Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Holidays => Topic started by: quietgirl on October 21, 2013, 12:40:25 PM

Title: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: quietgirl on October 21, 2013, 12:40:25 PM
I have a friend, let's call her Suzy, who is not a fan of Halloween.  Halloween in general gives her the creeps.  She is very afraid of masks, a little less afraid of full face make up.  Masks are worse for her, because you can't really see the person.  I can understand that, people tend to act creepy when they are wearing masks too, as part of the fun.

I have a (2nd) annual Halloween party coming up on Saturday.  She didn't come last year because of her fear, but she's heard about how much fun we had and she really wants to go this year.  I told her that last year no one wore masks or full face make up.  At one point I agreed to text her once the guests were there to let her know if anyone is wearing a mask or full face make up so that she can make her decision on whether to come or not.  I would still do that for her, but she's pretty much been counting on just coming and not worrying about when guests get there, but she also assumes that no one is coming in a mask.

Unfortunately, one of our friends (Curtis) just decided that he's going to wear a cat mask.  I will, of course, let Suzie know and she can make her own decision whether to come or not.

It poses an interesting etiquette question for me though:  To what extent can or should the host of a Halloween Party put parameters around guests costumes?

I wouldn't normally consider telling Curtis he can't wear a mask.  But is that something I should do? 

Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: Really? on October 21, 2013, 12:46:33 PM
Hi

I don't think you can tell people what to wear or not wear, in most circumstances.

Now if this party was a Hallowe'en party for Suzy, then yes. Or perhaps if its being held at a regilious venue (IE some churches where I live will host a party but have certain dress codes, IE No nudity).

Although I feel for Suzy, I'm a little creeped out by somethings also. However I don't attend the parties becuase the phobia is my mine.

Maybe Suzy could plan to attend for 30 minutes and go from there.

Onlyme
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: Kaypeep on October 21, 2013, 12:47:51 PM
This is your friend's problem, not yours.  It's a Halloween party.  Costumes, including masks and makeup, are to be expected.  If your friend has fears then she should be the one to accomodate herself, and if that  means declining then so be it.  I'm not really into Halloween myself, but I'd be really put out if someone invited me to their Halloween party and then told me what I can and cannot wear solely because one person has a phobia.  I'd think it's OTT.  I think you should stay nothing to Curtis, or anyone else for that matter.   You should tell your phobic friend that you're sorry if she won't be able to make it, you'll understand.  But you are not going to dictate costume requirements for the party.  It's just not done.
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: Deetee on October 21, 2013, 01:06:44 PM
It's Halloween.

Your friend with the phobia should stay home. You have no requirement to request that people not wear the most common of Halloween costumes.

Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: Carotte on October 21, 2013, 01:10:12 PM
Will Curtis be wearing the mask during the party?
I was thinking that for drinking/eating or even talking with people purposes he would take it off most of the time anyway...
Do warn Suzy that Curtis will wear one. If the party is big enough she might not even run into him..
Would having her meet Curtis without the mask help her a bit?
If Curtis is a normal and understanding guy I'm sure he wouldn't mind taking it off to say hi to Suzy, or be told beforehand to take it off if he wants to talk to her, but just for a moment/for the conversation.
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: Sharnita on October 21, 2013, 01:11:15 PM
Do they know each other? If I am planning to wear a mask but I'm also a friend of Suzy I might want to have a heads up. As her friend I would rather see her and make her comfortable.
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: flickan on October 21, 2013, 01:22:27 PM
I have a phobia.

Sometimes it prevents me from doing things.

It's nobody's problem or business but mine.  If she cannot cope with the possibility she has no business putting herself in the situation.
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: quietgirl on October 21, 2013, 01:24:53 PM
Curtis & Suzy do know each other and my place isn't big enough that she could avoid him.  I did give her the heads up that he's wearing a mask.  It turns out it's a half mask (like catwoman, but for a man) so only the top of his face would be covered.  So potentially he could keep it on all night.

She's warned though so she can decide what she wants to do. 

I did mention to Curtis that I need to tell Suzy he's wearing a mask because she's scared of them.  It was on IM so he just kinda "lol'd".  I won't mention it to him again.  I don't want to stray into the "telling him what to wear" category. 
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: WillyNilly on October 21, 2013, 01:25:47 PM
I would not attend any Halloween party where guests were told or even asked to not wear masks, face make-up, prosthetics, etc. That, to me is not a Halloween party, its simply a party held around Halloween time. If Suzy has a problem with Halloween costumes - which often include the face - then Suzy needs to deal with it on her own.

Do of course let Suzy know about Curtis' plan since you know it, and if anyone else shows up with their face costumed before she arrives, send her a text. But don't ask people to come in costume and then dictate their costume.
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: Lynn2000 on October 21, 2013, 01:28:49 PM
Although I sympathize with Suzy's discomfort, it really sounds like a Halloween party, and even being out and about on Halloween, are not good ideas for her. If she chooses to do so anyway, I think it's on her if she sees something--perfectly reasonable for the holiday--that upsets her.

The only thing I would do is mention to Suzy that guests at the party might, in fact, be wearing masks or make-up, since you had previously assured her this was unlikely. Then she can decide if she wants to come or not. Personally I wouldn't offer to text her about the costumes once the party started, if only because someone might arrive later or put on a mask/make-up and I wouldn't want to have given Suzy incorrect information--nor would I want to dictate what my guests wore to that extent.

To address the larger question, To what extent can or should the host of a Halloween Party put parameters around guests costumes? which I do think is an interesting one... I seem to recall threads here where people wanted to know if they could say something like, "Guests MUST arrive in costume/guests without costumes will be turned away!" or if someone was rude for attending a "costume party" without a costume. I can't remember what the consensus was, though.

I guess my first thought is, if the invitation clearly states it's a costume party, or a "black and white" party, or something else with a specific dress code (not just formal/semi-formal/business casual), then you know that from the beginning, and if you don't want to dress like that, I think you should decline the invitation and stay home. This is assuming it's just a fun party, and not someone's wedding or some other event of greater significance. It seems a little party-pooper, or attention-getting, to arrive at a costume party with no costume or to wear a bright green dress to a black-and-white party. I think one should think about one's motivation in even attending, if one isn't going to "get in the spirit" of the event.

On the other side, as a host, I just can't see myself refusing to let someone in if they weren't dressed in the spirit of the party. That would be a pretty bold move. Maybe not rude, I'm not sure; but definitely hurtful to the relationship. I would probably let the person in and then next year, not invite them. Maybe I would keep some easy costume accessories on hand and see if the costume-less guest will at least wear that--hat, cape, boa, glasses with the nose and mustache attached, that kind of thing.

I'm thinking of someone who defiantly says, "I'm not wearing a costume." I consider it okay if someone is in normal clothes but has a line prepared like, "I'm a serial killer. They look just like everyone else." In other words I would consider having a costume to be yes/no--I wouldn't say, "Your costume isn't good enough for the party." To me that's taking it beyond the "friendly Halloween party" and if you want to have a party where only serious, time-consuming costumes are used, you should make sure your guest list consists of only like-minded people, like a "Halloween costume connoisseur party."

The only other reasonable limit I can think of would be saying, "This is a family-friendly party, so please keep that in mind with your costumes." If the behavior of one of last year's guests prompts you to think of rules like, "No nudity, no racist costumes, no live power tools or real weapons," I'm gonna say, just don't invite that person again.  :P
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: Tea Drinker on October 21, 2013, 03:31:33 PM
I think that parameters for costumes are okay in the general case, but it should be done well in advance: I'm not much into costumes, but I know that people who are often put significant time or expense into them, and buy/make costumes well before the party. So it would be okay to say something like "no military costumes" or "no costumes that include fake blood or bloodstains" or "nothing that completely hides your face" as long as you did it when you first invited people. For something like an annual party that people start counting on, expecting to go to your house at Halloween and show off their costumes and play whatever games and so on, maybe even tell the regulars "I'm doing something a little different this year. It's still a costume party, but please, no costumes of this specific type."

With warning, I think creative people might take that as a challenge, either time to do something different or "how can I do this character without a mask?" But that should go out with the original invitations.
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: wheeitsme on October 21, 2013, 04:07:19 PM
I think it is very nice that you are concerned, and I think it is very nice that Suzy is trying to take responsibility for her own phobia.

I think, depending on the event, you could make parameters for your guests.  All whites for croquet, black tie for wedding, etc. 

I think that if you wanted to, you could make parameters for a halloween party.  No masks, or no guts-no gory, or super hero theme, etc.  The no masks would be especially important at a large party to make sure nobody snuck in.  The no guts-no gory would be important to some people if they had small children involved in or around the party.  The themed party speaks for itself.

I think it just really depends on the event, the host, and the invited guests. 
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: cicero on October 22, 2013, 02:05:38 AM

It poses an interesting etiquette question for me though:  To what extent can or should the host of a Halloween Party put parameters around guests costumes?

I wouldn't normally consider telling Curtis he can't wear a mask.  But is that something I should do?
it's a halloween party - costumes, masks, merriement are to be expected.

I would tell Suzy that some guests may be wearing masks and let her deal with it. i wouldn't say anything to Curtis.

It's one day a year, one party, if she can't deal with it then she should stay home. It's like vegetarians on T-giving, or people who hate roller coasters and rides at the annual county fair, or the circus for people who find clowns creepy.
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: camlan on October 22, 2013, 05:59:02 AM

It poses an interesting etiquette question for me though:  To what extent can or should the host of a Halloween Party put parameters around guests costumes?

I wouldn't normally consider telling Curtis he can't wear a mask.  But is that something I should do?
it's a halloween party - costumes, masks, merriement are to be expected.

I would tell Suzy that some guests may be wearing masks and let her deal with it. i wouldn't say anything to Curtis.

It's one day a year, one party, if she can't deal with it then she should stay home. It's like vegetarians on T-giving, or people who hate roller coasters and rides at the annual county fair, or the circus for people who find clowns creepy.

The bolded. You don't know if another guest might decide to wear make-up or a mask this year. Suzy needs to deal with her issue on her own. Yes, she might miss a great party. But her choices are to attend knowing that masks and make-up might be there, or to stay home and stay safe.

As a host, your responsibility to Suzy, since you know about her issue, is to warn her that triggers might be present at your party. Not to prevent the triggers from appearing.
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: Winterlight on October 22, 2013, 11:58:27 AM
It poses an interesting etiquette question for me though:  To what extent can or should the host of a Halloween Party put parameters around guests costumes?

I wouldn't normally consider telling Curtis he can't wear a mask.  But is that something I should do?

I don't think you can ban normal costume stuff. I would ban things like Nazi uniforms because that's really, really not funny, but my friends have better sense than that.
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: Amanita on October 22, 2013, 02:28:29 PM

With warning, I think creative people might take that as a challenge, either time to do something different or "how can I do this character without a mask?" But that should go out with the original invitations.

I consider myself a creative person, and I would NOT enjoy reframing  a restriction as a "challenge", especially if it were something like "No masks or full face makeup" at a halloween party. I like to make my costumes as accurate or true to the character as possible, and don't like things which take away from that. Sure, I can replace a sharp sword with a realistic but blunt replica, but if the character has a non-human skin color which requires painting, or wears headgear like a mask or helmet, I'm not going to appreciate having to edit those things out.
 I think the phobia mentioned in the OP is for the person who has it to deal with, it's unreasonable to expect everyone else to conform, and foam-pad things.
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: *inviteseller on October 22, 2013, 03:26:31 PM
I don't think it is fair to change the tone of a Halloween party, where people have fun dressing up, to accommodate one guests phobia's.  You can tell her "Hey, found out there will be some costumes with masks." and let her make her own decision.  I also would not tell her only one is doing it because others may see something between now and the party and decide to wear it without disclosing it.  We all have different things that give us the creeps, but it is on us to control or avoid not anyone around us.  I detest clowns so I avoid places I know they will be and if I am somewhere and there is one (friend had one come to entertain at her kids bd party) I just walk away.
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: blarg314 on October 22, 2013, 10:13:38 PM

I think that if you're phobic about masks and full face makeup, Hallowe'en parties probably aren't a place for you. It's like going to the circus when you have a clown phobia.
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: bopper on October 23, 2013, 12:34:51 PM
This is a Halloween Party for adults, so there should be no restrictions.
If this was a party for Suzy, then it would be okay to be restrictions.

I would tell Suzy that you heard at least one guest was going to be wearing a full face mask and that you want her to make her own decision and you will understand either way.
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: Thipu1 on October 23, 2013, 01:12:54 PM
Keep the costumes PG 13, please.

That's the only 'restriction' I would suggest.

Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: cwm on October 23, 2013, 01:28:14 PM
I agree with PPs, it is not your duty as host to cater to Suzy's phobia unless it's a party hosted specifically for Suzy. Since it's an annual party, I would tell Suzy that as far as you know Curtis is the only one coming in a half mask, but you haven't really restricted it for anyone. Let her decide if she's comfortable coming or not.

Or, there's another option for her, if you're okay with it. Say everyone shows up and there's no masks at all. Then would you be able to shoot her a text and let her know that so she can decide at that point to show up? If it's a party that goes on for several hours and people are freely mingling, it won't matter too much if she's late, or if she leaves early because she gets spooked, right? Yes, it's above and beyond the standard host duties, but that way you're not setting policy on costume and you're still trying to include Suzy.

This year, I'm dressed as a character from Doctor Who. Human, in a dress and a jacket. Nothing on my head at all. But if I got a message from the host saying that nobody could wear face masks or prosthetics I'd probably be tempted not to go to that party. But that's just me personally, I can't speak on that for anyone else.
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: DavidH on October 23, 2013, 02:25:40 PM
If Halloween in general makes her uncomfortable and she is afraid of masks and full face makeup, then a Halloween party is really not the place for her.  This is setting up a problem, and I have to say borders on the SS behavior of you all need to adapt your event to fit my requirement. 

As a host, at the time you invite people, you can specify any dress code you want; but you need to accept that it may affect attendance.  Making it more restrictive later on is not very nice since it can make someone's previous choice of outfit no longer usable.  I think reasonable restrictions would be, suitable for children to see, no nudity, no blood, superhero themed, etc. 
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: rose red on October 23, 2013, 02:36:36 PM
You warned her about Curtis, but it's possible that others will come up with masked costumes at the last minute.  I think suggesting to her the earlier plan may be best.  The plan where you call her once all the guests arrive, perhaps tell her about the costumes, and she can decide if she can deal.
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: acicularis on October 23, 2013, 02:40:13 PM
Halloween gives her the creeps, she's afraid of masks and full make-up, but she wants to come to a Halloween party as long as no one wears masks and make up? I'm sorry, but that's just plain silly. I'm sorry if she feels left out of the fun, but it doesn't sound like a Halloween party is any place for her. There's no way of knowing if some guests will end up wearing masks or make-up, and it shouldn't really be your job to have to worry that she's going to freak out because of it.

Let her know that you know at least one person might be wearing a mask after all, and let her decide if she wants to come. If she comes and gets upset by people's costumes, that's really a problem of her own making.

Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: Zilla on October 24, 2013, 10:13:07 AM
No, generally you can't place restrictions.  Unless it's a kids party for small kids.  Then you can make a suggestion of Please no scary, bloody or gory costumes.


But for adults?  It would be far kinder and more polite to tell her that guests might wear costumes/masks and leave it up to her.  I would also tell her not to try and tell anyone at the party to take off their masks/costumes either. (been there, seen that... ::)  )
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: VorFemme on October 24, 2013, 03:20:08 PM
Halloween gives her the creeps, she's afraid of masks and full make-up, but she wants to come to a Halloween party as long as no one wears masks and make up? I'm sorry, but that's just plain silly. I'm sorry if she feels left out of the fun, but it doesn't sound like a Halloween party is any place for her. There's no way of knowing if some guests will end up wearing masks or make-up, and it shouldn't really be your job to have to worry that she's going to freak out because of it.

Let her know that you know at least one person might be wearing a mask after all, and let her decide if she wants to come. If she comes and gets upset by people's costumes, that's really a problem of her own making.


This does not compute.

I will now wash off the gold makeup from my Data costume and switch to a Betan costume (full human, requires sandals & a sarong because it is a hot planet - Lois Bujold's Vorkosigan series rather than Star Trek or Star Wars).

Logically, a costume party is going to have people wearing masks and makeup.  NOT wearing masks and or makeup makes it that much harder to put together a GOOD costume. 

I'm afraid that the mask & makeup phobic really need to throw their OWN Halloween parties - with apples, pumpkins, and candy for refreshments - but NO costumes.  Maybe a hayride & a maze as entertainment....?
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: The TARDIS on October 26, 2013, 11:14:14 PM
That is coming off as very Special Snowflake of her, and it feeds right into my pet peeve of "because one person cannot/will not/is offended when people do (something) then no one else can do it either."

Suzy is placing herself in the position to be upset. It is one thing if she was hosting, but it is another for her to act as though you will police costumes just for her.

If it was a latex allergy and she was afraid of a reaction from touching a mask or part of a costume such as a glove, wings, tails or shoes, that is an entirely different matter and I would warn guests to be careful none of the latex parts of their costume touch her.
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: rose red on October 27, 2013, 08:08:15 AM
I don't think she's being SS since she's not demanding anything.  It's wrong of her to assume nobody will wear a mask because nobody did last year, but that's not SS as long as she accepts the consequences after she's been warned.
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations - Update #28
Post by: quietgirl on October 27, 2013, 11:02:03 AM
That is coming off as very Special Snowflake of her, and it feeds right into my pet peeve of "because one person cannot/will not/is offended when people do (something) then no one else can do it either."


To be very clear, Suzy did not ask for any special consideration.  She is not a Special Snowflake in any sense of the word.  I wondered if I should ask the other guests not to wear masks.  That thought would never have occurred to her. 

Update:  Party was last night.  Great time was had by all.  No one wore a mask after all.  (Curtis's costume was lost in the mail.)
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: LadyL on October 27, 2013, 01:14:57 PM
I would not enable someone's phobia at the expense of all my other guests, any more than I would make a cocktail party totally dry because of one alcoholic.
Title: Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
Post by: Julsie on November 03, 2013, 02:15:11 PM
What sounded Special Snowflake to me was that she expressed to you that she wanted to be able to attend your parties, that she was sorry to have missed the fun of last year's party and that she would love to attend this year's party if only you would call her to tell her that no one had shown up in a mask.

I feel that she should have kept her angst to herself and not put that on you.  She should just have a personal policy of no costume parties.  It's good that she didn't ask you to ban masks at your party.  But I don't think she should have let you get stressed about it, either.

But I'm really glad to hear that a good time was had by all!  I'm not a doctor but I can't help but wonder if a medication before an occasion like this might be something that she'd want to try.