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Way More Tricks Than Treats: Halloween Costumes That Reflect 2020

17:00 October 19, 2020
By: Julie Mitchell

What do you wear on the scariest night of the year when every day has become the scariest night of the year? Since we've realized the world is ending, "mummy" just isn't gonna cut it anymore. Here are some costumes that will let people know: "I'm depressed, but that doesn't mean that I've lost my sense of hope. Also, I love candy!"

Murder Hornet

Doesn't it seem like the writer's made a mistake? I feel like we were so worried, then never heard anything else about them. What happened to them? Did they unionize and go on strike? Teach us your ways, hornets! For this one, you can get a regular bee costume, but then also corn syrup and red food dye so that you can put a lot of blood everywhere. Maybe put in those all-black contact lenses? You just want to have a generally unsettling vibe. Or, I guess if you're a Charlotte Hornets fan, you can just cut out a piece of paper that says "Murder" and put it over "Charlotte" for the night. More than one way to skin a cat!

Two-Party System

Spooky! You know what's scarier than a fake zombie? The collapse of democracy! Democracy is the idea that everyone's voice is heard and gets counted, so why do we have a system where the options for representation for 328 million people are a white Christian man who has a gun, and a white Christian man who has a gun but wears jeans? Other countries get to have multiple parties and ranked voting, so they have more scope of voice with their vote. They also have free healthcare, so I think it'll be a while. For this costume, you should get a Hanes cotton t-shirt and dye half of it blue and half of it red and take up smoking.

Someone Coughing

So this one's pretty self-explanatory. What you run the risk of here is that people won't understand that it's a costume and that you're not actually sick, and, therefore, you might be socially and perhaps physically ostracized—but Halloween is all about risks. What better way to make other people scared than by making them think that they are catching a highly contagious respiratory illness with no known cure? That's way scarier than a ghost. It's funny because on Halloween, people usually wear masks to be scary. But this year, it's way scarier if you see someone without a mask!

Your Bank Account

Yikes! It's been a rough year, huh? How many candles did you buy online when you were drunk? It is a virtual impossibility to have gone the entire pandemic without committing at least one escapist financial mistake. Mine was journals and movies from my childhood (I need them!). This costume is universal, because under capitalism, we all need to have money to survive, but within current conditions, it's unsafe to work. Conundrum! For this one, you're gonna want to do a monochrome outfit the color of your banking institution (for me, this is a Chase blue), then just cut out a bunch of zeros and safety pin or hot-glue them to your outfit, depending on how much you care about the clothes. For bonus points, do your actual balance. You can make checking your chest and savings your butt. Good luck.


Emails are always stressful. Even when it's good news, you have to respond within a framework that is so completely devoid of humanity that it's next to impossible. Have you ever tried to sound warm in an email? It's impossible! Have you ever been emailed that someone just had a baby? There's literally nothing you can say that conveys the appropriate level of sincerity. "Congratulations"? Grow up. Alternatively, the non-warm emails are worse. Why does American Airlines need to send me my "current eSummary" every week, when I haven't been on a plane in half a year? It's a nightmare. Your email inbox is just people who want things from you: to vote, to change something, to buy stuff, sign up, save a coupon, etc. Everything is an urgent reminder about something that I've never heard of and do not care about. People will hate this costume! But that's the spirit of emails.

You have a couple of options, depending on how you want to do this one. You could go Gmail and paint some white envelopes with red edging. You could go meta and tie some carrier pigeons to your back and be "Old Email." You could buy six VHS copies of You've Got Mail and tape the cardboard boxes to you and keep playing a clip of the AOL notification sound all night. The world is your oyster!

Messages From Old Co-Workers Going Through AA

This pandemic has (hopefully) been a time of self-reflection and growth. Some people are learning that they're racist (we all are!), some people are learning that they don't like Shia LaBeouf (I get it!), and some people are learning that they should be in AA. That's beautiful! Halloween is a time of self-discovery. Look at Mary Shelly. She invented the genre of science fiction and then discovered that people were sexist. But the only thing that's certain is that you're going to get an Instagram message from a blocked account apologizing to you. Someone in your past is going to choose to reach out, and you need to be ready with a costume to depict this. However you want to deal with that is your business, as is the costume. I cannot guide you in this; it is a journey you must take alone.

Sense of Self

Just completely gone. This costume is: If you don't want to go out, just tell people that you'll meet them dressed as this, then ghost them. Builds character.

Happy Halloween!

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