Asking for a Friend: Avoiding a Halloween party & navigating couple costumes

The Journal's advice-giver guides two students who have Halloween dilemmas

I’m Audrey Helpburn, The Journal’s resident advice-giver. I answer questions about love, friendship, school, and more to help Queen’s students put their best foot forward on and around campus.
Although I’m not a professional, I aim to give the best advice I can to students who need a bit of guidance. This time around, I’m advising two students who have looming Halloween dilemmas: one who needs to study for midterms during the Halloween weekend, and the other who doesn’t know whether to coordinate costumes with their friends or partner. 
I have two huge midterms the Monday after Halloween weekend, but my housemates want to host a costume party at our house that Saturday. They don’t understand why I can’t just take the night off and celebrate with them and our other friends. 
How do I explain to them that I need the house to be quiet so I can study?
Spooked Student
Dear Spooked Student,
The answer to this chilling complication is simple: like with any other housemate dilemma, you need to compromise. 
If your housemates are telling you about their potential party this far in advance, you can try to schedule your studying so that you’re able to take a break for that night. If you don’t feel like this is possible, I think they’re giving you enough fair warning that you should be able to foresee studying elsewhere—the library, a coffee shop that stays open late, or even the house of a classmate who has the same midterm.
If you’re worried about disappointing your friends by not attending the party, make sure to forewarn them that you won’t be able to make it. If you emphasize how stressed you are about doing well on the midterm, they will likely understand. 
Another great way to appease your friends and still excel on the midterm is making a one- or two-hour appearance at the party. Although doing poorly on the midterm may seem like the end of the world, in reality, taking a short break from studying to relax with friends will only do you good. 
Living with other students can be complicated, but when the majority of a house agrees on something, sometimes you have to make sacrifices. If you have the ability to go home that weekend, that may also be a good option for you. 
Living with others is about being adaptable. So if you can find a solution other than asking your housemates to cancel their party for that night, I think you’re making the right choice.
All the best, 
Audrey Helpburn
My girlfriend really wants to do a couples’ costume with me this year, but I already promised my friends we would all be the Spice Girls. 
She’s really upset, since this is our first Halloween as a couple and she was looking forward to dressing up together. What should I do?
If You Wanna Be My Lover
Dear If You Wanna Be My Lover,
If you plan your Halloween right, chances are, you can please your girlfriend and friends. Celebrate Halloween twice, or wear one costume during the day and the other at night. 
I believe in sticking to promises, so if you can only dress up (or afford to dress up) once, I think you should explain to your girlfriend that you made a commitment to your friends and you want to honour it. 
That said, relationships succeed through compromise and adaptability, so be willing to hear her out if she has another idea or solution. 
Worse comes to worst, go out with your friends as the Spice Girls, but be sure to take a Halloween couple photo for Instagram with her. The cheesier the caption, the better.
Best of luck!
All the best, 
Audrey Helpburn

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