Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to think of pun Halloween costumes, and his loved ones will slowly extricate themselves from his life. While, personally, I’ve never experienced the problem of having too many friends, I recognize this may be an issue for some of you and have helpfully provided this post as a solution.
Halloween is a challenging season for me. Probably because I was the child who dressed as either Snow White or a witch every year, I now feel the need to overcompensate with creative costumes. Freshman year, I dressed as “Nicole-back.” Sophomore year, “Jack Nicole-Sun.” Last year I thought about going as “Pumper-Nicole” but didn’t take the time to bring that vision to life. Now I’ve only got one more “Nicole” costume idea left.
I’m considering branching out, but I face considerable limitations. First, I’m Asian, which not only means there aren’t a lot of people I can easily look like but also that dressing up as any Asian in the media simultaneously comes across as lazy. My first thought was Diane from Bojack Horseman, my favorite show, but when I tested this with focus groups (consisting of one person, TDM if you remember him,) it fell flat.
All the other costumes I came up with were costumes for multiple people, like every one of Trisha Paytas’ personalities, or a costume duo like “cat people” and “people who are wrong.” So I started the process.
STEP 1: Brainstorm what people will recognize.
Pop culture is a good place to start. What celebrities and TV shows do you follow? What are some classic literature titles? What about brands, companies everyone knows? What are some common idioms?
I’m assuming you want people to eventually understand your costume—people who enjoy puns nourish themselves through external validation, based on my sample size of one—but if you’d rather go niche, be my guest.
Coming up with the pun falls in a later step, but here are some abominations that already came to mind through this stage:
- The Grate Gatsby – Suit or flapper dress, complete with a cheese grater. You’ll be the most useful guest to the party.
- Mary Jane the Virgin – I haven’t watched Jane the Virgin, but I’m assuming you just make it weed, somehow.
- Keanu Leaves – Print his face, tape it to cardboard, and affix to a popsicle stick to hold in front of your face when necessary. Cover body with nature. Alternatively, you can constantly make dramatic exits throughout the night while yelling “KEANU LEAVES.”
- Edgar Allen Hoe – Apparently this one already exists, but the one I imagined was with a garden hoe. Nothing stopping you from also donning a scandalous outfit, though.
- HobBitcoin – Just whip out that dusty cloak, vest, and culottes you’ve been saving for the right occasion, and affix the bitcoin logo on a sign or shirt.
- Cher-lock Holmes – Deer hunter hat and magnifying glass over some insane 70’s wear.
STEP 1.5: Think more about what kind of direction you’re taking. Maybe the pun Halloween costume isn’t necessary.
For example, do you want your costume to be scary? If so, then, think of your audience (in my case, college students,) and what they find frightening. Maybe you don’t even need a pun.
What College Kids Fear
- The default iPhone alarm. Wear the alarm screen and play the tone as you walk into a room.
- Numbers. I know I said no puns, but… Fibonacci… sequins. (To quote Reddit, “that Fibonacci joke is as bad as the last two you heard combined.”)
- Your Nth invitation to someone’s 21st birthday party. You’re not as young as you used to be a year ago.
- “Assignment unmuted.” Or whatever the equivalent of Canvas, our grading platform, is at your university.
- The question “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
- The forthcoming movie, Cats
This got too real, so I went back to puns.
STEP 2: Essentially the reverse of Step 1, think of common words that sound like other words.
You can use what you came up with in Step 1, sounding out the first/last words and seeing what phrases are attachable. Or you could come up with new homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings and spellings) and homonyms (words with the same spelling and pronunciation but different meanings,) to spark more ideas.
More abominations I thought of:
- The IT Guy – Pennywise (face makeup,) but he chases people around with IT gear and asks “Have you tried turning it off and on again?”
- A steakholder – Walk around in a suit and tie, answer your phone when no one’s calling, and start “leveraging corporate strengths” and “utilizing and capitalizing on synergies.” Tell people you’ll get back to them after your “meat”-ing. Maybe hold a steak cutout, or a real one. I don’t know your life.
- An artistic outlet – stick cutouts to your front to look like a wall socket and wear a beanie. Maybe bring a paintbrush.
- The Gouda Place – Dress as an angel and stock up on your finest cheeses.
STEP 3: Decide what’s feasible and start eliminating.
- Lorde of the Flies – Flies seem difficult to control. Consider accessorizing with flyswatters instead.
- Sneakerhead – Simple costume but you might not want to walk around with a sneaker taped to your head.
- Altar Ego – Honestly don’t even know what this would look like. Ayn Rand as a bride?
- The Lonely Island – I guess just dress up as an island.
STEP 4: Spend 90% of your time laughing at stupid pun Halloween costumes some clever people have come up with.
Anyway, I’m aware you may very well take none of my pun Halloween costume suggestions. Frankly, all I ask is that you put in any effort. Don’t, for example, show up to someone’s event, looking completely normal, and identify yourself as a party pooper. If I’ve taught you anything, at least make good on the promise by prepping yourself with Taco Bell.
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