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Remember when Halloween meant dressing up as ghost, a vampire or a witch? Well, if that’s all you’re doing for Halloween this year, you’re going to have a hard time winning on social media and getting any likes for your photos on Instagram. Here are just a few of the ways that social media is changing the way we do Halloween…
#1: Unique costumes you can show off on Instagram
Sure, you can dress up as a witch, ghost or vampire, but serious Instagram users know that the real likes are to be found by going all-in on 100% original costumes that will wow your friends. And that means investing some serious coin in makeup and accessories as well. Your basic costume might run you as much as $100, but you might need to spend just as much on makeup and props.
One big factor in this is the blurring of the line between cosplay (“costume play”) and Halloween dressing up. Big cosplay fans spend all year dressing up as their favorite characters, so Halloween is no longer the one-time-a-year event it once was. Instead, it’s a stimulus to up the ante even more. For real inspiration here, check out the Instagram account for @alysontabbitha – her feed is chock-full of all of her costume concepts, including Padme from “Star Wars” and Wonder Woman. She has even dressed up as Jack Sparrow.
#2: Photo captions that are meme-ready
Everybody wants to go viral these days, and one way to do that is to post a photo with a clever caption or meme-ready quote. There are plenty of sites that are posting examples of Instagram captions that are Halloween-ready, promising that the captions will “creep out” your friends. Thus, social media is encouraging us to not only look good – but also to be witty, entertaining and cool all at the same time. The best way to top off a $200 outfit is with a million-dollar caption.
#3: Public shaming for insensitive Halloween costumes
If you’re planning on using social media to show off your photos from Halloween, a word of warning: in today’s tense political environment, just about any costume can go over the wrong way.
Take the example of the 25-year-old TV actress Lili Reinhart, who back in 2017 set off a tempest in a teacup for the “racially insensitive” photo of herself dressed up as a demon. The problem here is that the demon happened to be one of those black demons from the very darkest depths of Dante’s Inferno, and that means, yes, some people thought Lili (who is white) was dressing up in blackface and mocking African-Americans.
The problem with social media is that it’s difficult to stuff the genie back into the bottle once it’s out. Sure, Lili deleted the tweet and apologized for any distress the photo caused her fans, but you can see the problem here: she had absolutely no idea that the photo could be construed as racist. But now she will presumably have to deal with this issue for years to come. (We still love you, Lili!)
So enjoy Halloween this year, but don’t forget that social media has made this holiday a competitive sport. Even if you don’t’ invest in a super-expensive costume, there are plenty of other ways or #winning Halloween – if you’ve decorated the exterior of your home with cobwebs, tombstones and scary characters, make sure you take plenty of good photos early so that you can post them to Instagram later.