Many nudists and naturists love to dress up for Halloween. This may seem contradictory at first blush, but it actually makes a lot of sense. More than most people, nudists and naturists realize how much of a costume our everyday clothing is, and how arbitrary the way that we dress ourselves is. (Really, why do we use tops and bottoms, insisting on dividing our bodies that way? It can’t be easier than just a robe or wrap! Neckties, business suits, bras, most shoes and many other items of dress are simply costumes.)
So Halloween is a great chance to go crazy with the idea of costumes: to emphasize how difficult it would be for werewolves to keep their clothes on after turning into animals, to explore how witches might have hosted some of the best forest-clearing nudist gatherings of all time, or to unwrap the truth about what a mummy might not be wearing under his or her bindings. One of my favorite stories from Noodtoonist’s The Bare Pit series is his wonderful Halloween-themed “Tales to Scare Your Pants Off”, which explores these topics with amusing insight. The spooky tales feature nudist vampires, ghosts, and a singularly fantastic were-nudist, complete with shredded clothes, a mob with torches (public reaction to nudists??), and his nemesis: the silver lamé hot pants…
Bodypainting, a nudist favorite, is also terrific for Halloween transformations into superheroes, robots, aliens, fairies, vampires, monsters, etc. Painting a nude body canvas can give the look of being dressed while still allowing for the skin’s constant contact with the autumn chill and the pale moonlight of All Hallow’s Eve, just like in the Halloween streak from my novel Co-ed Naked Philosophy. And then of course, there are those perennially popular jack-o’-lantern streakers!
But maybe for those of us who prefer to be nude when we can, there is a more profound–less superficial so to speak–reason for loving Halloween. When you can’t wait to get out of your clothes and into the sun, you have, perhaps, a heightened sensitivity to life’s fleeting nature. A naturist feels that old theme carpe diem very deeply. Halloween and the Mexican Día de los Muertos resonate because their ancient origins hearken back to the need for a harvest, the absence of the sun (winter), and the cycle of life and death. Nudity, in this light, is a fully embodied celebration of life that serves to more sharply contrast against the bony profile of the skeleton in death. In my novel Co-ed Naked Philosophy, Angela Saucedo, one of the pioneers of a nudist group on campus, imagines nude life as “those Mexican papier-mâché miniatures… the calaveras that depict everyday scenes with skeleton citizens… “el médico”… “el salón de baile”… “la escuela”… “los mariachis”… “el café”… “los marineros”… except instead of Posada’s skeletons… bereft of fleshly exuberance… we’re Rivera’s shapely nudes.”
It’s the fundamental and inevitable embrace of life and death: the skeleton and the flesh that work in tandem to animate or give life. Steve Jobs said it best:
“…almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
Words to remember for a hale and happy, and cleverly-costumed-while-as nude-as-possible, Halloween!