Halloween Costume Ideas

With Halloween fast approaching, I’ve been seeing a small jump in traffic due to people linking to my old Operation costume (a working costume modeled after the board game).

Each year, whenever Halloween comes around… I get nervous, and tend to overplan or overthink my costumes. I have a tendency to want to do something grandiose for a costume. Couple that with a bit of procrastination, and well… it get silly. Sometimes I think my plans for Halloween work really well. Othertimes, I work things up so much in my head – I end up not dressing up for Halloween at all. Which is a terrible outcome.

So I figured – if other people are thinking about costumes, why not recap some of the ones I’ve had? I love Halloween as an event, and every year I chose NOT to dress up? I’ve absolutely regretted it.

I feel strongly that dressing up for Halloween keeps you young. Don’t believe me? That’s fine. Just come talk to me in another 60 years.

Here’s a quick round-up of the past Halloween costumes I’ve done. Some are a bit more involved than others, but with more than a week until the big day… I think there’s still plenty of time to pull any of these off. Additionally, I’ve got a few other links to parties and events that should showcase other people’s costumes as well.

In 2003, I dressed up as the Devil.

I put on a fair amount of red paint, but the big kicker of the costume was a small clipboard I carried with me. I pretended to carry a clipboard, asking people to sign a petition stating that the world needs “more ponies and butterflies and hugs.” In actuality, the petition was a small contract giving me full control over the signer’s soul.

In exchange for signatures, I was giving out chocolate.

In 2004, I re-created a costume that I first made as a grad student in Columbus, Ohio: a working, wearable version of Operation, the board game.

I connected a bunch of metal plates, a battery, a doorbell buzzer and a pair of salad tongs using wire and alligator clips. I then put velcro on the metal plates… and added velcro to a ton of candy. People could try to take out a piece of candy using the salad tongs… but if they touched the metal plates with the salad tongs, the circuit would complete and the doorbell buzzer would go off.

This costume was, by far, the most fun costume I’ve ever worn. It was incredibly interactive, and so much fun to wear out in public.

Here’s a few pics of me, with the finished costume.

I cheated in 2005, and wore my Operation costume again.

I attended a largely zombie-themed costume party, but ended up on stage at Subterranean and won for “Best Non-Zombie.”

Sadly, I did not dress up in 2005.

Instead… here are some pictures of the inestimable Matt B, dressed as the big JC. No one else gets quite as excited about Halloween (and consistently delivers the goods) quite like Matt.

Special touch: he was carrying around a bottle of Evian, filled with wine.

2007 was another year where I didn’t dress up. Boo.

Matt continued his tradition of great costumes, and showed up to dressed like a viking.

I brought out the makeup in 2008, and did my best zombie impression.

I was going for extra credit, and used a Sean of the Dead t-shirt.

2009 – Free Candy and Spiders

This costume comes in second, as my all-time favorite. I dressed like someone from the Chicago Zoological Society, and carried around a big box filled with great (top shelf) candy, and one large, toy spider. In order to get to the candy, you’d have to stick your hand into this box… and it was great watching people deliberate, trying to figure out if the spider was real or not.

I forgot to mention: the spider was remote-controlled, and I had the trigger hidden in my pocket.

Free robot hugs!

Last year I went back to the boxy costume approach, and built a robot. I had some fun flashing lights working on the front panel, and went around trying to give away free robot hugs.

It made for a fun lunch hour.

And that’s it! I hope this brief tour of Halloweens past gives you some inspiration. I’ve got a few more links (below), which might also give you some additional ideas.

Whatever you may decide on, I do hope you decide to dress up this year. I promise you… you won’t regret it.

Halloween in the Office (2003)
Halloween in the Office (2004)
Halloween in the Office (2005)
Halloween in the Office, Pt. 1 (2006)
Halloween in the Office, Pt. 2 (2006)
Halloween in the Office (2007)
Halloween in the Office (2008)
Halloween in the Office (2009)
Halloween in Frankfort
Halloween In Merrillville, IN

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