Halloween Costumes

1992 - "Just got out of the shower" Guy

I've gotten dressed up for Halloween every year of my life for as long as I can remember. It was in 1992, however, that I started getting invited to a standing Halloween party, and I began to have a photographic record of my costumes. This year I just wrapped a towel around me and was otherwise naked. I had a back scrubber brush and was drinking apple cider out of a shampoo bottle. It made quite a splash. Everyone was saying, "Did you see the guy in nothing but a towel?"

1993 - Competitive Swimmer

I got so much attention the year before being nearly naked, I decided to establish a theme. This year I just threw on a Speedo and walked around with a bathing cap on my head, goggles around my neck, and a towl over my shoulder. It went over okay.

1994 - Native

In keeping with the nearly-naked theme, I went as a native that year. I got some leopard-print material which I just wrapped around my waist. I made a spear and a necklace out of sticks I found in my yard, and stuck a pretty orginary Halloween wig on my head. It all came together perfectly! It wound up being one of my best costumes. Unfortunately the only surviving pictures are pretty bad.

1995 - Chippendales Dancer

I was starting to run out of ideas for the nearly-naked theme. About the only thing left was to be a stripper. I put on a black square-cut bathing suit, and made cuffs and a collar from white Xerox paper. It went okay, but the theme was starting to get old.

1996 - "Urban Primitive"

This was the most conceptual costume I'd ever done. I made a paper maché ape mask and put on the wig from my native costume. I actually cut a strip off the bottom of it to make the beard. I was supposed to be the embodiment of the Urban Primitive Movement. The costume looked great, but no one really got it.

1997 - Skinhead

I'd been looking for an excuse to shave my head for some time, so I decided this was the time. What you can't see in the picture is the Dock Margin lace-up boots that came all the way to my knees. I actually showed up to work in this outfit. If anyone gave me any guff I was going to say that I was a "gay" skinhead, so it was okay. But people pretty much took it in stride. Actually a lot of people didn't even know what I was supposed to be. I also made a brief appearance at the politically correct Alumni Affairs office, for whom I had started doing some work. No one said much of anything. For the first time in many years, I skipped my standing Halloween party and went out to the gay bar instead.

1998 - Army Boy

Not much of a costume this year. I had my friend's army dress uniform in my house. It was a bit of a squeeze, but I got into it. I wore it at work for a while. I went to the Alumni Affairs office again. I don't think I even went out that night.

1999 - Shower Guy: Reprise

I have a rather staunch rule of never repeating a Halloween costume. I know some people who wear the same exact thing every year, and I think that's bogus. But I broke my own rule in 1999 because I was in San Francisco, so no one had seen it before. I was also going to the Hell Ball rave party, and wanted something with easy access. Unfortunately the "Naked Boys Singing" group was all there wearing towels, so not only did that detract from my own outfit, but everyone thought I was with them.

2000 - Bondage Boy

By this time I had gotten the hang of the Alumni Affairs party. They had a costume contest that began pretty promptly. I had always shown up afterwards when they were just hanging out socializing. My work with that office was becoming more involved, and I was becoming better known. But I wanted to make a big splash so that everyone knew who I was. So I just dug into my toy chest and pulled out some bondage wear. It as pretty tame by my standards, but it made a huge splash in the office. Again, I don't think I went out that night.

2001 - Frat Boy / Generic Future Shock Guy

For the first time I did two costumes. One was for the office. I knew I couldn't top the Bondage Boy costume from the previous year, so I didn't even try. But I still wanted to participate. So I threw on my old fraternity garb and spent the whole day like that. I was drinking grape juice out of an old Maddog 20/20 bottle I had saved. I also had a LaCrosse stick over my shoulder, just as a frat boy jock accessory. It created a lot of confusion.

Then that night I was going out to the gay bar. I put on the outfit that I'd worn to the Folsom Street Fair that year. It was a bit of a return to my old exhibitionist costumes. It wasn't really anything specific. It was just something in the Road Warrior paradigm.

2002 - Pajama Guy

I didn't have much of a costume that year. The Alumni Affairs office had to cancel their annual event due to a conflict. So that evening I just threw on some pajama bottoms and slippers, stuck a toothbrush in my mouth, and went out to the bar. One woman asked me what I was supposed to be. I kidded her and said, "I didn't come in costume this year..."

2003 - Mark Spitz

Since everyone at the alumni office had been disappointed in my frat boy costume, I decided to really rock their world in 2003. I had found a Mark Spitz stars and stripes speedo in a store over a year before. I grew a gay-clone mustache and made up some fake gold medals. I was in a bathrobe until I walked down into the atrium when they called my name for the contest. The whole place erupted! It couldn't have gone over better. I got an award for "Scariest Costume." People told me I was brave. "Please," I said. "I'd come into work like this every day if it wasn't socially unacceptible."

2004 - Generic Queer Superhero

The truth of the matter is that I didn't do anything for Halloween that year. I was living in Palm Springs at the time. I was going to just walk around Arenas in the outfit I wore to Folsom, but I just stayed home. That was the first time perhaps in my life that I didn't do anything for Halloween at all. But here's a picture from Folsom to show what I would have looked like.

2005 - Frenchman / Planet of the Apes

I did two costumes this year, one for my office party and one for a big party I was going to the following weekend. For the office party I pulled some stuff out of the closet, got a baguette at the grocery store, and dressed up like a Frenchman. The hardest part of the whole costume was finding someone in my office with an eyebrow pencil so I could do a little moustache. You try an office full of female computer geeks and see if you can find anyone who wears makeup!

The other costume was a bit of an ordeal. I spent relatively big bucks on the stupid olive green running suit. I also had a dickens of a time with the paper maché for the ape mask. I don't remember it being so hard to work with back when I was in kindergarten. I also recall it being pretty easy back when I did the Urban Primitive costume. I wish that I still had that mask lying around, but I had lost it years before at my fraternity house. Officially, my costume was Lucius, the firey political activist nephew of Cornelius.

My soon-to-be boyfriend accompanied me to the party. He had no costume, so I lent him the Frenchman costume from my office party. The hoot about that was that the guy actually was French! So he went walking around the party, and when people would talk with him for a minute, they would be like, "Wait a minute..." and he would have to say, "Yes, I actually am French."

2006 - Deadhead

This was my most lame costume since the pajama guy thing. I was rather uninspired this year, and the only event was my office party, so I didn't knock myself out. Frankly if it hadn't been for the ugly wig it really wouldn't have been a costume at all.

2007 - Baby

I had an idea for a video series for YouTube called "Bad Baby." I put together a costume for myself, but as usual I couldn't assemble a cast, or a crew for that matter, so the project went nowhere. But then when Halloween rolled around, I figured it would be a great costume. It went over great at work. People kept telling me I was brave, to which my response was, "Please, I wish I could come into work like this every day."

2008 - "Come To Work In Your Underwear"

Okay, this was another cop-out costume. I wanted to do something, but I didn't have a lot of ideas. This was my fall-back. When I got home the night before, I had no creative energy, so I just went with it. The fun part was that I wore it all day long in the office. That and the fact that all I had on underneath was a g-string, so it was really comfortable.

People kept asking me what my costume was, when they meant to ask what was the concept. The best I could come up with was "Come To Work In Your Underwear." The John Deere hat just added ambiance. It wasn't necessarily integral.

2009 - "G.I."

Okay, this costume wasn't a shining moment for me either. But I didn't want to let a year go by, so I got some old army clothes out of my costume stash and wore it to work.

2010 - "Punk Rocker"

This is a costume I'd wanted to do for a while. I forget where I got the Union Jack tee, but I knew it was perfect for a punk rocker. This year I decided to take the plunge and cut my hair into a Mohawk for Folsom, and I kept it through Halloween. That gave me the excuse to wear it that way at work for over a month. Of course when I came into the office on Halloween, the general reaction was, "Why didn't you wear a costume?" The following night I shaved off the beard and wore the costume again to a small private party.

After the small private party I went to a party being held at a local winery. I dusted off a costume that I'd worn back in 2001 because the Mohawk really made the outfit. I knew it would make a splash, but people went totally nuts. It was a straight crowd, and I don't think they were accustomed to seeing that much skin. I got grabbed and groped more than I did at Folsom!

2011 - Townie / Frog Man

So I got my ass up and rummaged through my clothes hoard, but didn't really find anything. To clear my mind I decided to step outside and finish a chore before sundown. I threw on the outer gear I have in the mud room, and happened to catch my reflection in the mirror. There was my costume: Carhart over-alls, shit-kicker boots, a dirty thermal undershirt, and an almost comically stereotypical hunter's hat. Add to this my geeky Mad Men glasses and 7 day's growth on my face. It wasn't a costume, really, but it was a look that worked. Plus it was perfect for the cold night, and it meant I didn't have to shave. Shit I could just grab my keys and walk right out the door exactly like that. So I did.

There was one person who said he might meet me at the Atomic Lounge after 11. It was still way too early for that. I just walked around the Cornell campus. Truth be told I was hoping to stumble onto a Halloween party I could crash. At first there was no one. People were walking around campus, but no one was in costume. But right around 10:00 they started coming out of the woodwork. By the time I got to Collegetown people were everywhere. I was really digging just checking out the different costumes. I think that's why I love Halloween so much. Everyone gets creative. Even dumb jocks and science geeks get their artist on when they come up with an idea and put it together. And people who usually aren't creative often come up with some of the most inventive ideas. I was lucky to be in a college town, where the young men and women still have the energy for and inclination to get in the spirit of this most festive of nights. Collegetown is the neighborhood just off the Cornell campus where there are shops and cafés and everyone meets. It's like Harvard Square or Georgetown, albeit on a much smaller scale. But still there was lots of hustle and bustle, and all sorts of people in all sorts of costumes. It was like being in a mini Castro on Halloween.

So finally it's time to head down to the Atomic Lounge. I got there just past 11. No word from my friend yet. I went inside and didn't recognize a single person. Not even a passing acquaintance. I walked to the back of the bar looking for a familiar face. I didn't find one, but I did chance upon an empty table up against the back wall. I sat down and waited for my friend to call. In the mean time I just people-watched. I used to do that back in college when I didn't have anyone to go out with. And Halloween is the best night of the year to people-watch. I was content. But by about twenty past I pretty much gave up on my friend making it. I could have gotten up and been social. I could have done it easily, because you can start a conversation with anyone by just commenting on his or her costume. But somehow I was content sitting back and observing.

Eventually midnight was approaching and they started the costume contest. It had been my goal to be at the Atomic Lounge at midnight for their awards. The emcee chick got on the microphone and started working the crowd. The first category was Creepiest. The first nomination went to this girl done up like Snookie. She was just a little bit too tall, but otherwise had the absolute most perfect fucking body to do Snookie. It was exact. And she wore this skin-tight strapless leopard skin number, and had her hair done up just like Snookie did. She was spot on perfect. And she got nominated.

The emcee chick went on. "Then there's this other person. Have you seen this guy? He's hanging out at the back of the bar just staring and not talking to anyone. He's wearing cover-alls and an earmuff hat. We're not even really sure it's a costume, actually, or if he's just some townie checking out the scene. All we know is he's the creepiest guy in the place."

I stood up, smiled, and waved to the crowd.

I didn't win the award. It went to the third nominee. I wasn't sure who he was supposed to be, exactly. Some kind of elven creature, or middle-earth Robin Hood or something. But he put a lot of effort into his costume and he won the prize. The guy who got best overall had on this great pink flamingo costume and was really working it. I recognized him as the winner the year before too. When the ceremony was over I was going to go up and chat with the emcee chick, but she'd gone back behind the bar and I couldn't access her. So I just took off leaving everyone to wonder what was up with that creepy farmer guy.

The costume I did for work was really good. I had head-to-toe black Under Armor tights. I put on the thing I wear under my motorcycle helmet, then mask, fins, snorkel, and I'm a frog man. It was perfect for work because I could wear it under my clothes. I wore it at the campus Halloween party. There was a really poor turnout. The only category that may have worked for me was Most Creative, but that went to Rosie the Riveter. Back in the office there was just no energy. The place was dead. I walked around in the outfit just a bit and got a couple laughs, but then that was it.

The costume worked, and it was easy to wear (although I wound up taking off the fins an carrying them in one hand). But the tight waste of the Under Armor pants gave me muffin-top, which the skin-tight top accentuated. I'm more porky now than I've been in a long time, if ever. This costume would have been better saved until I was at my fighting weight.

2012 - Mime

Okay, so this wasn't some of my best work. In fact it was pretty much my 2005 Frechman but with a white face. Actually I was going to just go into work in my standard attire with a white face, but as I was getting ready I tried on the mime thing and decided to go with it. I had to do something. I can't let a year go by without a costume in the office.

2013 - Muscle Creature

I was bored at home and surfing for weird stuff to buy when I found this body stocking that made it look like your skin had been removed, revealing muscles and tendons. I had to have it, even though I wasn't sure when or where I'd wear it. Well when Halloween rolled around, I decided it would be a good way to be naked in the office without actually being naked.

I wore the same thing out to some parties. At the Americana Winery I also added a cyborg mask and black gloves. In Felecia's I put underwear on as if to be more provocative. I also wore that to a Cornell LGBT dance party, where I played with the underwear like I was doing a strip dance.

2014 - Motorcycle Rider

I was bereft of ideas this year. By coincidence, earlier in the week a friend gave me a motorcycle suit that no longer fit him. With nothing better to do I wore it to work with the helmet, boots, and gloves. Better than nothing. I didn't go out that night because all my friends are lame and there's nowhere left to go in this town anyway.

2015 - Office: Generic Menacing Presence

Taken outside my cubicle

This was the official Cornell photo that made the staff newspaper

This wasn't the best year for me for costumes. For the office I re-used my Chrismas Elf costume from a couple years back. When I did the costume parade at the staff event and was asked what I was, the best I could come up with was "Generic Menacing Presence."

2015 - Halloween Night: Skin Diver

This one was really a repeat of my 2011 office costume, but I couldn't find my full-length spandex pants, so I had to go with the knickers.

Index | Next Essay -->