Afternoon Inquisition

AI: Behind the Mask

I apologize for the lateness! Tuesday AIs are usually A’s, but she’s a busy bee and I have volunteered to take over today and future Tuesdays until she’s less swamped.

We’re rapidly approaching what has forever been my absolute favorite holiday: Halloween. There’s something about dressing up and acting silly that brings the kid right out in me. I’ve been a number of pop-culture based characters, some of my favorite including “Heather” from Blair Witch Project (I ran around with a video camera and petrolium jelly oozing off my face as snot), Harpo Marx (my little sister dressed as Groucho – I was silent the whole day and mimed everything) and The Royal Tenenbaums (see picture of the hubby and me, dressed as Richie & Margot). n1102861224_30004998_9027

Halloween is freaking awesome. But some people take advantage of the whole costuming concept by dressing in what most would consider inappropriate costumes. Buzzfeed has an album up of photos they’ve received that fall under Politically Incorrect Halloween Costumes.

For what it’s worth, I’m planning to dress as Juno this year because, frankly, it’s easy and I already have all of the needed components. Maybe I can get the hubby to dress in a track outfit like Bleeker. Wish me luck!

What are you dressing as for Halloween this year? Do you celebrate the holiday? What are some of the costumes that make you cringe every time they appear at your door while trick-or-treating?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.


Chelsea is the proud mama of an amazing toddler-aged girl. She works in the retail industry while vehemently disliking mankind and, every once in a while, her bottled-up emotions explode into WordPress as a lengthy, ranty, almost violent blog. These will be your favorite Chelsea moments. Follow Chelsea on Twitter: chelseaepp.

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  1. A few years ago I had had it up to HERE with the “Sexy _____” costumes and decided to go way over the top with that meme…as a “Sexy Gorilla”. I dressed like a total slut and wore a full on furry gorilla suit.

    Now ironic “Sexy _____” costumes are the new thing – and I’m over it again. Christ. Sexy pencil? Sexy pile of shit? Sexy 9/11????? WTF.

    It’s all unoriginal. And that is what I hate most about bad Halloween costumes. They are unoriginal.

    BTW, this year I am embracing sexy and going as something that is supposed to be sexy – a Varga calendar girl.

  2. @lemsroberts: I guess I should add I am going for period authenticity with hair, stockings, etc…., which I feel elevates the getup. I have all the gear beacuse I am actually a burlesque dancer IRL.

  3. I will be Bizzaro, to compliment my friend’s Supergirl costume. I feel sorry for the kids who get those character costumes from the supermarket that has a scene on the chest with a cheap mask. Why not make something and look original.

  4. Ok, our costumes are a bit of an inside archeology joke, but I think y’all might “get it” anyway…

    He is going as a Shovel Bum and I am going as a Screen Bunny.

    (Shovel Bum: archeologist field worker who travels around from project to project. He will dress like a bum and carry a shovel.)

    (Screen bunny: not-so-nice term used for flighty spazy young female pretty fresh from college girls who attempt to do field work with perfect nails and cute outfits and really just want to do he screen work. I will wear a sexy bunny costume and carry a archeology screen.)

    Cute eh? Sorry for the cavities.

    Oh, and he is an actual archeologist in real life, if that matters.

  5. I’m going to a halloween party, and the theme is come as your favorite dead person. Well, I wanted to come as TH Huxly, with a dog collar on, but, I don’t think that’s happening. So, I decided I’ll put on a suit, grab a bleeding knife, and come as Jack.

  6. @lemsroberts: I’m definitely read for the whole “Sexy __” fad to end. But yay for time-period sexy!

    @Northernskeptic: I love superhero costumes! I always hate that, too. Last year on Halloween I was teaching toddlers at a daycare/preschool and so many came in with cheapo costumes. My favorite was a 3 year old girl dressed as Plankton from Sponge Bob (which is what I was dressed as) – her mom had made the costume from scratch and it was awesome.

    @Kaylia_Marie: Yes!! Some of the greatest costumes are ones that have to be explained, haha.

    @infinitemonkey: Haha! That’s awesome!

  7. I want to modify all the “sexy…” costumes into “punk rock just had an abortion sexy…”

    -Punk Rock Just had an Abortion Sexy Girl Scout
    -Punk Rock Just had an Abortion Sexy Cheerleader
    -Punk Rock Just had an Abortion Sexy Nun
    -Punk Rock Just had an Abortion Sexy Hobo

    I’m bringing “sexy ____” back… and badassifying it!

  8. When I was ten a kid came into school dressed as Clark Kent. No, not superman, just Clark Kent. He had a clean shirt on, maybe a tie and some glasses. I teased him a bit for having a lame imagination, but looking back now, he was clearly a postmodern genius. Sorry Clark, wherever you are.

  9. I love Halloween! Best year ever was all of us dressing up as the cast of the 1964 film “Oliver!” I was the Artful Dodger. Spent the entire night “pick-pocketing” people and taking stuff over to Fagin and then we would burst into song. Fun!

    My buddy Liz has come up with the greatest costume idea ever – “Last Minute Cat” which is pretty much only funny to girls who ended up going out for Halloween when they thought they would be staying home.

  10. I’ve always hated Halloween. Even as a kid I just did it because it seemed to please my parents. I think I was uncomfortable getting stuff for doing nothing. As an adult I indulge my irrationality on this point by skipping the holiday entirely.

    Some years I’ve been invited to Samhain parties on the same night which generally rock. One particular party evolved from a generalized recognition of the dead to an extended wake for everyone we liked and admired. Unfortunately it’s a sucky time of year to be out late on a bike.

  11. All the lights are out, curtains drawn, and blinds closed while I hide in the family room watching a movie. Mostly just another day for me, but my kids take off and go to parties, and my wife tells scary stories at a local story telling event. I may go out to listen to some music at a local brew pub and see what costumes show up. Not sure if I’ll dawn one myself.

  12. When I had to be in social situations for the holiday, I always made myself up. Coming from a theatre family, I’ve always had a blast playing with makeup.

    I don’t plan to do anything this year, though, cos it’s lame to make up as a vampire or an accident victim or a zombie just so you can sit in front of the VCR and watch monster movies all night.

  13. @lemsroberts: Ha!

    I was working in a vintage clothing store last year when one amazing lady came in looking for clothes for her “Sexy FDR” costume.

    I like the whole “female as sexy historical male figure” pretty funny. Sexy gandhi would be great.

    This year I’m going to be Yngwie Malmsteen.

  14. Hi there!

    Funny that you should post this. As a born-again atheist, I do not have any kind of “religious belief”. Even when I DID believe in God, (long long ago) I scarcely had any kind of “religion”. I’m very laid-back about most things, and there is very little that I’m passionate about.

    Except Hallowe’en.

    If I could be said to have any kind of “belief” about anything, it would be a belief in Hallowe’en. I believe in the sanctity of Hallowe’en, and in the subtle power of this autumnal celebration. Oh no, I don’t believe in any of the Pagan Gods of Samhain, nor do I believe that Hallowe’en is the day that the “veil between worlds is thinnest” or any other crap like that. I don’t think of it as the day before “All Saint’s Day” or the eve of Dia de los Muertas. I feel that Hallowe’en celebrates something else entirely.

    I feel that Hallowe’en should be a FEAST OF FEAR.

    Hallowe’en is the day that we explore our inner demons. It’s the day that we all try to get in touch with our own personal monsters. A time of year that we celebrate blood, and gore, and death, and terror, in all its wonderful visceral glory. Hallowe’en should be a celebration of these dark stirrings, and it should SCARE us.

    This is why I am unfavorably in favor of a dark and terrifying Hallowe’en. When I see people walking around dressed as cartoon characters, or in “clever” costumes, (“Hey look at us everybody! I’m a plug and she’s a wall socket! Get it!? Wink wink nudge!! AmIRight?”) it just turns my stomach. Even the “easy” costumes, such as “Football player”, or “Princess”, or “Ninja”, just aren’t right to me. A proper Hallowe’en costume should be terrifying enough to make young children wet themselves and sleep with the lights on. If you haven’t cost parents thousands of dollars in therapy bills just by walking down the street, you’ve failed at Hallowe’en.

    I have long wanted to create a front-yard Hallowe’en display so horrifying that I’d have to actually give away CASH, just to reward anyone brave enough to make the perilous journey from the street to my front door.

    Unfortunately, my wifey won’t let me put up such a display, and she’s the only one that *I* am afraid of. ;)

  15. Love the tenenbaums costume! It’s a great movie. My friend and I are both being Genterns from the movie ‘Repo! The Genetic Opera’. They are like nurses. I am also doing a Philly zombie crawl so I guess I’m doing two costumes this year!
    Though most to all of my friends are no longer in high school, trick-or-treating is on my activities list. I’m not really a partier ;)

  16. @skepto bismol: That’s amazing! Admittedly as a kid I would have also thought “What’s that nerd’s deal?” but what a great idea…

    @Bookitty: I love Oliver! I was in the school’s rendition of it in 6th grade, haha. Also, “Last Minute Cat” is awesome.

    @James Fox: Definitely nothing wrong with watching movies in the dark on Halloween. Last year I was so excited to have our first trick-or-treaters ever (seriously, the house I grew up in NEVER got kids at the door) so I sat with a friend and a case of beer watching movies and answering the door.

    @Draconius: Now THAT is some appreciation for the season! I want pictures when you get your yard-of-doom set up one day. :)

    @Sydust: Thanks! That series of pictures is one of my favorites out of all of our pictures together. Unfortunately nobody at the party we went to got who we were and we had to repeat ourselves all night, which is odd for movie characters. Eh. That’s awesome! I remember watching the trailer for Repo but I haven’t seen it yet. And the Philly Zombie Crawl looks like so much fun!

  17. I’m dressing as Captain Hammer. It’s an easy costume, but I’ll spend the day singing everything and showing of my guns. All while strangling any of my lab-mates that are dumb enough to wear their labcoats that day…

  18. All I know is, I will be as far from my neighborhood as possible that night. Kids from all over come to trick-or-treat here because there are streetlights and sidewalks and the guy across the street does a Haunted house thing in his garage. And that’s all fine and good, but I have had it up to HERE with the ungrateful un-costumed flower-trampling bastards and their un-parenting parents!! But let me tell you how I really feel… ;-)

    We will be attending a party this weekend, and probably one or two next weekend, as well. I’m either wearing this sexy little bee thing, or a Lara Croft outfit -depending on what I can squeeze my hips into. I just don’t much care about being imaginative. I spend too much time being aggravated.

  19. If by some miracle I get invited to some Halloween party that would require me to actually dress up, I am not going as anything. I will probably be spending it running and then watching horror movies. Or not… well maybe not the horror movies.

  20. I know the costume that would make me cringe if I ever had trick-or-treaters at my door dressed as: Kirk Cameron or his Sith master Ray Comfort….the only treat they would get is a box of Skittles each in the head . I would NOT be amused.

  21. I will be wearing my 5 yo son’s voice-changer Storm Trooper helmet, with maybe a white leotard… he will be wearing full Vader get up

    If I do any adult stuff, I will be a zombie.. of no particular flavor they are just my favorite, and I have never been one for Halloween.

  22. @Tina: I love zombies. I recently saw Zombieland, which was entertaining. I figured that if I somehow was given a reason to dress up, I’d go as a zombified 1/2 marathoner in deference to those who died at the Detroit Marathon. Yeah I know it’s kind of in poor taste, but hell, it’d give me a chance to show off my Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Bank 1/2 Marathon medal.

  23. Least favourite costume: any boy who’s voice has changed, “costumed” in his hockey jersey. The implied threat of give me candy or I’ll egg your house always hangs in the air with these guys.
    I enjoy Hallowe’en, I like seeing the little kids in their costumes standing on my stoop, confused as to why it’s all right today to get candy from strangers. This year we have a 2 year old and hubby has his costume planned, we’re looking forward to it. I don’t usually dress up, but hubby sometimes does.
    I’ve tried the horror movie thing, but it’s hard to get into with the kids coming every few minutes.

  24. @CanadaLes: I’ve tried the horror movie thing, but it’s hard to get into with the kids coming every few minutes.

    This is precisely why I put an off switch on my doorbell. It comes in handy for daytime naps too. You might ask if it’s rude to not answer the door. It is, but then it’s rude to approach a house with the porch light off. I claim the moral high ground on this one.

  25. I’m going as Indiana Jones this year, because I’ve already got most of the costume.

    Except the hat. And the whip.

    …Some costume shop is going to be giving me some funny looks. I only hope I can earn them.

  26. My costumes tend to be very cheap and imaginative, One year I bought a police badger from the dollar store and wrote “Alex Murphy” on it, and went as Robocop. Last year I went as a Republican and wore a flag pin and walked around saying things like, “Sarah Palin is a maverick” and “George Bush is a great man”. This year I’m considering wearing slightly thicker glasses and going as Drew Carey, or not shaving for a few days, not speaking and going as Silent Bob.

  27. @Detroitus: That’s a great idea! I keep seeing adorable Horrible costumes for kids online.

    @Vengeful Harridan (Elexina): lol well I’m glad I live in an apartment building where they can’t trample anything but the hallway carpet! I’m hoping not to be home regardless. Trick-or-treaters are cute and all, but I’m going to be on trick-or-treat duty every year for a long time after this season. I want a night out.

    @Sydust: I think next week I’m going to put up a post, requesting that commenters link pictures of their Halloween costumes to the Skepchick Flickr account and then I’ll have a “highlights” post the following week maybe. If that’s something that people are interested in.

  28. My favorite costume was when I wore a seashell bra and hula skirt, with a flesh-colored leotard underneath.

    When I was kid in Girl Scouts, we dressed up like a Chinese dragon for a local parade. Someone got a giant coil of wire, and we decorated a white sheet to put over it. Then we all wore black pants and 10 of us walked underneath it. Only the front person could see so it was a little uncomfortable, but we won first place in the contest.

    As a child, I also dressed up as a Native American. My mom had the idea to use a brown paper bag as a skirt, and we cut fringe into it and colored “beads” with crayons. I thought that was kind of clever.

    I love to celebrate all holidays. I give out candy for trick-or-treat, but I don’t get that many kids because my apartment is way in the back of the complex. I love to make up goodie bags with candy and other things like stickers, plastic rings, and pencils.

    I’ve never been brave enough to wear a costume to work, but I usually wear one of those $5 Halloween shirts they sell at Old Navy.

    One time I was offended by a kid dressed up as a mad scientist. I’m a scientist, and I don’t like the way scientists are regarded in our society. I also don’t like store-bought costumes of popular characters. I like to see some originality. If you’re gonna be Harry Potter, at least put some effort into making your own costume.

    In 2004, one kid was dressed as a presidential candidate. He just wore a suit and a home-made button that said “Vote for me”. I thought that was really clever and I gave him extra candy.

  29. In college, a group of my classmates considered going out as different Tetris pieces, and meeting on the same street from all different direction. They never got around to making the costumes, what with studying and all, but I thought that was a genius idea.

    Another of my classmates actually came to class dressed as a trophy wife. She had gold wings like one of those awards trophies, and an apron with a wooden spoon, spatula, etc. I thought it was awesome but I guess her jerk friends made fun of it too much, because when I saw her later in the day she wasn’t wearing it anymore.

  30. This Halloween will be my one year wedding anniversary, so I have no idea what/if we are dressing up.
    I love costumes that aren’t super-obvious. In New Orleans a few years ago I saw a guy wearing a garbage bag with a box of “Total” cereal taped to it and he was going around insulting people. He was ‘A Total Douchebag’.
    And a few years back my wife made little yellow baby chicks with googly eyes and pinned them all over herself. She was a “Chick Magnet”.

  31. @lemsroberts: “A few years ago I had had it up to HERE with the “Sexy _____” costumes and decided to go way over the top with that meme…as a “Sexy Gorilla”. I dressed like a total slut and wore a full on furry gorilla suit.”

    People who wear sexy animal costumes are called “Furries” and it’s a (in my opinion sick) fetish. Look up Furries and “yiffing” if you don’t know what they are. ;)

    This year I’m going as Scorpius from Farscape, and The Girl is going as Sikozu, from the same. Every year for the last 16 years my friend has had a huge party, with all sorts of elaborate costumes. A few years ago, I went as an Orc, which was a great deal of fun to do. Last year The Girl and I went as Sweeny Todd and Mrs. Lovett, and won the costume prize. Or maybe the prize was for the pie….

    I film it each year, and make a DVD for everyone. It’s quite elaborate.

  32. I usually go for easy in my costume choices so this year I’ll be dressing up as a middle-aged, overweight, near-sighted, balding male geek.

    Same as last year in fact.


  33. Absolutely no costumes are worse than:

    * “Average guy” – your ‘cleverness’ does not make up for not bothering to wear a costume

    * “Republican” – you’re in a suit, maybe wearing an elephant pin. Your politically divisive yet utterly unoriginal attempt at satire has failed. Please stop trying.

    As an aside, the “illegal alien” costume bothers me more for the fact that it includes a Green Card (if you have a Green Card, you’re not in the US illegally – ARGH!) that for any perceived offensiveness.

  34. I was a clown last year and will probably be a clown again this year, since I already have the costume and I’m poor.

    However, I have a party on Friday, Halloween eve, AND on Friday night. I don’t know 1) that I’ll survive 2 parties in one weekend and 2)if I want to be dress the same for both.

    So I was thinking about doing something simple on Friday night.

    I was thinking Where’s Waldo. lol

  35. I’ll be sitting on my porch, supporting my local dentist’s by handing out candy for the kids (and if it’s chilly out, coffee and hot cider for their long-suffering parents).

    I don’t do costumes anymore. (shrug) I like watching for interesting, unusual and just outright over-the-top cute costumes. I used to wear my ST-TNG command red uniform, but it’s been overused in recent years.

    @HollisterBollixter: COTW!

  36. Zapski: Hurrah! I am a Scaper, too!

    Draconius: I want to spend Hallowe’en at yours. Srsly.

    Anyone who cares to look at my makeup prowess-

    –Um. I don’t have anything posted in a public place on the web. Sorry. *blush*

  37. @Zapski:

    This year husband and I are going as Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett. We try to do a matching costume every year — unfortunately the last two years we were super lazy and just sprayed our hair white and wore my lab coats as mad scientists…

  38. Halloween is a recent import in Norway, and I have never had a trick or treater at the door, nor am I invited to any costume parties this year. Last year the party I went to was a week after halloween, and I put on a lab coat, some safety goggles, messed my hair up and drank red wine from an erlenmeyer flask.
    No idea what I’ll do next time…

  39. @faith: Get one of those severed hands and make a papier-mâché pie with it kind of sticking out, it really puts a nice touch on Mrs. Lovett :)

    And I’ve also done the Mad Scientist once or twice. And the Cardboard Box Robot a la Robot Frank. Those are always nice easy fallbacks for the lazy years.

  40. I never dress up for Halloween. Having said that, I have been invited to a fairly fun party this year and, paying homage to the state of Colorado, I am going as Balloon boy.

  41. My favourite costume was one we made for my son – a Dalek. He was 5, and totally obsessed. In true Canadian style, we used Tim Horton’s iced cappucino lids and much duct tape. My son ended up with more candy than anyone else, people love a kid in an original, hand made costume.

    I’m going as cyclist roadkill this year. I am lazy. Although I might chew on an old helmet and claim I was attacked by zombies.

  42. I’m going to be Comandante Ernesto ” Che” Guevara. All I have to do is buy a green military shirt-thing, boots and a beret. I already have the pants. I apparently look a lot like him with my beard and hair grown out a little. Except I have more beard.

  43. @Draconius: “A proper Hallowe’en costume should be terrifying enough to make young children wet themselves and sleep with the lights on. If you haven’t cost parents thousands of dollars in therapy bills just by walking down the street, you’ve failed at Hallowe’en. ” COTW!

    As a psychologist I cannot condone this sort of behavior. Oh heck, go scare the bejeesus out of those rugrats! Keep me in business.

    @whitebird: Yngwie Malmsteen? Do you live in Sweden? Definitely a scary costume. Have you seen him lately?

  44. @Draconius: I’ve gotten lazy about Halloween lately. I used to do a lot of decorations.

    I remember one year setting up a motion detector that set off lights and a tape loop whenever someone approached the door. The lights lit up “eyes” in the door’s sidelights and the tape loop played spooky “who’s there?” voices.

    Near the end of the evening, after things had wound down, we heard the tape loop start up, followed by a screech. At the door was a very large man with a very small boy cowering behind his leg. Fortunately, the very large man was laughing.

  45. Pointy hat, striped stockings, black skirt, lab coat and stethoscope. Witch doctor, get it? Okay, it’s not especially genius but I have or can borrow all the components and it’s comfortable. I’m not sure where the high top sneakers fit in but damned if I’m wearing anything else on my feet.

  46. In high school one year I wore a white shirt, white pants, and a white tablecloth rectangle with ‘The Beatles’ in white felt on one corner. Yes, I went as the White Album.

    <– dork

  47. oooh, i have a great memory of my little sister. we had this DARE officer that all the kids in my tiny k thru 8th grade school loved. i know, i know, DARE is bullshit but this officer was pretty rad. anyway, my little sister totally dressed up as him one year. she wore the costume to a school halloween function, and won the costume contest.

    my parents were firefighters at the time and had some uniform shirts that looked a lot like cop uniform shirts, and they fashioned badges out of cardboard. then they stuffed her full of pillows/towels (he was very round), and used pantyhose or something to make her bald (he was very bald).

    he was, of course, at the halloween event and thought it was hillllarious. it was great.

  48. @Garrison22: No, I don’t live in Sweden…and I’m a girl! I wanted to get two other chicks to be Vai and Satch and we’d go as drag G3, but that’s a little much to plan with so few female friends into shred guitar/irony enough to go with the idea.

    Yes, I have seen him lately, and was considering going as “fat Yngwie”, but it would be too much trouble.

    7 years ago I went as Tony Iommi.

    In drag guitar gods is kind of a personal theme with me. Next year: SRV.

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