Oct 192010
Authors: Johnathan Kastner

Halloween used to be the best holiday in the world. For no reason, grownups would say to dress in any fashion at all and threaten strangers until they forked over some candy. And they thought it was adorable.

Then teenager-hood hit, and because Halloween was fun and awesome, it did not fit the image of a stoic, suave teenager, which to any external observers you totally were. Plus threats for candy cease being adorable as soon as you have the physical capacity to carry them out. Like how little barking dogs are funny and we put them in costumes because they can’t stop us.

Halloween and costumes swing around to being cool again in college. At least, they can be cool. Since Halloween is a major social event, you don’t want to look like an under-dressed slob or show up wearing the same costume as someone else. Nothing is more embarrassing than spending hours welding a convincing Optimus Prime together only to be usurped by someone who went as an
Optimus Prime with cleavage.

As an expert at costume design and impersonation (I pretended to be a real student for four years while I got my English degree), I can help. I’m also an expert at reviewing classic things and nitpicking and deriding them until no one is having a good time. With that in mind, I have reviewed some classic costumes for your benefit.

A vampire costume is a relatively cheap throw-together. Get some old or black clothes, some fake fangs, and you tap into the timeless sex appeal of a corpse that bites people. Vampires have always been about sex. In Victorian times, Dracula was the closest you could get to showing naughtiness in the written word. Nowadays, vampires can be in formal suits or dressed up like a sparkly fairy –– thank you, Twilight.

The inherent sexiness is diminished somewhat by the teeth. As cool as they look, you will sound like you are constantly talking around a mouthful of corn chips. This is only sexy in the darkest and dankest parts of the South.

Zombies are another good choice. All you need is some old clothes you don’t mind ripping and a decent shuffle-stagger. You’ll want to also smear yourself with fake blood so people don’t think you’re just a drunk that fell into some bushes. Being a zombie may kill your chances as a romantic hookup, as people only like pretend-corpses like vampires, not actual decaying corpses.

Zombie can also be an excellent cover-costume should your real costume be shredded as you drunkenly walk into a bush. Just pretend that you were going as the zombie version of whatever your initial plan was.

Pirates have remained popular ever since Jack Sparrow swaggered off a sinking ship and into our hearts. This is a costume that is aided by additional drinking, as the more you consume, the more you mimic his swagger. Pirate costumes tend to be more expensive, with a sword, a gun, a hat, a trained monkey, leather pants and a full on British war galleon, but no expense should be spared for authenticity.

There are two main issues with a pirate costume. First, your ship is bound to be ticketed no matter where you park it. Second, Jack Sparrow could handle his liquor and remain charming. You are far more likely to develop bad breath, a foolish certainty in your own glowing humor and to have all your fancy props stolen as soon as you fall asleep.

Some students go to parties as the mythical creature, the “sober college student.” Like the Sasquatch and the chupacabra, a sober college student requires some dedication to pull off. But the rewards can be quite worth it –– you might actually have a night you can remember.

Johnathan Kastner is in his second year of his second bachelor degree, majoring in computer science. He’d like to remind you all that yes, you can in fact die if you drink too much, especially if you don’t believe that you specifically will die. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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