The 7 Types of Halloween Costume and What They Say About You
This year, Halloween falls on a Wednesday, because that's the greatest trick the devil ever pulled -- scheduling the big annual Ghost Apocalypse Orgy on a work night. So hopefully you've already gone to your costume party, or you've made sure you don't have anything important to do on Thursday, or else you're a semi-professional buzzkill and don't celebrate Halloween. If you do have plans for tonight, do me a favor and take a look around while you're out. There's really only a few categories of costume out there, and which one they fall into can say a lot about the people wearing them. Important things like: Are they going to talk to you about retirement funds, or try to stab you in the butt? Should you try to bone them? If so, why, and more importantly, how? Are they undercover cops? Are they one of those "cool" undercover cops that are down with boning potential suspects?
As you can see, it's a terrifying, arousing and most of all confusing time. So before you go hit on that Sexy Naruto or whatever, maybe consult this handy list first and see if it's worth the trouble.
Werewolf, princess, ninja -- these are the kinds of generic costumes you buy in the "costume" section of the grocery store, because you're either a stupid kid who doesn't know better, you're an adult who's not all that into Halloween, or you're just broke as shit and too lazy to make something interesting, so you're hoping that you can slip a Frankenstein or two onto the food stamp card.
If you're a kid, this costume choice is totally fine: Literally any night that you get to wear unorthodox clothes outdoors is basically going to be the best time of your life, so you go on with your bad self. You proudly holler at everybody that "you're a vampire" like it's gonna blow their little minds, get as much candy as your wispy frame can bear and try not to get your weird little kid germs on my doorknob.
Just leave the bowl outside; they're like little petri dishes with adorable speech disorders.
If you're an adult, but you're just answering the door for the trick-or-treaters, this is also an acceptable course of action. Because seriously, who gives a shit? The kids see you as a malfunctioning vending machine, spitting out candy bars into the empty night. They are not going to care what you're dressed as, or if you're dressed up at all -- they only care if you're handing out Smarties, and brother: God help you if you're handing out Smarties.
If you spot the generic-costumed adults out at a party, however, stay away: I promise you that those are the most boring people in the building, and if you engage them, they will somehow manage to turn National Drugged-Up Fuck a Smurf Night into a mind-numbing discussion on the merits of credit unions.
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The Sexy Disguise
If anybody acknowledges the ridiculousness of the "sexy" versions of costumes that some girls wear on Halloween, it's us. But what we tend to conveniently ignore while pointing that out is that guys are just as, if not more, guilty of the same behavior. It's just that, unless you have a pair of those freak chest muscles that dance on command, dressing "sexy" for a dude isn't about showing off your body.
Are you at a Halloween party right now, browsing the site on your iPhone because the generic pirate next to you won't stop talking about community shareholders? Great. Glance up real quick. Check out the men around you: How many truly funny or goofy costumes are in that room? Now, how many are offbeat, but still generally handsome or desirable pop culture references? How many Jokers and Crows are milling about right now? How many Loopers do you count? There's like a million fucking Loopers, aren't there? And they all look kind of pissed off to see each other, don't they? That's because they thought they were the only ones to realize that Joseph Gordon-Levitt looks good with a suit and gun -- just like they thought "guy from Drive" was a unique snowflake last year.
"No, I'm not 'another fucking Looper,' I'm uh ... I'm not even in costume! Yeah, I'm robbing this place! GET ON THE FLOOR, BITCH."
If you are a Looper, don't take that the wrong way: You don't need to feel bad about it. Halloween night is all about mysterious liquids in clearly non-food-safe buckets and strange sex that you don't want to talk about the next day. Just find another Sexy Disguise Wearer -- Sexy Nurse, Sexy Replacement Ref, Sexy Metroid, it doesn't matter -- and move in on them. But know this: Sexy Disguise Wearers are all racist ... in that they will only mate with other Sexy Disguise Wearers.
DO NOT APPROACH the Sexy Metroid if you're dressed as "the most realistically gruesome zombie" or "spot-on Fat Albert." Sexy Metroid ain't lookin' for you -- she's going to end her night mackin' with Inigo Montoya and grinding on Aragorn, maybe cap it all off in a recursive three-way with some multigenerational Bruce Willises (Willii?).
The Slapdashes completely forgot about Halloween until they rolled into the office, opened up their online bank account in one tab and Cracked in the other, saw the title of this column and just now realized that they only have like six hours to think up a passable costume using only paper clips and Post-it notes, otherwise they're going to look like the one asshole who doesn't want to play along for their office Halloween party.
PROTIP: The answer was right in front of you all along! Just paper clip everything to your shirt and go as "your desk"! Take off your pants: Boom! Sexy Your Desk!
For every stunningly successful Sexy Desk, however, there will be at least one "normal guy with a paper sign taped to him that says his costume on it." The name tag will say something like "workday" or "Jim from The Office" or "ennui" -- they're trying desperately to be clever, but it never quite works out for them.
"I'm dressed as 'Quality Assurance,' when really I'm in Developme-hey, where are you going?"
I know that, at a Halloween party, your gut says to avoid this guy like the plague, but that's wrong. This is not a bad dude -- this is just a dude who is bad under pressure. He probably had a lot of work to get done that day, and while you were busy trying to hang half a sandwich from your tie with a crooked paper clip, he was filing reports. Be nice to the man, maybe flirt with him a little (if applicable, or if you're drunk enough that society's confining gender roles no longer apply). Because odds are, when you show up tomorrow so hung over that merely shifting your eyes causes the world to spin, he's the one who will be doing your job while you discreetly barf into a filing cabinet.
The in-joke is by far the the most popular type of costume. It's probably what you're going as this year: You're a shitty pun, or an abstract concept, or an intentionally obscure pop culture reference, because you're like 24, and you think you're just the fucking best. Making a good in-joke is your way of subtly signaling to other partygoers that you are a clever, thoughtful, worthwhile and totally Smurfable human being.
I know it's weird that I'm harping on this, but seriously, if you get the chance, you fuck that Smurf. You'll understand.
But this is a fallacy: Even the most perfectly executed in-joke will still only impress people with the exact same narrow, insular interests as you. Maybe your group of friends will appreciate the costume, but they're so goddamn jaded with you that they throw elaborate dress-up parties just to meet people who aren't you. And those new people probably won't share your hobbies: There's going to be, like, one fat dude on the patio who spends enough time on the Internet to get your "hip-thrusting guy from 'Gangnam Style'" costume, but everybody else is going to assume that you're just some kind of gay cowboy. That means you'll be spending most of your night explaining your costume to everybody you meet, and being disappointed when they do not understand or do not care.
Trust me on this one: I did this shit for like a decade. It's not worth the effort. You'll start the night as a period-correct Quint from Jaws, after spending months trolling thrift stores to find the perfect cable-knit sweater to complete the look, but by the end of the party you'll be telling Sexy Big Bird that you're "a hillbilly" just so you don't have to recite the Indianapolis speech for the hundredth time.
You completely forgot it was Halloween, but unlike the Slapdash, you don't have anywhere to be. This year, you're going to go as "you, but in a sensible sweater," and the only place you're "going" is "to bed early."
Let me say this up front: I love the Overachievers. I have nothing but respect for you guys. I love the way you go half-mad and full-bankrupt just for a single disposable costume; it bespeaks a kind of childlike enthusiasm and earnestness that's worth a thousand sequinned mini-skirts and half-assed pop culture references.
But if you're not the overachiever at your party: Stay away from them. The Overachiever's costume is genius in theory (and a handful of pictures), but in practice it's usually cold, awkward and alienating. They can't hear shit through their custom-welded BioShock Big Daddy diving helmet, their Aliens forklift-loader claws just knocked over the entire bar and, while it's rad that they can transform into a fully functioning car, that just means that they're going to be catastrophically drunk driving around the living room in a few hours and they're wearing way too much plastic armor to be stopped.
"I'm Drunklebee, you can't stop me! Hahaha, your screams only fuel Drunklebee!"
The Overachiever is a walking disaster area waiting to happen, and you're going to be their collateral damage. Just give them a solid "Fuck yeah" and maybe slip them five bucks or something -- they've sacrificed everything in their lives to show you that bitchin' costume. They're probably going to wake up empty tomorrow, and they'll need a beer and a sandwich to get them through the postpartum depression.
The Bearded Guy
The bearded guy is easy to spot: He's the guy with the beard. You have no fucking idea what his costume is supposed to be, but he sure does have a beard. Byron Beard, inventor of the beard? Who knows? Listen: I know it's a shitty costume, but it's not his fault. The beard demands commitment, and any facial hair but the most basic of moustaches severely limits one's costume choice. Please, do not judge us: Our options are slim.
Sure, Bearded Guys will land on the occasional spot of genius -- we have our Richie Tenenbaums; our Fat Jim Morrisons; our Hagrids -- but those references only stay fresh for so long.
Chubby bearded guys everywhere: You are welcome.
This year, at best, we've got Robert Baratheon from Game of Thrones. But most people won't guess it -- they'll assume that we're either just "a knight" or "a crazy homeless guy trying to crash the party." If you see the Bearded Guy at a Halloween party tonight, don't ask him if he's a terrorist or Paul Bunyan; just say "nice costume, man" and leave it at that. He knows you don't actually get it, but he's sad enough to take the gesture for what it was: sweet, sweet pity. If you're dressed up as Smurfette, maybe hit up some of that mystery punch and start thinking about how he looks like your dad a little bit ...
Buy Robert's stunning, transcendental, orgasmic science fiction novel, Rx: A Tale of Electronegativity, right here. Or buy Robert's other (pretty OK) book, Everything Is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead. Follow him on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook.
For more from Brockway, check out Cooking with Terrible Horror Movies: The Perfect Omelet and Choose Your Own Misadventure: Tripping at a Costume Party.