Written by: Ron Bricker
Halloween is not just for the kids, especially if you don’t have any, and as adults we are often still called upon to come up with a killer costume. Whether you decide to attend a party, go to a bar, or fly your freak flag at a club, you cannot ignore the responsibility you carry when choosing how to represent yourself on the least holy of holidays.
There are a few things to be mindful of, but if you consider the following questions and use this handy guide, you’ll be assured a safe, happy, residue-free October 31st.
What’s your mode of transportation?
It is essential that you take into account how you’re getting there.
If you are driving, can you drive comfortably while wearing your costume, or will you need to don it once you get to the party? If you have your eye on building a killer Flight of the Conchords Robot Future costume, you should think about the fact that it may not fit in your trunk.
If you are a user of the public transit, think hard because, friends, it doesn’t matter if it’s Halloween night or Halloween weekend, most of the people you encounter will not be dressed up. This absolutely sets you up for weird looks and a couple of costume-specific comments (ie. If you’re dressed as a clown, ‘Hey are you here to arrest me? I saw that episode of COPS!’ If you answer ‘Why, are you a hooker?’ The transit police will wind up getting involved. Trust me.)
If you’re hitch hiking, you probably shouldn’t dress as Jason or any other slasher movie character (including vampires – everyone’s afraid of vampires) unless you want the hairiest, scariest truck driver you ever saw to pull over. And you know you can’t wriggle out of taking that ride once they pull onto the shoulder of the highway.
Then of course there are motorcycles, scooters and bicycles, but if you use one of those and haven’t figured out how to dress for them while still be dressed to go out, I certainly can’t help you. (Okay, I’ll help a little. I don’t know why I’m feeling so generous. It must be the spirit of the season. You probably want to rule out anything with a mini-skirt or wig, and forget about that Beer Bottle costume you bought last year on the November 1st clearance rack… unless you want to attempt riding sidesaddle. I wouldn’t suggest it.)
Who’s on the Guest list? Co-workers, parents, and others you don’t want to show your ass to?
The guest list should certainly be a factor in choosing your costume. Often women take the opportunity to wear something slutty, since they feel like it’s a sort of ‘do what you can’t do in real life’ attitude. This is not wise, because as comfortable and drunk as you feel on October 31st, you will not be pleased that creepy Richard in research saw your hot pink ruffle butt panties. Therefore you should forget about being a dirty schoolgirl, Elvira, and a cheerleader. Similarly for men the Gynecologist costume might seem hilarious when looking at the photo on the cardboard in the package, egged on to buy it by your buddies, but I assure you that your feminist co-worker, who is moments away from being promoted over you, will not soon forget it. And even the morally questionable receptionist will not deign to sleep with you.
My friend’s cousin suggested that he go as one of the Dick in a Box guys to his work’s Halloween party. Debate raged as to whether this would be funny or inappropriate. I, personally, need more information. Will he put his junk in the box? Actually on second thought, maybe either way he should abandon that idea right now. It’s best to steer away from any blatant penis reference, I always say. Let’s err on the side of not getting fired.
You also need to be careful, as many party hosts light candles to add to the spooky ambience. In light of this, I would caution against being a flapper (your feather boa might catch on fire), a witch or ghost (too many flowy pieces hanging off your costume), or any color Power Ranger (polyester melts on contact with heat.)
Going to a bar or a club instead of a party?
Bars on Halloween are often a good alternative to going to a party. Even though the booze isn’t free, you are more anonymous and you never know who you’ll meet. You need to prepare for the possibility that you’ll find yourself drawn to that hot little Pirate sitting alone in the corner. In order to make your move, you must be able to sit in your costume (you might need to perch on the conveniently open bar stool next to the Pirate). It also needs to have easy access for any drunken after hours activity. And you might be wearing it home the next morning. Imagine doing the walk of shame in a Bumble Bee costume, your antenna bopping every step. This pretty much rules Edward Scissorhands (for safety reasons) and all “concept” costumes (ie. A clothes dryer, a bunch of grapes, or a “deviled” egg). Let me take this opportunity to warn you against any of those “concept” costumes. If you voluntarily walk around all night reciting a pun, there is no chance at the booty.
This advice also applies to going to the club.
If you’re like me and go to a club, intent on revving your dancing machine, you need to remember a few things. Most clubs don’t let you wear wings. Plus it’s very difficult to walk through crowds or dance. So if you have your heart set on being an angel, black faerie, or Paris Hilton after she died falling out a window and had to pleasure Saint Peter in order to get into Heaven, you should reconsider. Also, if you’re planning on dancing your ass off, do you want to be laden with all kinds of constrictive layers, a hot rubber mask, or an unwieldy wig? That kills Bride of Frankenstein, a Mummy, and Richard Nixon.
Have a date?
Your main squeeze trying to talk you into the cute couples costumes? Perhaps Peter Pan and Wendy or any other couples costume that dictates the man wear tights? (only do this if you want to get hit on by gay couples), or if you are a gay couple Batman and Robin is tired, as is Xena and Gabrielle (although you will also probably get hit on by gay couples – unoriginal ones). Other no-no pairs are A Brick Layer and a Brick or a Plug and an Outlet (thank you for awkwardly making everyone imagine your intimate moments)…. All I have to say is if you don’t get beat up I am offering to do it as a public service.
All this discussion of safety, appropriateness, and comfort aside, really the #1 most important requirement for a Halloween costume is that it be instantly recognizable. So if you intend to go as some obscure television, movie, or comic book character, I would advise you to re-think. Having to walk around telling everyone who you are, then following that up with an explanation will only get in the way of your drinking. Think about it.
I know that we’ve ruled a lot of options out here. I don’t want you to feel discouraged, though. I do have a solution.
If you want my opinion, and clearly you do because you haven’t stopped reading this yet, the only acceptable costume option is a lumberjack. It is comfortable, non-sexual, non-constrictive, and warm. If you go as anything else, don’t say I didn’t warn you.