Author Topic: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations  (Read 4914 times)

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quietgirl

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Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
« on: October 21, 2013, 01:40:25 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? 


Only me

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Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2013, 01:46:33 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

Kaypeep

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Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2013, 01:47:51 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.

Deetee

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Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2013, 02:06:44 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.


Carotte

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Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2013, 02:10:12 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.

Sharnita

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Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2013, 02:11:15 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.

flickan

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Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2013, 02:22:27 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.

quietgirl

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Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2013, 02:24:53 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. 

WillyNilly

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Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2013, 02:25:47 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.

Lynn2000

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Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2013, 02:28:49 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
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Tea Drinker

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Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2013, 04:31:33 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.
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wheeitsme

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Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2013, 05:07:19 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. 

cicero

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Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2013, 03:05:38 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.

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camlan

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Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2013, 06:59:02 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.
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Winterlight

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Re: Halloween Party Guest Accommodations
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2013, 12:58:27 PM »
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.
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