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Halloween is without a doubt my favorite holiday of the year, but let’s face it, it’s primarily meant for children. A lot of adults still try to horn in on the fun though, dressing up in costume, going to parties, maybe even trick-or-treating. But it’s never quite the same as it was when you were a kid though. The free-flowing creative spirit of choosing a costume just isn’t the same once you put on the shackles of life in the adult world. It’s a lot harder coming up with costumes when you have the social pressures of adulthood to deal with. That’s why I believe that most adult costumers fall into one of sixteen basic archetypes, which I have conveniently listed for you below. Without further ado, let’s get on with the list:

Insanely Zealous Fanatic

Only fit for the delusional or insane, these costumes take weeks if not months to prepare. They often include real working parts, and may perhaps even provide more practical functionality than the actual thing they’re trying to replicate. We’re talking lightsabers that actually cut through steel, and web-shooters that have a greater range and resiliency than Spider-Man’s would if he were real. This is the guy who lands on your front porch with a working jet pack.

These costumes may also be riddled with the most minute details that no one on earth will notice, like authentic Egyptian hieroglyphics painstakingly carved onto the interior of the alien’s battle helmet. But those details are important, man! Because they add to the overall authenticity of it, and so what if no one else in the room knows about it, because the person wearing the costume will know, and if they don’t believe in it themselves, who else will?

Minimal Effort Expended (aka Lazy Bastard)
wow, that must have taken you... SECONDS to put together!

This is the fat spinster secretary in your office who lives with three dozen cats. She’ll show up wearing cat ears hoping to win the annual corporate costume contest. Then, when she wins some consolation prize for a really lame and condescending category like “Best False Ears” that was obviously made up on the spot, she’ll spent the rest of the day weeping quietly into her rapidly dwindling box of prize chocolates. You see a lot of these at office costume contests, schmucks who think they can just slap on one or two “wacky” accessories and suddenly they have a costume worthy of whatever lame grand prize is being offered.

Obscure Character Reference That No One Will Get
Uhhh, Ace Ventura?

This is the guy who thinks that by simply donning a Hawaiian shirt, he is suddenly transformed to all before him into Wash from “Firefly”, or that if by wearing the same t-shirt that Brodie wore in “Mallrats”, everyone will instantly recognize him as that character despite the completely different facial features, hairstyle and build. Or he could be dressed as an extra in that one arm wrestling scene from “Over the Top”. The point is that nobody knows. Usually this costume absolutely requires the person wearing it to act a certain way in order to come across as the character. Unfortunately this usually translates into “act like an annoying wanker who pisses everyone else off”. And still no one will know who the fuck he is.

Sex Jokester

Oh ho, what a card this guy is! There’s at least one of these at every party, who thinks he is sooooo clever and sooooo original, and by God, he is going to get laid tonight! And it’s all because of his hilarious t-shirt that says “BOOBIE INSPECTOR” in bold black letters, or perhaps the lab coat, surgical mask, and loud constant proclamations that he is in fact a gynecologist. Either way, he fantasizes about being the life of the party when he puts together his costume, while in fact he may as well be wearing a blinking neon sign that alternates flashing the words “desperate” and “loser”. The saddest part? There will be women at the same party who fall for his hijinks and he actually WILL see some action, even if it is just the occasional drunken grope and fondle.

Verbal Explanation Required

This is the annoying person whose costume has absolutely no apparent visible elements at all, and has to walk around whatever party he finds himself at explaining his costume to everyone he comes across. “I’m a Republican! See, cuz I’m wearing a suit! Isn’t that crazy?” Or perhaps the costume involves an inside joke that not everyone is privy to, and thus requires explanation whenever he runs into someone not in on the joke. Or maybe it’s just a single word written on a piece of paper, taped to the front of his shirt, as if he’s supposed to be some clever abstract concept, and you just have to imagine what the costume really looks like. Everyone secretly hates this guy.

Recent Movie Character

Oh, this one’s creative. This is the reason why last year you saw at least fifty different Neos and thirty different Boromirs running around. And of course, at the time of purchase, each one of these guys thought that they would be the best costume of the night, because naturally everyone will know who they are. They were, after all, in the summer’s biggest blockbuster movie. Unfortunately everyone else who saw that movie also wants to be that character, which is why you may find yourself inadvertently recreating the “burly brawl” scene between Neo and hundreds of Agent Smiths in your living room when you host a party. If you’re gonna go with a movie character, go with an older one.


This actually isn’t a real costume, this is just some sign-wielding religious nut who thinks that Halloween is the Devil’s holiday and is all too happy to tell you about it. All in the interest of saving your soul, of course. They can be great fun at parties, unfortunately this usually requires a field trip from the party to actually encounter one. You can easily find them in force while trick-or-treating though. They’re the ones who sneakily try to close their blinds after you ring the doorbell, knowing full well that you’ve seen them sitting there watching “The 700 Club” but pretending they didn’t notice anyway. Or better yet, they’ll be handing out Jack T. Chick tracts instead of candy. Now that’s what I call a treat!

Sexy Sex Monster
oh so sexay :o

This is the girl who dresses up as an unnecessarily sexy [fill in the blank here]. It could be a vampire, it could be a witch, or a devil, or a zombie, or a space alien, but rest assured, it will be overly sexy. And it will involve fishnets and fake bat jewelry. Because naturally all female monsters are smokin’ hot, and we do all like to see them properly represented that way. Every once in a while you’ll see someone go all out and make something like a hairy werewolf or a walking pile of kitten skulls sexy, and you’ll wonder how they did it. But I say to you, even werewolves and walking piles of kitten skulls need to attract mates. Can’t we overlook horror in the name of love?

Last Minute Random Pathetic Conglomeration

This is what happens when you have someone who vaguely has a notion of going out and doing something for Halloween, but ends up either forgetting or procrastinating until the last possible minute, and then frantically scrambles to find a costume on the war-torn shelves and racks of Party City or whatever temporary costume shop is breezing through town. It soon becomes apparent that on the afternoon of October 31st, slim pickins are all that’s left to choose from. When all that’s left is Count Pop, Alf, that “Scream” guy, and random parts and pieces of other costumes, you go with the parts and pieces. Which is of course exactly what -RoG- and I did last year, and that’s how we ended up as the Hawaiian Ninja of Liberty and the Hawaiian Lizard Monk.

Over-Sized Man Child

Oh, this one’s creepy. This is the guy who wears a costume that’s either made for kids or it looks enough like it’s made for kids that it probably should have been. This guy shows up wearing one of those crappy trash-bag looking costumes with the character that you’re supposed to be printed on the front of the costume, rather than actually looking in any way, shape or form like the character depicted. He’ll either be bursting the seams of his costume like the Incredible Hulk or the costume’s proportions will be so disturbingly off that he’ll look like a complete moron.

Drunk Parents

Okay, this one isn’t a real costume either, but you’ll see plenty of them out that night, with an angry demeanor and plenty of kids in tow. Daddy’ll be red-faced and tearing into a bottle of Jack in your front yard while his kids go up to your front door for candy. You’ll also know them by the trail of cigarette butts they leave behind. Don’t make any cute comments to them about their non-costumes, or you’ll likely be gargling glass bottle shards before the night is through.

Lovecraftian Horror

No, this isn’t some Greater Old One manifest direct from the pages of an H.P. Lovecraft tale, this is actually much much worse. This is some delusional nutso who thinks that they can cram into a skimpy Wonder Woman or He-Man costume with a couch potato physique. Like the Over-Sized Man Child, they are near to bursting out of their costumes, but in an entirely different manner. Somehow, on Halloween, all sense of social propriety departs from their brain and they suddenly think that yes, everyone DOES want to see their flabby ass pouring out of a fur diaper. You can also frequently find these types at anime and comic book conventions year round.

Creepy Child Molester
kill me.

You won’t find this guy at any parties, he won’t have an interest in them. But you will find him cruising slowly up and down the neighborhood in his non-descript white van, ogling little Power Rangers and Pokèmon with a lecherous eye. Or he might be a home, eagerly waiting for little children to come up on the porch so he can invite them to reach into the sack of candy he has resting on his lap. Stay the fuck away from this guy, unless you’re going to make an appointment between your boot and his nutsack.

Nostalgic Clinger

This person is in their thirties and still dresses up like Optimus Prime, Darth Vader, or a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle because they just can’t let go of the past. Not that there’s anything wrong with dressing like that. But they carry it to a whole new level, perhaps trying to get their friends to dress along with a them they’ve chosen (“This year we’ll all be Dreadnoks!”) or enthusiastically running around and making fake laser noises at everyone they come across. So long as they’re in their costume, you’d think you were dealing with a child, because they’re going to act like one.

Drag Queens

This is a costumer with a serious need to express something that goes a little deeper than mere Halloween attire. We all knew that guy when we were growing up, usually some jock in high school, who decided he was going to be a girl for Halloween. Sure you are, pal. And then you’re going to be a girl next week down at the club, and next thing you know you’re doing a drag show down at Manhole’s on Tuesday nights, with a $5 cover charge and a throng of devoted fans who know all your musical numbers. “Trick or treat” indeed.

Wacky Hybrid Combo

Are you frustrated that everyone else seems to have great costume ideas while you’ve got nothing? Not creative enough to come up with something cool on your own? No problem, just do what this person does. Take two relatively common, boring costumes that don’t belong and mesh them together. Instant comedy! You can be a Mexican Ninja (which is what I’m doing this year)! Or a Cowboy Astronaut! Or a French Soldier! Or a Caring Republican! The possibilities are endless. This may sound similar to the Last Minute Random Pathetic Conglomeration, but this is usually comprised of two distinct entities coming together rather than a bunch of random parts, and is often planned well in advance rather than thrown together at the last minute.