DEADiquette 101: The Boos and Don’ts of Halloween Costumes

  • Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2013 12:00 pm | Updated: 12:33 pm, Thu Oct 17, 2013.

By Debbie Baldwin

Every year at about this time, I am plagued by the same dilemma: the perfect Halloween costume. It’s not that I’m going to a party or even dressing up. I just want to think of it–that perfect outfit that makes everyone say,That. Is. Awesome. I nailed it in 2009 when I got Whiny and his friends to go as the Chilean miners; but since then, I haven’t really, you know, hit it out of the park. I will say this, though: I may not always know what costume to wear on Halloween, but I can definitely tell you what not to wear.

Someone You Know

Do not dress as your boss, friend, coworker or an ex. First of all, if you aren’t trying to hurt anyone’s feelings, and just think that Kathy “just has a funny habit of always wearing plaid skirts and chewing grape gum,” your plan will backfire. Most people assume the worst. So even if you’re trying to pay Joe a compliment “because his pocket square is always a festive color,” don’t do it. Now, on the other hand, if you’re trying to stick it to someone, say that lockjaw blonde who got your would-be boyfriend to ask her out instead of you, don’t go in that direction, either. Sure, you’ll get some high fives in a big set of fake boobs, spandex tube dress, acrylic tips, glitter lip gloss and teased wig, but in the end, you just come off as petty.

Exception: a sibling or spouse who gets it or can suitably berate you without repercussions.

Someone Hotter than You

When you go as someone extremely attractive, people assume you think you are that good looking, so they feel comfortable insulting you. Years ago, a friend of mine went as Brad Pitt in Fight Club. It was actually a clever and very easy costume. Plus, when people asked him who he was he said, I can’t talk about it. Then, he’d say he was Brad Pitt. People would rake him with a glance, and then give a condescending Oh-ho-kay. I went as Heidi Klum from Project Runway one year, and I woke up the next day feeling really bad about myself.

Exception: a person of the opposite sex.

Something with a Required Pose

Five margaritas into the night and the only path the Statue of Liberty is lighting is the floor at her sandals.

Exception: a yoga instructor—the poses can draw a crowd, and possibly a potential date.

A Costume that Impairs Mobility

Yes, going as the shark attack victim—with the shark still attached—is funny, but try getting through a crowd and maneuvering in the bathroom.

Exception: My best guy friend in law school went to a Halloween party as Jabba the Hut. I told him over and over it was a mistake, but when he parked in a corner and had his date (dressed as Princess Lea in the gold bikini), bring him beers all night, he was a god.

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke at the VMAs

Just don’t. I’d like to forget that.

Exception: no exceptions.

Happy Halloween. If I can just figure out a way to capture Sharknado in costume form, I will be set.