Halloween is already coming up and there’s always a ton of pressure to avoid the awkward encounter with a person wearing the same costume as yours. If you’re looking for a unique costume for this Halloween, how about trying these costumes inspired by Korean history and culture?
1. Netherworld Emissary
Koreans believe in the existence of the Netherworld Emissary, who guides your soul to the places it has to be. In ancient Korea, people did believe that the Netherworld Emissaries come pick you up when your death is near. They are invisible to all people except those who are in their deathbeds. You can tell if your death is near if you see the Netherworld Emissary, because they only reveal themselves to those whom they have to take. What do they look like then? They wear all black – a black traditional hat, called ‘got,’ and a set of black ‘sobok,’ Korean traditional clothes. In some Korean literature these days, they are often depicted with black suits reflecting modernized society. Whichever you choose, don’t forget to paint your face white and never smile to reflect the mercilessness of the death.
Do you have long, black hair? Then there’s a perfect costume you can do on Halloween with the lowest cost: Virgin ghost, a.k.a.’ Cheonyeogwishin.’ How to dress up as Cheonyeogwishin? Pretty simple. You wear a white hanbok called sobok and put your hair down. But don’t brush your hair. More tangled it is, more real it seems. Blood is totally optional. Virgin ghosts never smile either. A girl becomes a virgin ghost after she dies because she has unresolved angers called ‘han.’ Express your han the best way you can: think of your ex-boyfriends or friends who annoyed you. Virgin ghosts don’t usually attack people. All you will do as a virgin ghost will be standing somewhere, staring at someone with a face full of han.
Who said you can only dress up as ghosts on Halloween? Hanbok, a Korean traditional dress, is also a great costume for Halloween. Hanbok was widely used during the Chosun dynasty across the country. However, as time passed, people wore it only for special occasions. A lot of fashion designers around the world have praised the beauty of the Hanbok. It will be great to wear it on Halloween to just show how beautiful the hanbok is. Hanboks are pretty pricy these days, but there are lots of places where you can rent a hanbok for a day or hours. If you want stories embedded into your costume, you can also choose to dress yourself up as famous Kisaengs, such as Hwang Jini. As artists who entertained yangbans and sometimes kings, Kisaengs wore the most glamorous hanboks. Why not break the “scary Halloween tradition” and start a new trend of glamorous Halloween?
4. K-pop Artist
Do you like K-pop? Why not try K-pop this Halloween? There are many different boy and girl bands in Korean pop music fields with their distinctive styles. You can pick whichever style you want to be like and choose the girl/boy bands accordingly. For example, if you want to go cute or child-like, watch Oh My Girl’s music videos and try to dress up like one of them. Their songs and styles are known to be very cutesy. If you want to go with ‘girl-crush’ kind of outfit, try 2NE1’s or even Black Pink’s music videos and styling. Style your outfit like their album cover, and hymn their songs as you walk into the party. Even dance to their songs if you can! Be a K-pop star for the night.
By Hailey Cho