When fall comes around, the minds of trick-or-treaters young and old turn to Halloween costumes — or panic when they realize they can’t think of a good one.
Planning your costume early takes dedication. Maybe you’ve found something perfect and stick with it every year, or maybe you’re shopping around, browsing monsters and superheroes or celebrities and animals for something new and exciting.
But if you’re like most, you’ve run out of time and have to resort to something easy. Maybe it’s anything you find around the house or someone else’s work gear. Or you’re just choosing to go the sexy zombie route — hey, we’re not judging. But before you go picking any old profession as a costume (even with a lusty or murderous twist), try to make it special.
You don’t want to be another cliché, do you? That’s how serious, respectable jobs become Halloween jokes.
Not that that’s a terrible thing — we all need to laugh, especially at ourselves, from time to time. But we think we can do better. You can play off the irony between costumes and real life while making jokes we haven’t all heard a million times. You can celebrate, not ridicule, the professions that, while not supernatural or super-powered, are still awesome.
Maybe it’s about picking legends for each profession and dressing up as those. Too obscure? Sometimes a mash-up works wonders — lumberjack cop, anyone? Let’s take a look at ten classic Halloween versions that have made nothing but a mockery of their very serious professional inspiration.
You know what’s “sexy”? A Halloween secretary with a stylish suit chewing her pen at you. You know what’s not sexy? A real secretary, about to rip her hair out because she has to dig up the archived 2007-2009 Q3 reports for her boss when she’s already 40 minutes late on a Friday evening for the margarita happy hour she needs in order to forget about the week.
The role of an administrative assistant is about unrelenting, sometimes frustrating, support behind the scenes, but that’s no reason a Halloween costume can’t take the spotlight. Consider impersonating an icon in the field for a unique twist instead of a boring old suit next time.
Easily one of the most obnoxious Halloween costumes, and a favorite of sadists everywhere, the referee costume is hated for its obligatory whistle, affectionately known to friends as “oh my god would you stop with that $%*# whistle?!”
For your next costume, consider a quieter, red-and-yellow-card-carrying version of a referee. Think of the possibilities! You could present a different side of the referee, with different sayings, responses and requests.
Just be glad you’re not a real referee — they seem to constantly get into intense and even gruesome situations. And be sure to keep an eye out for any jokers who feel like taking out any rage they may still harbor towards the referees of their past.
The chef: essential elements include a big hat, an apron and making everyone happy with delicious food. Schools of thought clash when it comes to costumes within this theme, but rolling pins, cleavers, fresh produce and, of course, body parts are all staple accessories on All Hallow’s Eve. The truth is that chefs don’t get around to cooking — or having murderous tendencies — very often. They spend most of their time overseeing what’s happening.
You don’t want an accurate rendition of a chef on Halloween: All that yelling is bound to make you a target for the spiky, toothy things that prowl in the night. Let’s stick with a little flour for makeup and leave the aggression for the cooking shows.
The construction worker is a true classic. Is it something about all those tools? Pro tip: screwdrivers are lighter than hammers. You’ll be lugging that weight around all night, so go easy and avoid the power tools.
Those accessories will get you thinking: Unlike the real thing, Halloween construction workers are rarely seen actually working on anything. No, carving jack-o-lanterns doesn’t count. While we’re complaining, plastic hard-hats don’t replace shirts. To be honest, that’s not much of a costume. A little lazy, even. How about representing all that skill and craft by building something yourself — or is that too meta?
While the real deal requires many hours of training, anyone can slap on a pilot’s costume without fear of crashing — unless they’re referencing Top Gun for their pickup lines. A snazzy blazer, some epaulets and the right hat are all it takes for some party-goers. The ease of this costume contrasts with the steely nerves a real pilot needs to constantly bear the lives of hundreds of people on their shoulders.
So go ahead, play "Come Fly With Me" and talk about joining a mile-high something, but unless you’re ready to put in the time and massive effort it takes to command those steel birds, you’re only going to be seeing the cockpit from the outside.
From checking blood pressure to open-heart surgery, doctors are there to keep us safe. Who doesn’t love a doctor? Pretending to be one can be easy with a white coat and a stethoscope. Go the extra mile and get that serial killer doctor vibe going, or commit to the evening with a Hazmat suit if you’re trying to stand out.
Just don’t forget the work done by those who swear the Hippocratic oath — a commitment they make to keep us alive and well, even when we think we know as much as they do because we went to WebMD, and even when those Halloween parties turn into alcoholic Halloween comas.
Firefighting equipment: It’s all big, thick and insulated gas masks with airtight seals for smoky environments and heavy gear. And when’s the last time you tried axing a door down with million-degree flames licking at your feet?
But a firefighting costume can be summed up in one phrase: “Something, something, put out the fire in your loins.”
The usual outfit is like something out of a disreputable video store in the ‘80s with easily removed costumes that let you feel the breeze. But who can blame them? Would you want to wear a mask and thick padding when partying?
The real irony is that a true firefighter would give anything never to don their outfit again — it would mean their selfless sacrifice would no longer be needed. But even they’ll agree the gear looks cool.
Poor defenders of our freedom: When Halloween swings around, everyone slaps some camo on it and “becomes” a soldier, swinging around toy rifles like the recoil of the real thing wouldn’t dislocate their shoulder, and carrying fake backpacks when they would collapse under the weight of standard issue military gear.
And to top it off, there’s the issue of how much — or how little — the costume tries to reveal protect the wearer. You won’t find many soldiers trying to lure their enemies in with a “come hither” look.
We’re lucky there aren’t many sandstorms or shrapnel-laden explosions at your average Halloween party. And what about the training, determination and bravery it takes to face death in the eye constantly and tell it “Not today”? Well, that’s hard to include in an outfit.
“Freeze! You have the right to remain silent… or dance with me?”
The sexy cop on All Saint’s Eve is strangely opposite the real thing — more concerned about attracting action than keeping things peaceful.
But while most of the fake cops on October 31st can’t wait to pull their guns on you, ask any cop and they’ll tell you that they’re happiest when their weapon never has to leave their holster. Their training prepares them for anything — like all the shenanigans we get up to on Halloween.
Just don’t play costumed cops and robbers unless you know where those handcuff keys are — or if you don’t care.
Sexy nurses are a Halloween classic sure to raise your temperature before taking it. From stethoscopes and syringes to latex and satin, you’ll easily spot an outfit to suit your preferred spice level on Halloween.
While miniskirts and plunging cleavage are the norm with sexy nurse outfits, you'll rarely see the real thing out of their decidedly functional — and unsexy — scrubs. Monotone and unisex, scrubs keep the nurses’ focus on their patient and not on themselves.
Not part of the costumes are the long hours, gruelling accreditation process and emotional demands that weed out all but the smartest, toughest and most passionate of the bunch. Maybe combat boots would be more fitting than Crocs for costumes honoring these badasses.
While those are definitely time-honored classics, there are many more — what are your favorites or the ones you love to hate?