or antennae on their heads, but really not a lot of thought or effort beyond the usual. Then there is the woman in the short plaid skirt, which could be some iteration of a school girl costume. But common people if it's red plaid or red and black plaid with black socks and black heels or boots, I am sure I have seen you wearing almost that exact same outfit when you are not in costume. Lastly are the various white painted faces with black around the eyes, and the top hat and then dressed in black, or just other club wear (this is kind of the masculine version of the Goth schoolgirl look) But really haven't I seen you in that makeup when it wasn't Halloween, and I know you wear that top hat most of the time. Okay so you don't blacken your eye sockets usually, but admit it if you really wanted to you could pull that makeup off any Goth night of the week.
So, If you for some reason happen to need to judge a Goth Halloween contest, possibly not recommended for the faint of heart (Ask Scary Lady Sarah this is not an easy task), here are some pointers for sorting out the not costume and the sort of costume but not really a costume, from the truly costumed Goth. First wings, white make up, top hats, coats with tails, big boots, plaid skirts, chains, and medieval or Edwardian clothing, are common everyday Goth wear, simply wearing these items does not qualify as a costume for Goths. Borderline cases possibly allowable in the contest but should be quickly eliminated for lack of effort: things like, a wonderful black and deep burgundy medieval gown (something you could find any night at a Goth club) but with a long blond wig, not a costume that is pushing the envelope (Though, it is very possible that the wearer of said costume wouldn't be caught dead in a medieval gown any other time but Halloween, she is perhaps more fetish or punk Goth in her usual dress). Worse then this, in my opinion, is the "evil schoolgirl" because really add fishnets, or a bondage belt and take off the devil horns or the little read bows out of her hair and she's wearing pretty much what she usually wears out to the club. Also, Don't be fooled by the guy in the ghoulish makeup top hat and coat tails. You might be tempted to think Dr. Jekyl, or a ghoul,(and he may attempt to convince you of either of those) but in all likely hood while he doesn't usually put that much into his makeup, he's basically just made himself slightly more ghoulish for Halloween. But it's not a costume for a Goth, I am sorry. Above all do not be fooled by the fairy wings, even if accompanied by antenae and or wreaths, be assured the fairy wings are worn on more than just Halloween, sans the antenae or wreaths on the head of course, apart from Halloween that would be just silly, now wouldn't it!
Now too the uninitiated this may all seem odd and ridiculous, but really the ambiguity around costume at a Goth Halloween party is one of the reasons I enjoy being Goth, our dress is to some extent always costume. It is why my Goth wife has as her e-mail signature the Vivian Westwood quote- "When in doubt overdress." Which means when a Goth really wants to dress in costume you get some amazing and inventive costumes, and this fact made Scary Lady Sarah's job all that more difficult in choosing finalists for last nights costume party.