How should baby boomers dress up for Halloween?

How should a baby boomer dress up for Halloween? Well, Carol Viau of Waynesville, North Carolina, discovered last Halloween that there was no need to buy a whole new costume: just check to see what you’ve saved in your closet, and dress like a hippie!

Baby Boomers take note: Dressing like a hippie can make you feel younger.



Carol and Paul Viau.

My husband, Paul, and I donned hippie clothes as costumes for Halloween. We weren’t sure what to wear for the two Halloween parties we were invited to attend, but when Paul found a hat in a secondhand store, we knew what to do. The hat said “Former Hippie” and came complete with long grey hair sewn into the cap.

We didn’t have to reach far into our closets to find other clothes to complete the costumes. Being products of the 1960s, we still have tie-dyed items and a few important accessories.

Paul wore a Grateful Dead tie-dyed T-shirt from his Rock n’ Roll collection, the requisite tattered jeans, and a vintage peace symbol pendant on a leather strap that he wore for real in the 1960s. He made a cardboard sign, “Woodstock or Bust!” to accompany his ensemble.

My outfit started with a tie-dyed free-flowing jacket that I have — and still wear — from a Bohemian clothing store in our area. Jeans were a must, of course, plus peace symbolearrings and a flowered scarf tied around my head as a headband. My lone accessory was a daisy, picked from our garden, which I carried as my personal “flower power.”

When we walked into the parties, Paul got right into character saying, “Hey, man, can we crash here?” I went around to the party guests saying, “Peace and Love.”

Everyone loved our getups, and the amazing part was that as we continued our hippie characterizations, we felt transported back in time to that coming-of-age era so important in our lives.

“Like, man, we totally tripped back in time, and it was way cool,” Paul said, feeling the change.

I actually felt younger and very much at peace as the Peace Movement aura overcame me. Partygoers began to say, ”You look so young!” And Paul kept saying, “Like, wow. I wish I had known you then.”

Carol Viau

Carol Viau

The reality is that we were not hippies back then — we were college students in a sorority and a fraternity. But, we were involved in the Peace Movement and lived the campus protests against the Viet Nam war. We cared deeply about ending the war, abolishing racism, supporting the growing feminism movement, and acting on a host of world and national issues.

We were not the “Whatever” generation. We were doers — movers and shakers intent on improving society and bringing peace to the world.

Our hippie costumes and characters prompted a lot of discussion at the parties. There were lots of smiles and conversations about what a pivotal time the 1960s turned out to be in all our lives. Some people talked about how they “almost went to Woodstock.” I fell into that category as an intern in Washington for my home state U.S.Senator Birch Bayh. My friends and I planned to go to Woodstock, but decided at the last minute we couldn’t take the time away from work. Oh, well; “We almost went to Woodstock.”

Here is a recommendation for all aging Baby Boomers — the next time you need a dose of youth, try dressing like a hippie. It will be a conversation starter. You will have fun — and it might just make you feel young again.

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