There’s something magical about Halloween. It’s a holiday that’s fast been emerging as many people’s favourite. One at which we eat even more treats than at Easter, party later than New Year’s Eve and drink almost as much liquor as it takes to get through Christmas with our families. But what is it that makes Halloween so special?

Halloween means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To children, of course, it’s a night to take over the neighbourhood on a quest to fill as many pillowcases as their little arms can carry with candy of all ilk. The candy haul, roughly the equivalent to one adult foot lost to diabetes, is the immediately apparent allure of Halloween, but the real magic at work on this quaintly heathen celebration is something else. It’s the freedom they have to be whatever they want to. Whatever their tiny little brains can fathom, without bound or constraint, up to that at which their parents’ limitations have stunted them.

For one fleeting night a year, they can truly be whatever they put their mind to, without suffering the crushing disappointment that will come later in life when they realize that that favourite encouraging maxim of parents and teachers alike is the most widely-spread and rancorous lie perpetuated against children in the Western world.

This reveling in being someone or something else doesn’t ever leave us. Though it does recede for a time into the scornful wasteland of teenagedom, where it is just one of thousands of things heaped in the scorned pile of fuckin’ lame stuff that we’re totally better than. But, as adults whose dreams have been chopped down to a debilitatingly realistic level, this longing to live briefly as someone or something else returns to us. Much in the same way the nightly crying and bed-wetting of our childhood returns with renewed fervor. (Right?)

With make-up and masks and costumes–and, of course, the most effective modifier of all, liquor–we allow ourselves to let loose in a way that we’re not able to any other time, because we aren’t really ourselves. This is what leads to crazy parties where werewolves poop in potted ferns and Draculas wake up in the beds of Pink Power Rangers. Or the bed of one of the other Power Rangers; like I said, it’s a night to be someone else, and maybe Bill from work wouldn’t let his curiosity lead him to Green Ranger’s basement bachelor apartment to blow on his mystical dagger-flute, but perhaps Disco Dracula would.

Yes, it wasn’t Mandy who accidentally backed her car into the fence, it was a cat inexplicably wearing a corset. It wasn’t Tim who puked in the fish tank, it was one of The Avengers. The one whose super power is being a huge asshole, apparently. It wasn’t Jake, John, Sue, Thom, Terra, Miguel, Sophie or Liam who spilled red wine on the carpet, it was one of any number of zombies who didn’t get the memo that zombies have been played-out since like five years ago.

It can be a night of passion and discovery, where Gina and Phil, both too shy and awkward to tell the other how they feel, are finally able to ignite a romance as Wonder Woman and some dwarf or gnome or some shit from The Hobbit or whatever. A romance that blossoms and shines brighter as the jack-o-lanterns grow dimmer, and which goes on for five years longer than it should as they resign themselves to the blandness of each other and try desperately to recapture the spontaneity of that night.

Whether planned for months or thrown together last minute, made by hand or bought from a cheap novelty store, classic and instantly recognizable or so pretentiously esoteric that the whole party has to suffer through the same inanely recondite explanation each time someone new arrives, everyone is essentially dressing for the same reason.

For that little bit of adventure that takes them away, however briefly, from their mundane lives of offices and taxes and AA meetings and lets them act out in mischievous ways that they can only do in a spooky alternate universe where ghosts, witches and goblins exist, and STIs don’t.


Photo by hanna_horwarth via Flickr

“In the regular world, Halloween is when children dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, I’m sure this Mean Girls quote is of the most recognized in our modern culture. When I first watched this movie almost ten years ago at the ripe age of 15, I laughed hysterically and was like “OMG SO TRUE!” and sure enough, the following Halloween, I’d donned my shortest skirt, tightest top, and a pair of improvised cat ears for some lame high school party. Done. I don’t even think my face was made up to look like a cat- but I was a sexy kitty with pretty hair so what did it matter?

kidstowomenLadies, haven’t you ever noticed how strange it is that as children we were encouraged to dress up elaborately for Halloween, yet as soon as we hit puberty, we start taking advantage of the holiday as a time to reveal our tatas and what not? The other day, the well known PolicyMic social justice writer and a dear personal friend of mine, Elizabeth Plank, pointed this out when she uploaded a picture of kids costumes and sexy costumes side by side in a store. The caption of her photo read: “This #halloween shop wants to make sure little girls know exactly what’s expected of them later. #NotBuyingIt”. My favourite feminist makes a point: In the past, I myself along with plenty of other women in my age group (and beyond) went from dressing up in our childhoods as innocent cats, witches, and princesses to sexy cats, sexy cops, sexy nurses… Dorothy becomes sexy Dorothy- thank you for ruining my childhood. A bee becomes.. a sexy bee? How the hell does that work? What’s so sexy about pollination!?

I’m not bashing the desire to look hot on Halloween, ladies and gentlemen. This holiday is a day of release, and in our culture, it is a day where most rules should be forgotten. However, we have the right to look hot every day, not exclusively on a holiday. Really, a woman should be able to dress like a “total slut” if she wants to every single day of her life, and no one should say anything about it because it’s HER choice at the end of the day. But we should take a minute to think that for the most part, women are being encouraged to strip down for Halloween, and this should be a choice, not an expectation… and frankly, the whole lingerie+bunny ears thing is getting kind of boring.

So as long as you’re still procrastinating your costume… why don’t you keep these tips in mind.

My List of Commandments for creating your Halloween costume:

-Thou Shalt Not Buy Into Media Induced Expectations (We’re living in the 21st century, after all.)
See rant above. If you want to look like a “slut”, do it, but know that you don’t HAVE to. Lingerie+animal ears aren’t the only option you have. College freshmen/women under 20, I’m looking at you.

-Thou Shalt Not Dress Offensively: sure, you have the right express your inner self (blah blah blah) on Halloween, but come on. Don’t blackface yourself. Don’t add detail to your eyes to turn Asian. A race is not a costume. And please, for the love of God, and this is coming from an Arab: PLEASE. Don’t dress as a terrorist. It’s not funny, it’s rude. Be considerate of who you might offend.


-Thou Shalt Not be Wasteful: If you must purchase something for your costume, choose wisely and welcome it into your wardrobe. We all know the drill: you buy one of those shitty packaged Halloween costumes that you wear once, spill beer on, never wash, and never wear again. That’s totally wasteful. You would be surprised with the treasures you could keep from Halloween costumes past! One year I was.. well, something that involved a leather skirt, Doc Martins, a short black wig, and a whip. I’d purchased a pleather corset top from Cruella especially for the occasion. Three years later, I’m pairing that top with high waisted, long billowy skirts and calling it my “Carrie Bradshaw”outfit. It has gone from costume to respected staple.

-Thou shalt raid thine closet: You’ll be surprised with what you can come up with, especially if channeling an iconic figure like John Lennon, Marilyn Monroe, Janis Joplin, or Bob Dylan.

1374950_658002757552380_1661427143_n-Thou shalt respect the classics: Whatever happened to being a witch, a ghost, a pumpkin, or a ghoul on Halloween!! Did we throw all those costumes away to become nurses and pop stars? I’m personally bringing the witch back this year, and I’m so excited. I haven’t been a witch since I was 8 years old!

-Thou Shalt Own It: Own what you wear, honey. Strut your stuff, and be creative. Halloween is the funniest night of the year, after all.

And the final commandment: Thou Shalt attend the Glam Gam production, Tales from the Crotch on October 31st at 10pm!! I’ll see you all there, and if you’re wearing a costume, it’s 10 bucks admission. If you’re being boring, the price to pay is 15. nyahahahahahahahaha!!

Alright my pretties, have yourselves a wonderful Halloweek, and don’t forget to enter Forget the Box’s costume contest. See the link below for more details!!!!

Halloween Costume Contest: Disguise for Prize 2013

It’s been three years since Glam Gam took to the stage on Halloween, a holiday that is perfectly suited to our special brand of ridiculous burlesque. It was in that show that I made my solo debut as Jizzika Unklean, birthing an alien baby to Ace of Base and devouring it onstage while painted green from head to toe. This year we’re reaching back into the freakiest parts of our twisted souls for Tales from the Crotch, a 24 Hour Halloween Cabaret that will put a smutty spin on the beloved Tales from the Crypt franchise.

Let’s clear one thing up first: it’s not a play that’s 24 hours long. We do like singing, dancing and taking our clothes off, but even we need to sleep sometimes. Rather, it’s a production that is cast, rehearsed and staged, all in 24 short hours. In order to pull off such a feat, we’re seeking vampires, serial killers, demons, witches, mummies…. Oh wait, I mean actors, singers, dancers, theatre geeks, circus freaks, burlesque performers, musicians, artists, set builders, costume wizards – you name it. We want you! Come to Café Cleopatre at 9pm on Wednesday, October 30th to pick your role, get your script and start rehearsing.

Maybe you haven’t been on stage since appearing as Tony in a high school production of West Side Story the better part of a decade ago. Or perhaps you’d be popping your stage cherry, gracing the worn floorboards and facing a live audience for the first time. You’ve always been a bit of an exhibitionist, now it’s time to explore. If the stage isn’t really your thing, you could always just lend a hand with props or costumes and watch the actors sweat down to their skivvies from the trap door.

We’ve broken the roles down to three categories: Luscious Lead (*may require full or partial nudity), Scantily Clad Chorus, or a Camel Toe Cameo. Our call is open to professionals and amateurs alike, all roles are up for grabs. Be forewarned though: you could have to sing, you might dare to dance, but above all else, you must be prepared to be ridiculous.

And as completely insane as it sounds, ready or not, the curtains will be drawn 24 hours later and a play will be performed. For more information or to fill out a registration form, visit… actually you should probably check it out anyway because there are lots of sexy pictures of past shows.

Finally, please cum and check out the show on Halloween night, Thursday October 31st at Café Cleopatre (1230 St. Laurent). Doors open at 9 and the show starts at 10 sharp. It’ll cost you a mere $10 to witness the spectacle, or $15 if you dare to come uncostumed… but who goes out on Halloween without a costume? This show is a fundraiser for our 2014 Montreal Fringe play. Will we succeed in pulling off this seemingly insane undertaking? Or will we fall flat on our naked butts??   Either way, it’s entertainment!

You can find out more on the show’s Facebook page

Ever since I can remember, Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, as it combines two of my all-time favorite things: dressing up and candy! When I was really young and before my brother and sister were in the picture, I always dressed up and went trick-or-treating with my dad in home-sewn costumes that had to be big enough to fit over my snowsuit. Growing up in Saskatchewan, I can’t remember a single Halloween where there wasn’t at least a foot of snow on the ground.

We made quite the dynamic duo – him dressed as Sylvester the cat and me as Tweety Bird, or him as a big, grinning red devil and me as a smiling little angel, garland halo and all. My personal favorite was the year he glued white cotton balls to his blue-painted face to be the Papa Smurf to my gleefully giddy Baby Smurf.

It wasn’t until I got a little older that I noticed my costume choices were less about playing dressing up and more about dressing in as little as possible as I succumbed to the pressure of the increasingly shorter and sluttier Halloween costumes of my peers. Whether in a white cropped tuxedo jacket and tails as Playboy Bunny in my first year of university or this year’s Austin Powers inspired, fuchsia marabou-breasted Fembot get-up, I’ve enjoyed the exaggerated versions of femininity that Halloween allows me to try on for a night.

sexy indian costumeAnd while sexy costumes and Halloween seem to go together like too much candy and a bellyache, it made me wonder when and under what circumstances this trend began. As early as the 10th century, the Celts celebrated the end of the harvest with a festival called Samhain, which was halfway between the autumn solstice and the winter equinox. During this time, they believed that the souls of the dead became restless and re-enter the world of the living. The Celts would don costumes and masks as an attempt to confuse or ward-off these wandering spirits.

The anonymity of the mask definitely played its part in the development of the sexy costume, as evident in the masquerade balls that were among the social calendar highlights of the 18th and 19th centuries. Just like today, it was easy for Victorians to eschew their personal morals and ideals while donning the dress of another, at least for an evening or two.

“Respectable women would wear pantaloons or short skirts and milkmaid outfits when they went to costume parties. At the masquerade parties in London, you had costumes with a degree of body exposure. You also had artists’ balls–in Paris especially–where you had revealing costumes and some nudity.” says Valerie Steele, director of the Museum at FIT.

The birth of the contemporary incarnation of the slutty Halloween costumes naturally seems to be in that glorious decade of sexual liberation, the 1970s. It was then that a more raunchy and racy version of Halloween was liberated it from church basements and community centers and thrust into nightclubs and the streets, such as in New York’s famously scandalous Halloween Parade. Of course, this was also the decade that we were treated to the deliciously deviant Tim Curry in a skin-tight, sparkly corset in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, inspiring millions of trashy Halloween costumes for decades to come.

And as cheap, plastic costumes from overseas became more easily available to the point where you can’t even walk into a Pharmaprix or Dollarama without seeing at least two aisles full of glittery masks, synthetic-looking wigs, brightly colored makeup, or eerie accessories in the weeks preceding Halloween, women’s choice became skimpier and skimpier, mirroring the trends in fashion of the time, a slippery slope that we have descended into a world where sexy baby costumes exist.

While there are certain looks that should never be given the sexy Halloween treatment, the like the Sesame Street characters coming under so much scrutiny this season, it definitely is fun to put on a ridiculous outfit and the personality that comes with it, especially for people who don’t get to engage in this act as often as I do in all my burlesque glory.

There is also a growing movement of women who fight against this trend of slutty costumes in an attempt to take back Halloween . They suggest dressing as one of your favorite female historical figures, goddesses or feminist icons, proving there are other options for women beyond just sexy.


This Halloween their is a big ol’ costume party happening at Apollon/Katakombes (1450 Ste-Catherine), and the drinks will be deadly! (1.50$ beers & 2$ shots)

For the first time ever some of Montreal’s best talents will be coming together to throw one hell of a party and raise some serious money for ACCM (AIDS Community Care Montreal).

Oct 31st 2012, Disco Dungeon takes over Apollon for a night of dancing, drinking and freaking.

For one night only Katakombes will be transformed into a haunted dungeon with shocking sights and fearful frights lurking around every corner. While Apollon upstairs will relive some studio 54 glory as dead celebrities take back the night and the dance floor. So be there dead or alive but don’t miss Hallow’s Eve Disco & Dungeon!

Music by:






“It’s close to midnight” Yup, was busy with the first real night of Halloween celebrations last night and preparing for a show I’m participating in on the last night. Took me a while to get this post up, but not a minute too soon, because…

“Something evil’s lurking in the dark” Not so much evil as creative, inventive, fun and a little bit weird, just like Montreal at Halloween time. And Halloween is upon us once again.

Since it’s already started, I’m just going to jump right in, stop cleverly quoting pop tunes, and let you know where you can find some of the the things that go bump in the night this year…

Halloweeird Costume Ball: What better way to kick off your Halloween (unless you went out last night) then by kicking off a new bar. Pom Pom War, P/do P/dro & Cast of Fictional Characters will be joined by Atomic Entertainment and perennially raunchy Glam Gam Productions at the opening party for Jackie & Judy. It’s also a costume ball, the Hallowweeird Costume Ball to be precise and there will be prizes for the best costume.

Saturday, October 29th, 9pm-3am, Jackie & Judy | Rococo Bar Spectacle, 6512 ave du Parc, corner Beaubien, $5

Gaybash: Did you know that Zombie Voguers were infecting Montreal. The folks at GayBash do and that’s the theme of their latest party, which is bound to be huge and wild, as with pretty much all of their previous events. Tonight’s event features special guest The House of Bogue, deranged clowns Sally & Tyler and live performances by the Eklectiks & Tony Vice and much more.

Saturday, September 29th, 10pm to 3:30am, Cherry, 417 St-Pierre, $20 at the door

Blood Ballet: What would Halloween be without a little blood or a lot of blood for that matter. Blood can also be sexy, too. Don’t believe me? Then check out The Blood Ballet Cabaret on Devil’s Sunday. The show’s Facebook event page promises that this “night full of blood, boobs and booze” will be the troupe’s bloodiest outing yet. Judging by previous BBC shows, you should probably believe them.

Sunday, October 30th, 8pm, Le Belmont, 4483 boul St-Laurent, $10

Rocky Horror: If there’s anything that says Halloween in Montreal, it’s Rocky. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is back and this time the Montreal cast, host Plastic Patrik and all the sweet Transylvanian Transvestites will be at the Imperial. The opulence of this classic theatre provides the perfect backdrop for throwing stuff and yelling things at the screen, so if you’re a pro at this or a Rocky virgin, head on down.

October 28th (woops, missed that one), 29th and 31st, 8pm and 11pm, Cinema Imperial, 1430 Bleury. $17.95 in advance, $19.95 at the door (+tax & service)

Haunted Mountain: There’s no doubt that Montreal is a city with many ghost stories and haunted places. One such place is our very own mountain. Turns out Mount Royal has quite a few ghosts inhabiting it’s slopes, paths, nooks and crannies and horror expert Donovan King knows where they are. If you’d like to know too, King’s offering a haunted guided walk up the mountain, at night of course, visiting, among others, the ghost of Esplanade, Jack McLean and the Haunted Fenicular and the child victims of the Alan Memorial Institute.

Monday, October 31st, 8pm, meet at Barfly, 4067A St-Laurent, reservations 514-842-1467, $15

* Pumpkin image by Roni Mizrahi

Halloween was always my favorite holiday as a kid. My birthday’s just around the corner, with a little bit of rationing you can ride the sugar high well into the New Year, and best of all, you get to dress up and play someone else for a day.

Fast forward twenty years and not much has changed. I still stuff my face with mini size chocolate bars for two weeks in October (and one week in November, when they’re 50% off). I’m also enthralled with the idea of donning strange and unfamiliar threads to see what version of myself they unleash. Dress up for grown ups!

Unsurprisingly, give us ladies an inch and we’ll want to take five more off. I think Tina Fey said it best in her screenplay for Mean Girls, “in Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”

And while putting on a sexed-up caricature of a nurse’s uniform, police office or pirate may be liberating, is it even relevant these days? With all the reinforcing of traditional heterosexual stereotypes, sex columnist Dan Savage even likened Halloween to a straight pride parade.

He cites a particularly disturbing costume of a “sexy coroner” as evidence that we’ve gone too far in objectifying everything. Similarly, an “Anna Rexia” costume depicting a meager skeleton that includes a measuring tape belt was pulled from online stores this Halloween. While I’m not exactly shocked that an outfit that like exists, I’m a little taken aback. There are so many ways better ways to be sexy than comparing yourself to someone with a serious mental health issue.

My best advice would be to think outside the box. Why settle for sexy nurse when you can be a trampy tramp? Slap on a beard and a tall black hat and you could be Baberaham Lincoln. Invent your own superhero, like my friend Booze Crotch did. She was Pornarella, who brings sex to the unfuckable! Or try something wry like carrying around a box of Special K and a butcher knife and calling yourself a serial killer.

Creatively is always more intriguing that one of those overpriced, run-of-the-mill Leg Avenue costumes. Halloween is the best time to think about who you’ve always wanted to be and try it out for night. You might be surprised how much you like it.

A father and son duo in one of the best moments of 2011 Toronto Zombie Walk

As I figure out what direction my life should take next, I’m enjoying my time living in downtown Toronto with a house full of musicians. With my room on the main floor of the house, I often overhear interesting conversations at all hours of the day and night. This past Saturday I found myself drawn to get out of bed early as I overheard the conversation going on in the kitchen:

“Do you have the bag of sores?” one of my roommates said cheerfully as bacon sizzled in the background.

“It’s right here! Where’s the jugs of blood?” the other responded lazily, putting on the coffee machine.

Pulling myself from bed, I discovered that my roommates were going to spend the day working on a zombie themed music video for their band BLIX, with the climax taking place at the 9th annual Toronto Zombie Walk. I was immediately eager to help out, since I hadn’t worked on a video shoot since the last episode of the FTB web show JC Sunshine’s Fireside Chat.  I was also just as interested to learn what this whole Zombie walk thing was all about.

Turns out Zombie Walk is not a purely Toronto phenomenon. On October 22nd Zombies infested major cities all across Canada, including Montreal (seriously, why haven’t I heard about this before?). In Toronto the march began and ended at Trinity Bellwoods Park. Perusing the Zombie Walk website you see that one could have their “undead memories preserved forever” by signing up for the pre-march photo shoot, and ghouls were also on hand to “give you a severed hand with any blood touch ups needed”. One couple it seems was so interested in making their Zombie Walk special that they decided to get married that day, in full zombie gear.

As a crew member of the BLIX video shoot I was happy to have a warm outfit on that crisp Saturday afternoon while my companions ran around in their skimpy zombie costumes. But I must admit, I was a little disappointed my warm jacket wasn’t also covered in blood and guts like everyone else. It was a bizarre but delightful environment to be around; I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how elaborate people of all ages were in creating their undead attire.

BLIX performs for some eager onlookers at the 9th annual Zombie Walk

Taking a break from the video shoot I was fascinated to wander around Trinity Bellwoods park, taking pictures and chatting with people at the event. Everyone there was happy to share with a stranger their interest in Zombies. “This is her second walk!” one mother happily told me as I took pictures of her young daughter. The toddler ran around the park in a princess dress covered in blood. “Can you give the lady your best zombie growl?” the mother asked her daughter earnestly before they left to go take part in the march. The whole scene made me giggle. You gotta love baby zombies.

Zombie Walk takes place every October in major cities all across Canada. Also make sure you check out BLIX’s video “Moon Song” which debuts on October 29th. Check out BLIX’s tumblr page: