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World Goth Day

Updated on November 12, 2014

"We enjoy the night, the darkness, where we can do things that aren't acceptable in the light. Night is when we slake our thirst." -William Hill

To some "goth" is a look, to some it's a belief, to some it's a way of life.

Goth subculture started in the 1980s, an off-shoot that matured and grew up and away from the punk culture of the day, and moved to take its own place in the shadows. While it does embrace a darker outlook, that doesn't mean it's negative. You might be surprised how many people think of themselves as goth who don't stereotypically look it, or how many people might look "goth" to you who abhor the term.

Although Goth has become something that's moved much closer to the mainstream, there are still unfortunate instances in the world where Goths are derided and even attacked just for how they look. With World Goth Day, here is a chance to celebrate and share the beauty of the dark.

Relache, 2012 Vampire Masquerade Ball
Relache, 2012 Vampire Masquerade Ball

Every day IS Halloween

the evolution of Goth

When I first saw girls with pale skin, bold hair and lots of eyeliner in NYC back in the 1980s, they were all just called "punks." And sitting on the sidewalk outside CBGB's waiting for the all-ages shows to start, I used to think about how I was going to look like them. I got a lot of crap and bullying in high school for making it clear I didn't like to think like everyone else and not looking like everyone else just brought more hassles. But I did it anyway.

Then I went to college 3,000 miles away, in Santa Cruz, CA and my first day on campus I saw a girl just a year or two older than I who had a full head of liberty spikes and a black leather trench coat. And no one seemed to think anything was "wrong" with that. I knew I'd made the right decision to get the hell away from New Jersey.

Sometime while I was in college, punk began to morph and tiny segments began to break away on their own, and by the time I graduated in 1989, there was this thing called Goth. The arrival of NIN and "Pretty Hate Machine" sure helped, and all the folks who secretly listened to the Cure let loose with their eyeliner and never looked back.

Now I'm in midlife, and a really strange thing has happened. I see people who look and think like me everywhere. They work in coffeeshops, they appear on television shows and people buy black baby clothes with Misfits logos on them. My favorite part of the whole thing? I can get black lipstick and nail polish year-round now, and don't have to stock up on fake dark-brown-but-not-really-black Wet N Wild crap at Halloween time.

It Doesn't Have To Just Be Black... - a lighter shade of Goth

portrait of Relache, 2011 Vampire Masquerade Ball
portrait of Relache, 2011 Vampire Masquerade Ball

As much as I've embraced the color black for the last twenty-five years or so, it is possible to lighten up the Gothic spectrum. Purple, red, blue, pink, green and even white can work in a gothic context. You can choose to do a few subtle highlights or you can make the color the base of your look. Here I am from the 2011 Vampire Masquerade Ball in Portland. Purple-blue hair, metallic blue lipstick, dark blue eyeshadow (brush over those brows to get them to match the hair) and a vintage royal blue brocade smoking jacket topping off a black men's Renaissance shirt and leather pants.

Ominous Sounds - a gothic soundtrack

Goth isn't just about how things look, it's also about the sounds of things falling apart. Whether you call it alternative, industrial, ambient or darkwave, that's the sort of sounds you are looking for...

What's Your Take On Goth?

Is being a Goth all the inner beliefs or the outer appearances? Or do you need both?

What makes a Goth?

Is this a day of celebration? Or somber observance? Or is everyday just Halloween to you?

How Do You Do World Goth Day?

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    • schwarz profile imageAUTHOR

      Rae Schwarz 

      4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      @smine27: Some of us never grew out of it....

    • schwarz profile imageAUTHOR

      Rae Schwarz 

      4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      @Lady Lorelei: Goth has expanded and grown a lot since it first began. It is more fun for me now too.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      4 years ago from Canada

      I didn't like the original goth when it first emerged but I do enjoy the fun look that it has now evolved into. Very playful.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 

      4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Wow, this is such a cool lens. You know, I used to be so into Goth when I was in my teens.

    • Nightcat profile image


      6 years ago

      Every day is Halloween. I come before goths, a metal head, complete with black outfits, leather jackets and black makeup. Some days. But most folks must lump Wiciians and Goths together anyhow, though I have no idea why. Great lens, blessed! :)

    • TeacherSerenia profile image


      6 years ago

      The only goth I know of is Abby on the TV series NCIS. And hs eis a lot of fun - she wears a lot of black and white is she is not always dark and gloomy. It helps that she has a bubbly personality as well.

      I do agree with the anti-establishment (or non-conformist) attitude though - I do that myself. So while I wont dress as a goth, I do have a Goth's attitudes. Personally I prefer the steampunk genre.

    • KateHonebrink profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm afraid I missed Goth Day - I'll try for next year! Congrats on being featured on the May Silly Celebrations monsterboard!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Interesting information but the culture is much to dark for me. I prefer the light.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Well, I missed this World Goth Day, maybe next time I'll done some goth attire and listen to some goth music. Congratulations on your selection in the Best of Squidoo May Silly Celebrations. *Blessed*

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm going to drink a cup of black coffee. Yeh, this is the best that I can manage. Thank you for making this lens.


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