General Etiquette > Holidays

Halloween Party Guest Accommodations

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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? 


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.


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.

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.

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.


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