Tuesday October 29, 2013 | 08:00 AM
Posted by Rob Gould

Cassidy Keene of Rockland decked out as Big Bird for Halloween festivities last weekend.

Halloween is a big holiday. Huge. It's now right up there with Thanksgiving and Christmas as far as participation. The costume business is booming. Everyone wants to be an original. Or, at least to be in-style or on-trend. Now, we've thrown social media into the mix. The result? It appears that dressing up for Halloween has hit a certain Internet-influenced turning point this year.

Costumes are claimed on Twitter, posted on Instagram, pinned on Pinterest, and liked on Facebook. An original idea is able to be shared immediately with thousands. How are we supposed to keep up with that?

According to a recent article in USA TODAY:

"Costumes are celebrated and critiqued as fast as Internet memes, bits of viral culture that quickly rise then flame out. And while any cultural anthropologist — or person with a pulse — could have guessed that Miley Cyrus' made-for-controversy performance would spark debates about hypersexualization and cultural appropriation, few would have guessed that her fashions would spark a conversation about when a Halloween costume is topical or tired."

So, it's easy to feel stuck about how to dress up in a way that is topical without being passé. And, parents with kids have a double-challenge. It would seem to me that this might mean that people will start to gravitate towards the old standbys—witches, ghosts, Frankenstein, Elvira ... you know the drill.

As for me? I've never understood the rabid fascination with Halloween. I don't like costumes. They mess up my hair.

So, to really get the scoop, I thought I'd ask some people what they thought about the subject. Here's what I got:

"My Halloween costume needed to encompass all that I had learned happily in my 30s. I had just lost over 40 pounds, and I was feeling it. I am 6'4", and I wanted to do something playful, sassy, sexy, and cheeky. I got the Big Bird idea and couldn't wait to bomb into every party I could and plaster it all over Facebook. It was my way of saying, 'my days of crying over my genetic oddity height are ov-ah. I'm super tall, super fun, and I make this look good.' So with the help of my amazingly talented mom I turned into my vision of Big Bird, and the Facebook likes haven't stopped rolling in. It's always most important to be able to laugh at yourself, and let everyone else join in the joke too. Social media is the perfect place to do that."

- Cassidy Keene, Rockland see photo above ...

Rocco Grosso

Camilla Grosso

"I gave it some thought and honestly other than posting our pictures, social media has zero influence on our Halloween. We go straight-up creative, scary and easy. Nothing trendy - the only way that someone would leave our house in a Miley Cyrus VMA twerking costume was if it was zombified."

- Angie Grosso, Cape Elizabeth

Kurt and his son

"Social media did not have an impact on our Halloween costume choices. Our son is the mastermind behind the costume choices in this family.  Last year he was Buzz Lightyear and asked my husband to be his pal, Woody.  Kurt gladly obliged.  This year he will go as Spiderman and Kurt may get his Superman on.  We will see... Of course, we're looking forward to sharing the photos on social media with family and friends."

- Meghan, Portland

Nella Yurges

Nella & Letta Yurges

"We chose the costumes for the girls because they both really like the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. They especially like Piglet and Tigger, so there you go. Social media didn't really have anything to do with it. We did go online to find the actual costumes and we'll definitely use social media to share photos with everyone."

- Josh Yurges, Hallowell I interviewed Josh last April. You can find his interview here.

Murphy & Duncan Karu

"I love how social media expands the fun of Halloween. I think it makes us social media butterflies amp up our costume game. I definitely keep photo ops in mind on Halloween, so I can share the fun on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook."

"Halloween has always been a favorite holiday in our house, but now that my children are grown, my poor dogs, Murphy and Duncan, bear the brunt of my Halloween enthusiasm. They're usually happy to dress up, because they know there will always be bribes of cheese after the costuming. Let the spooky fun begin!"

- Candace Karu, Cape Elizabeth I interviewed Candace last month. You can find her interview here.

Lanna Lee Maheux

"Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. The kids and the costumes, a lot of fun, really. I think it has a lot to do with my parents. They love Halloween too."

"You ask how social media makes it different from the time before social media – well, now there is the expectation that if you do dress up for Halloween that you would post a picture about it. And it raises the bar about what kind of costumes one would wear. Well, presumably, I tend to not let myself get too hung up about it: I think it is mostly because I have so many theatrical and artist friends, that their costumes always eclipse mine. Which is fine.  But I can’t buy a costume off the rack and I am disinclined to spend a lot of money for something I would wear only once. Funny, when shopping for costumes this year with my Mom she said my brother and I would go up in the attic to get our Halloween costumes."

- Lanna Lee Maheux, Westbrook, Lounging with LannaLee


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Social media has changed the way that many of us learn, purchase, interact and explore the world around us. And, things are just getting started. Social, Social is a place to discuss social media with people from all walks of life. No experts allowed.

About the Author

Rob works as a digital marketing & public relations consultant to agencies, brands, and individuals. He has 20 years of marketing experience. He also currently serves in a volunteer capacity as director of pr/communications for TEDxDirigo. From 2005-2011, Rob served as director of social media & agency communications at The VIA Agency (Portland). Prior to VIA, Rob worked with several PR & advertising agencies in London & Boston. He is a graduate of The University of Vermont (UVM) and a Maine transplant (2002).

Follow Rob on Twitter at @bobbbyg

His real-life interests include art, travel, writing, design, psychology, the beach, & exercise (grudgingly at times).

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