There’s a certain type of person in this world whose conversational humor tends to be very particular and so overthought that it makes it tough to get an easy laugh out of a crowd. The joke is delivered, and those assembled contort their faces while trying to piece it together – or else they’re dead-eyed and embarrassed for the person telling the joke, diverting their eyes to avoid contact. I know these people exist because I am these people. And that is why I suck at Halloween costumes.
Two years ago, I tried to be Nyan Cat, with kitty ears, a rainbow tube skirt and a brown sweater that I embellished with felt to turn it into a frosted Pop-Tart. Exactly zero people got it. Most thought I was impersonating a Hot Topic shopper. Why, I wonder years later, would anyone want to be a Hot Topic shopper for Halloween? This question haunts me.
Last year, I was sure I got it right when I dressed as Tina from Bob’s Burgers. I wore a light blue T-shirt with a dark blue skirt, along with knee-high socks that I stitched red stripes on and paired with Converse. I broke my favorite pair of sunglasses to replicate her giant-framed signature eyewear. And, of course, I put my hair up lazily on the right side with a yellow barrette. Everybody got it this time – that is, they all were in agreement that I made a great Velma from Scooby Doo. Sigh.
Basically, I’ve learned that although wearing an obscure shirt can start conversations between strangers better than anything else, referencing memes and non-iconic pop culture on Halloween is socially irresponsible. So, at this point, I refuse to do any of these costumes this year, and I suggest you steer clear of them as well:
Don’t dress all in gray denim, carry a bowl of salad and look sad. Not even Walking Dead super-fans will understand your reference to Daryl Hates Salad. Just be a walker. It’s much safer.
Don’t wear a No. 5 Chargers jersey and when someone asks you who you are, put your arm up like you have an imaginary hot date. People will think you are weird, not Manti Te’o.
If you dress as Sterling Archer, prepare to be mistaken for Don Draper. All. Night. Long.
Ladies, do not doll yourself up and then, just before you greet someone, smoosh your chin into your neck and make that face like someone just said something very awkward. There’s an entire sub-Reddit devoted to pretty girls making ugly faces, but your chances of running into one of the approximately 21,000 subscribers it has is slim.
Which brings me to my last idea for this year. What I would be, if anyone, anyone would understand it, is Menswear Dog. All it takes is a decent suit and a dog mask. But it would also take a million times loading and reloading the Tumblr while explaining to bored folks dressed as clever puns, historical figures and mainstream characters that you’re just trying to sniff out fine-a$$ bitches.
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