Everyone worries about Halloween costumes that will make your little girl into a slut, but not enough people worry about costumes that will make children and adults look like fools. Herewith are the worst examples we have found so far, cautiously adding that there is no offense to taste and sense that cannot be made worse with enough time and effort. And Halloween is still 17 days away.
10. “Guys Cell Phone Halloween Costume .” “Allows you to type up a custom text message or insert a picture of your favorite caller.” Suggested message: “Pls dont beat me up : (” No kid of any age — even with a haircut like this — wants to wear it, but some unlucky and unassertive pre-teen will get it from his grandma who thinks it’s modern and if she’s at the house when it’s time to face the music, he’s dead meat.
9.“Sexy Adult Womens Halloween Costumes Nurse Obstetrician.” Okay, we’re not unacquainted with preggo porn, but the conflation of birth-giving roles here takes it to a level with which we are not comfortable. Worse, we imagine a non-pregnant woman picking this out and telling her husband this is how she’s coming to his office party. She flounces around the living room in it, a pillow on her gut, asking in a half-sexy, half-menacing voice, “Don’t you think I look hot like this? Hey, why don’t we just stay home tonight?” Sad denouement: he goes for it.
8.“Alice Of Wonderland Halloween Costume – Teen Size.” Teen size? A very rich friend took us to a club on the Upper East Side once where the girls dressed like this; we think it was called the Rabbit Hole. “Recommended Age: 16 – 18 years.” All right, let’s say your 16-year-old is still into Halloween. She runs giggling to her bedroom, comes out like this. “What do you think, daddy?” What are you going to tell her? Not to dress like that until Prom Night? Worse, she may not even tell you about it; you find it in a shopping bag under her Twilight poster. Then she says she’s going to a party on Saturday, she might sleep over, and her cell phone’s been acting up a lot lately. She comes home late from school one day smelling like Phat Farm Premium… boy, we’re glad we don’t have kids. Docked points for making the bow look like bunny ears.
7. “X-Men Origins Wolverine Halloween Costume – Adult Size.” Your girlfriend is really into Wolverine. She uses the name “Wolverine” as a synonym for sexy men — “the UPS guy comes in all Wolverine” — when she’s talking to friends on the phone. If you do something that arouses her, like unclogging a drain, she calls that Wolverine. You unthinkingly pay the $159.99 for this stupid costume. You put it on and look like a Chinese acrobat carrying grey plastic chopsticks and wearing snow boots. You throw it in the garbage and go to the party with a mustache drawn on with eyeliner pencil and tell people you’re Tom Selleck. No one knows what you’re talking about.
6. “Spongebob Squarepants Adult Halloween Costume.” Remember when you were a kid and you were either too alienated or busy or neglected or prematurely old to care much about Halloween and finally the question came up and you were like oh, whatever and got what was easiest to get and it sucked? With this costume you can relive that mild trauma, and also learn a valuable lesson: Adults don’t really like Spongebob Squarepants. He’s somebody their children vaguely attended on TV before they got into cutting. Count yourself lucky if no one belts you and demands you “drop on the deck and flop like a fish.”
5. “Jack Skellington and Sally”. Sure, it’ll be fun, maybe even romantic. You’re not that kind of couples-thing couple, but this is sort of Goth and you can still get away with it. Then she looks at him and thinks: he’s not at all debonair; he’s the same obnoxious middle-level executive, only talking louder because he has a sphere covering his head, which is not attractive. And he looks at her and thinks: the whiteface emphasizes her wrinkles. Friends are treated to a sort of director’s-cut extra: Jack and Sally having a drunken, violent argument in the parking lot.
“4. Cowboy Toddler.” Yes, he looks cute, but the other children don’t seem to like him. Maybe they don’t know what a cowboy is. Oh no, Dylan stole his hat. He’s crying. I don’t like the way Gary is looking at him. No, I don’t know what it means, probably it doesn’t mean anything but I still don’t like it. Maybe we should go. OK, we can stay, but maybe we should take his chaps off. What? I wasn’t saying anything. Oh, you’re one to talk. No wonder he acts out. Don’t you dare lay that on me. Whose idea was it to send him to that school? Next year he’s going as Spongebob Squarepants.
3. “Banana Deluxe Halloween Costume – Adult Size.” If they sat you in a room with an easel and some marker pens and told you to come up with a costume that no, absolutely no adult who was not developmentally disabled would want to wear, you might spends days running through obscene, scatological, and other variants before you came up with a human banana.
Unless your grandparents were in the Vaudeville. Then it makes perfect sense.
2. “Rock Out with your Cock Out Costume.” Is there a Halloween event, or any kind of event, for which this would not be inappropriate? Maybe a frat party at the University of Alabama, for ten minutes. It would get you thrown out of a trailer park. It would get you thrown out of a hobo camp. Even on a girl you couldn’t ironize this. It just screams, “I’m an asshole. No, really, I’m an asshole.”
1. “The Big Pink Vagina Costume.” Whuuu.. whuuu… holy shit, the guy in the “Rock Out with your Cock Out Costume” suddenly looks like John Kenneth Galbraith. And that’s a guy, right? The web site, which we have no indication is gay-friendly, says, “you’ll be the attention of every penis in the room!” We think it’s a Homeland Security sting: if you’re willing to wear this, you’d be willing to wear a suicide bomb. Socially it’s the same thing.
And it’s still not as bad as the Bernie Madoff mask.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 14, 2009