Midwestern Gothic Style Guide: How to Dress for the A-Camp Dance

If you’ve ever been to A-Camp before, you know that on the last night of camp, we send things off with a bang by having a themed dance that’s always amazing. This year we’ve taken it to the next level and selected Midwestern Gothic as our theme, and I wrote a little story to describe the aesthetic of the dance. Being from a small, conservative farm town in Idaho, I was able to jump right into this world.

You’re driving down the highway on your way to a-camp. You’re going within five miles per hour of the speed limit. You’re always driving down the highway. You’re always within five miles per hour of the speed limit. You’re looking for a party. The signs say “Midwestern Gothic.” The signs are written in what looks like blood, but maybe not human blood. Not animal blood either.

A local girl named Charlotte Jo has gone missing. You’ve seen the billboards asking her to come home. You’ve seen posters hung in windows of abandoned houses. You wonder what happened to her. Then you see rusting billboards, three of them, rising from the side of the highway. “HELL IS REAL,” “CHARLOTTE JO IS ALREADY THERE” and “ARE YOU NEXT?” You no longer want to know what happened to Charlotte Jo.

You continue driving through endless fields of corn that are only punctuated by churches, plastic lawn furniture, exits for far-away outlet malls, and ominous garage sale signs bearing ominous arrows. You continue driving through endless fields of corn that not only have ears, but eyes and mouths.

As you walk down the street, every blonde, blue-eyed farmer’s daughter (there are so many farmer’s daughters) you see smiles and says “hello!” only to follow up with “don’t go into the woods, there are strange women in the woods” in a hushed voice as they walk past you.

The land here is empty. Empty and flat and repetitive. So empty and flat and repetitive. So empty and flat and repetitive. So empty and flat and repetitive. So empty and flat and…

You stumble upon a wedding outside a church that advertises “We’re Your Only Hope Now.” Everyone is crying. None of the tears are happy tears.

Finally you get to your destination. You would guess at how many days you’ve been driving, but it always seems like it’s dusk or midday, there is no inbetween.

The barn party has been advertised at every Waffle House, seedy motel and outlet store for miles. You had to come here, you had no choice. You’re drawn to the bonfire, you’re not frightened by the raccoons who are feasting on on the litter and garbage that covers the lawn, you can feel your heart beating along with the croaks of the frogs and the yips of the coyotes. How old are the dancers? What gender are they? What species are they? They’re just dancers, and now, so are you.

Do you understand now? If not, here are some of the looks I’m hoping to see on the dance floor. Also, remember, makeup and accessories are a big part of this. Smear that blood red or black lipstick, give yourself raccoon eyes, let that mascara bleed, got some fake blood? That’s perfect.

Child of the Corn


90s Style Overalls, Vero Moda Plait detail Trilby HatSomedays Lovin Temple Embroidered Bralette, Battleboro Sneaker Boots

King and Queen of the Old High School


Queen – Always be my JV Cardigan, Essential Elegance Midi Skirt in Black, Give Credit Where it’s Duo Top, Rosary Strand Cross Earrings, Ember Black Crystal Tiara


King – Spell it Like it Is Jacket, Athena Black Polo, Icon Midnight Jeans, Witch Hunter Black Pearl Crown

Farmer’s Widow


Jam Girl Dress and Sweetest Spread Fascinator in Crimson, or Curated Cartographer Dress in Goldenrod and Sweetest Spread Fascinator in Black with 50 Denier Lace Top Holdups

Small Town Preacher


Keeper Shirt, The Dietrich Blazer, The Cooper PantRegal Rose Medusa Double Snake Head Chain, Beaded Bow Neck Tie



Brando Tank, Sunfade Jeans, Black Icon Boot, Faux Leather Biker Jacket



Fly You Foals Earrings, Phase Go By Watch, Be Prepared Collar Pin, Choker Neck Tie, Denim Bib, Victorian Lace Collar

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Mey Rude is a fat, trans, Latina lesbian living in LA. She's a writer, journalist, and a trans consultant and sensitivity reader. You can follow her on twitter, or go to her website if you want to hire her.

Mey has written 572 articles for us.


  1. Your Midwestern Gothic story is exactly what I want autumn to feel like! Wandering around an abandoned corn maze as the fog rolls in, melancholy people selling apples at a farm stand by the side of a two-lane highway, strange women in the woods…fall has the best aesthetic!

  2. OK, I think I’m taking this story too seriously, but the Midwest isn’t empty and flat and repetitive. It’s rolling hills and forests broken up by fields of corn or cows or apple orchards or lakes. Also, Idaho isn’t part of the Midwest.

  3. Ahh MEY I love this! Also my phone always autocorrects your name to be all capitals because I am seemingly always excited about something you’re doing! Alsoooo totally pinned that Ouija jacket. I already got my outfit for the dance this weekend and I think you’ll be proud.

  4. This is all so perfect and I want to be every one of these because I’ve lived in the Midwest my entire life, and am recently getting into goth/witchy things. So essentially this theme is magnificent and I am SO EXCITED for Saturday!!!!!!!

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