From costume parties to the Yale Symphony Orchestra Halloween Show, Halloween is, for many Yalies, a fun, creative opportunity to dress up and celebrate. However, Yale’s Communication and Consent Educators, or CCEs, have recognized that some students face barriers to participating in these festivities — and recently launched an initiative to alleviate those pressures.
Through the initiative, the CCEs aim to make Halloween more inclusive by selling costumes at a reduced price on the Yale Free & For Sale Facebook page. The CCEs began selling costumes about a week ago, originally from their personal inventories, with the hope that other people in the Yale community would follow suit. By promoting different costume options, the CCEs hoped to tackle both the financial and creative challenges of putting together costumes, according to Patrick Sullivan ’18, a CCE and the project coordinator for the initiative.
“We recognize that costumes can be a source of stress for some people for a variety of reasons,” Sullivan said. “That’s why we wanted to provide some sort of campus-wide costume marketplace where there are ideas being shared, so not only are students getting access to different kinds of costumes, but they also have new ideas for what kinds of costumes are out there.”
Sullivan added that the costume initiative reflects the mission of the CCEs, which is “to foster a more positive sexual and social climate on campus,” according to the CCE website.
Jim Huang ’18, another CCE who worked on the project, emphasized both the simplicity of the initiative and the importance of promoting inclusivity on campus.
“Sometimes we don’t recognize that disrespect exists on all sorts of axes, sexual and not, and one form of disrespect is the ability for some students to make others feel inadequate if they don’t have super chic, expensive Halloween costumes,” Huang said. “We thought this [initiative] was a really easy, low-cost way of reminding people that there are a ton of avenues by which you can participate in Halloween.”
Even though this was the CCEs’ first year selling costumes on Free & For Sale, the organization has hosted Halloween-related events in the past, such as costume-making sessions and costume contests. According to Sullivan, the CCEs hosted these events to allow students to start thinking about their costumes earlier than usual and to explore a wider range of costume options they might feel comfortable wearing.
Huang also described some of the previous actions the CCEs have taken during the Halloween season, such as setting up “intermediate spaces,” where students can stop between parties. In the past, the CCEs have hosted Halloween movie nights before parties and photo booths where students can unwind before moving on to their next destination, he explained.
Kueho Choi ’21 agreed with the intent of the costume-selling initiative, but expressed some doubts about its effectiveness.
“It’s definitely a positive route that the CCEs are taking, in the sense that they’re allowing the opportunity for anybody to get involved,” Choi said. “But I think you can definitely make a costume on your own that costs a total of $10 instead.”
Naoka Gunawardena ’18 said she is unsure whether the initiative actually increased the number of students selling their costumes on Free & For Sale, pointing out that many students have sold their costumes on the forum in past years.
The CCEs are comprised of 49 undergraduate students who, in addition to working on Halloween-related projects, host mandatory workshops for first years and sophomores during the first month of the school year.
Amber Hu | firstname.lastname@example.org