Post-Modern Halloween Costumes

Dan Tarnowski


Traditional Halloween costumes like cutting two eye holes out of a sheet to be a ghost have gone the way of the Tamagotchi. In 2010, Halloween costumes are about overly specific concepts designed to annoy your friends. The more esoteric your costume, the better. The ideal Halloween costume should be more self-referential than a Charlie Kaufman script.

Here are some post-modern costumes to blow your hipster friends out of the Crystal Clear Pepsi.

—Artist who’s not currently working on any artwork and feels self-conscious about it

Attire/Props: Outdated business cards that you refuse to give out because your online portfolio only features “old stuff,” black peacoat with barely used Moleskine protruding from the pocket, paystubs from well-paying job
How to act: Don a wincing facial expression whenever someone asks you about your artwork; duck out of conversations about artistic achievements to get a drink.

—Kid Getting Ready for Bed in Winter Time

Attire/Props: ‘Totes’ slipper socks, Gray Long Johns, ‘Wind in the Willows’ Paperback, Thick blanket or quilt
How to act: Lie down on any available sofas bicycle-kicking your legs in the air and wining “I don’t WANNA go to school tomorrow,” scuff your feet on any available carpets and touch people to give them static shocks, perch yourself before any available television sets with an entranced expression.

—Person obsessed with organic food/cooking

Attire/Props: Apron, Souflet dish containing a Winter salad of pears, shallots, and ricotta; Rosemary-scented deodorant, American Apparel ‘Organic Cotton’ T-shirt
How to act: Admit to indulging in a ‘Beech-Smoked BLT from Pret-A-Manger’ for lunch because there was “simply nothing else in the area;” repeatedly profess to “adore Pine Nuts,” eat a few pieces of candy corn and then silently simmer in remorse for the rest of the night.


Attire/Props: Black turtleneck, gray dress slacks, nice shoes
How to act: Talk about architecture (okay if faked).

—A real cat wearing a traditional Halloween costume of a cat

Attire/Props: Extremely realistic faux-fur glued to face and entire nude body, realistic cat ears grafted to the head, realistic whiskers implanted in the face, realistic tail affixed to the posterior, green contact lenses with slit irises, cheap “over the counter” cat ears that attach to the head via plastic hoop, worn above the realistic cat ears
How to act: Talk like a cat emulating how a human would talk like a cat (say ‘meow’ a lot with an ironic intonation).

—Rope collector

Attire/Props: “I’d Rather Be Organizing My Rope Collection” T-Shirt, Suitcase containing ropes of various girths and fibers
How to act: Open your suitcase and carefully remove lengths of rope to show people, explaining the difference between vinyl rope and natural fiber rope.

—’Crushed Male Dreams’ potpourri costume

Attire/Props: Train Conductor’s Cap, Fireman’s Jacket, ‘World Wrestling Federation’ Title Belt, Astronaut Boots, Cowboy Lasso Spooled around the shoulder
How to act: As if your life has been going downhill since your 9th birthday.

—Person Who threw their costume together quickly and thinks this gives them an aura of coolness

Attire/Props: [insert any sub-par costume]
How to act: Off the cuff, don’t commit to any future plans, exude an aura of coolness.

—Ron & Hermoine after 6 years of happy marriage

Ron: Olive green dress shirt, polar fleece vest, Rockport shoes, baby stroller containing two papier-mache infants, shoulder bag containing baby wipes, ‘Leatherman’ multi-tool containing phillips-head screw-driver, mini-saw, and mini-magic wand, cellphone containing unanswered TXT messages from Harry Potter saying “Let’s watch some Quidditch, mate!,” hair in a ponytail.
Hermione: Pink turtleneck, polar fleece vest, running pants, running shoes, earmuffs, mini-wand/flashlight keychain, hair also in a ponytail.


Attire/Props: Saxophone, Saxophone neck strap, black button-down shirt, Black jeans, Black shoes
How to act: Just act really, really cool. About halfway through the party, be seen wearing a stylish hat (either derby or Kangol) that you were not previously seen wearing.

—Person who inexplicably has to urinate whenever he hears Elvis Presley

Attire/Props: No costume necessary
How to act: Don’t do anything unless a song by Elvis Presley comes on the stereo, in which case, run to the bathroom.

—Robot dressed in street clothes

Attire/Props: Regular clothes. Slip an empty Cheerios box under your T-shirt and tuck the shirt into your pants, creating the illusion of a boxy chest. Carry a tin can or plastic container labeled “Motor Oil”
How to act: Act normal, cool. Be seen casually drinking from your container of motor oil. Do not be seen eating food or non-oil drinks. If anyone tells you that you don’t seem robotic, say it’s because they make really high quality robots these days.

—A narcoleptic

Attire/Props: Tie a pillow to the back of your head by wrapping twine around the pillow and around your forehead. Wear pajamas under your jacket and a type of slippers that can be worn outside
How to act: Periodically lean back against a wall and go to sleep, standing.

—Two 10-year-old Best Friends who had a fight and are giving each other the silent treatment

Attire/Props: Denim jackets, BMX bikes (optional), L.A. Gear sneakers, Jeans with mud stains or rips down the front
How to act: Keep your distance from each other, but always be within eyesight of one another; experiment with sneering, sticking out tongues, and giving each other the finger. The tension should escalate into one person tearfully charging at the other and pulling his or her hair, both parties wrestling for a short period of time and, after more silence, making up.

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