“Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.”
― H.P. Lovecraft
For behold! It is Halloween season, and the world turns its eyes to Steampunk!
I would like to say that I know this because I’m deeply attuned to the cosmic resonances and the Ley lines. secret knowledge from both extraterrestrial and earthly sources, and thus I have a perfect awareness of when Steampunk is rising high. But actually, I just tend to keep an eye on how popular certain search terms are in Google. Which is almost the same thing.
It does seem a little peculiar to me that steampunk gets so much attention during the Halloween season. I can understand that Steampunk includes certain styles of dress, and while am highly biased, I find those styles to be simply smashing, iridescently wonderful, splendid beyond belief. Okay, yes, I’m definitely biased. But seriously… Is it just because people want to be Steampunk once a year, on Halloween?
Because usually, when you want to be something for Halloween, it is a thing that doesn’t tend to exist, or thing that we are not. Usually, people who dress as serial killers on Halloween are not actually serial killers, unless they have a tremendous sense of black irony. Usually, those who dress as ghosts and ghouls and goblins and zombies are not any of those things. (They are instead vampires were waiting to get you into a false sense of security so they can suck all of your blood, but that’s another story). My point being…
There such a surge of interest in Steampunk when Halloween comes around…and yet, I don’t see tons of people dressed as steampunks for Halloween. Why is that?
I have my own secret, private theory, and I’ll share with you real quick:
The thing about Steampunk is that it doesn’t really have a barrier to entry. If you want to be our goblin for a day, you can be a goblin on Halloween and maybe an office party and maybe a costume party. But unless you actually are 7 feet tall with giant fangs and purple skin, you will find it difficult to maintain that particular more fake structure and image. Best to do it only once or twice a year at most; otherwise, it’s just too hard.
Steampunk’s not like that.
Absolutely, a lot of people entering Steampunk are very worried that they will not dress right, they will not look right, they will do something wrong. But as I’ve often written, that is not the case. Steampunk welcomes you. What you bring to Steampunk, no matter how “basic” or “amateur” or “weird” it might be–is something that enriches it, not something which is incorrect. There ain’t no such thing as incorrect steampunk. Come in with a whole heart, and you come in ready to make something joyous. You make us better, and we are grateful to you.
So then. What happens with the Halloween Steampunks?
It might be fancy, it might be whimsy, but in the back of my head, I truly believe that people who want to play around with Steampunk for Halloween might, in fact, wear their gear on Halloween. But then they kind of realize that they could wear it more often if they wanted to. And if they do, the world becomes a sillier, a more magical, more peculiar, a more creative place.
Halloween is a day to become something you are not, and feel safe doing so. Steampunk is a place where you can become something that no one is ever been, and claim it for your own. And you can do that every day of the year. And it is wonderful.
Happy Halloween! And glorious Steampunk to us all!