Halloween Costumes

My Halloween costume this year is simple and inexpensive: Lex Luthor.

Specifically, late-1980s Luthor, as I'm sure some of you spotted right away.

The key components of this costume are a red silk tie in a full Windsor knot, because Luthor is the kind of asshole who always has to win every human interaction, and a Kryptonite signet ring on my right hand, because Luthor is also the kind of asshole who keeps trying to kill Superman. Amusing trivia point: I had to buy a white dress shirt for this outfit. Did not previously own one.

For those who don’t make their own, the state of commercially-purchased costumes is rightfully regarded as dire, and much time has been spent decrying, or more entertainingly, mocking the hell out of the notion that costumes for women must be “sexy”, whether or not they make any damn sense. I think we can all agree that this overwhelming mandate is stupid, and when applied to children’s costumes, stupid and creepy. (Incidentally, I’ve enjoyed the pushback here, with simple how-to guides on dressing as various awesome women of history and mythology.)

Thing is, the costumes typical Halloween stores sell for guys are also stupid and offensive, but in a totally different way. Yes, the guys are not encouraged to show as much skin as possible (which is probably good; it’s late October, people) and when it’s a costume of a well-known character it tends to actually look like that character, not “What if Batman were a stripper?” But hey, can’t men be sexy too? Where’s the sexiness?

After the jump, prepare to be sorry I asked.

Hmmmm… it’s almost as though a theme is developing, but I can’t put my penis on it. I mean finger.

Oh, I get it, it’s a visual pun. Specifically a visual pun that’s been run over by several trucks and now has crows feeding on it.

Oh come on, that’s a bit on the penis. I mean nose.

For god’s sake, people, I appreciate dick jokes as much as the next person, but these aren’t even jokes! Just an endless, endless parade of dicks! It’s like reading all of Garth Ennis’s comics at once!

Come on, Spirit Halloween Stores, do you know a different joke? A single joke that isn’t just “penis”?

…Christ. Forget I asked.

I’m going to assume that none of the charming and decent people who read our blog are wearing these, or any of the other ha-ha-penis costumes. (Yes, this is by no means an exhaustive selection. This is the tip of the penis. I mean iceberg.)

We could spend a lot of time dissecting the ugly, horrible assumptions and societal influences that go into this bottomless well of trouser truncheons (and how’s that for mixing phallic and yonic imagery?) and if you feel like doing that in comments, feel free. Or, more fun, just talk about what you’re going as for Halloween.

Me, I’m going as an enormous prick.

About noahbrand

Noah Brand is a mysterious figure with a very nice hat.
This entry was posted in body image, holiday, issues, lighthearted, noseriouslywhatabouttehmenz, penis and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to Halloween Costumes

  1. I was trying to let the ppl on my tumblr decide but the vote was split too many ways (and I ignored the ppl who were trying to dress me in as little as possible xD which sadly w/ me having Shi, Vampirella and other chars in my tumblr gives them many options!) I still have like a week but prolly I’ll dress as Ami Angelwings πŸ˜€ Which includes a cat hat, Supergirl shirt and angelwings! πŸ˜€ And a bunny tail :3

    You look awesome as lex btw O: I’ll just have to stay clear of you when you have the ring on xD Though, it’ll only hurt some of me xD I’m half Kryptonian, half Angel, half cat and half bunny πŸ˜€ (I have v dense DNA)

  2. @Ami Angelwings:

    And after I designed you a perfect costume in your “Amazing Ami” outfit too! πŸ˜›
    Though I’d guess that a two-tone shirt is a little hard to get off the peg at short notice… Oh well. And I’m having a hell of a time finding a green one-piece for my Halloween. Check this out:

  3. Tom Smekens says:

    Some day, I want to do a halloween black metal party with all the awesome costumes.


  4. monkey says:

    I’ve kind of given up on Halloween costumes. They’re just not that important to me anymore.

    The whole thing about “sexy” costumes that bugs me is that once you get past a certain weight, you can’t find anything. It’s either… sexy or a ketchup bottle. Or a bowling ball. Sigh.

    In any case, buying a costume is for suckers.

  5. Danny says:

    I have a small post about the terribleness of Halloween costumes but yours has actual pics of how terrible men’s costumes are (so I’m gonna add a link to this post).

    I’m just going to take advantage of the fact that most “normal” people think people who dress in nearly all black are odd looking goth types. Got the purple/black tights for arm warmers, made my own bondage straps to go around/across my pants, and have a Dark Cupid shirt on the way (the site is Magical Omaha if you want to look around).

    Yes I’ll blend into that fetish party I plan to go to next Saturday night just fine….

  6. The_L says:

    After much thought, I’ve decided to go with the Sumerian goddess Inanna (thanks Noah for the awesome linkage! I am set for costumes FOR LIFE now), since i have wings, and leftover white material that can go into making the dress. Horned headpiece shouldn’t be too expensive, nor should a big blue costume necklace (hello, Cleopatra section!). I have this weekend and next Friday to make the dress and buy the accessories, so a bit of a time crunch, but I work decently under pressure on this sort of thing.

  7. Schala says:

    I stopped dressing for Halloween at 11. I never liked “for fun make-up” really, even was somewhat scared of it for a reason I can’t figure out. And costumes nowadays are completely absurd. Also, no friends to party with.

  8. IDiom says:

    @Noahbrand. Hah, the classic Lex Luthor. Good call.

    We don’t celebrate Halloween where I am, for which i’m glad as we’re far too Americancentric anyway. Though that, oddly, doesn’t stop the major retailers from trying to ‘get us in the spirit’ with pre-carved pumpkins and whatnot.

    More power to you guys and your Halloween fun.

  9. Stacy says:

    You know, I’ve wanted to dress in a “sexy” costume for YEARS. I’ve always been too ashamed of my body and besides there were none available in my size. However as of late I’ve fallen in love with my body and my sexy-as-fuck curves, and the local chain of adult toy shops sells plus-sized sexy costumes (I really wanted to go as a sexy barmaid last year) but they’re like $80 and that’s kinda ouchy to the wallet. I think there’s no problem with women’s halloween costumes being sexy, as long as that’s not the only option, and the sexy costume makes sense….
    That said, this year I’m teaching classes at my university so I have to still look sort of professional. Thus I have opted to go as a man for Halloween. Dress slacks and shoes, man’s dress shirt and tie borrowed from my fiancee, and one of my coworkers has a fedora for me. I also have short hair, which helps. Just gotta figure out how to draw a non-horrible beard/mustache. πŸ˜€

  10. AnonymousDog says:

    I’ve come to agree with my grumpy uncle that Halloween went downhill after the widespread adoption of indoor plumbing.

  11. Danny says:

    And I also have to say that store bought costumes are usually poor quality that can’t stand up against a lot of usage (unless you pay serious dough). A friend of mine bought a fairy costume but her cat somehow tried to to climb up the back of it and split the costume wide open along one of the seams, rendering the costume unusable (and she’s a pretty decent seamstress too). If you have an idea for a costume its usually better to try to buy actual clothing and modify it than to buy a costume that will barely make it through the night.

  12. superglucose says:

    I’m doing a Ninetales costume that involves hotpants and spandex.

  13. @ Kaija24

    Thanks. Now all I need is somewhere that makes custom Pauldrons… πŸ˜‰

  14. rebekah says:


    you could always get women’s leggings, and just a plain lime green long sleeve shirt. This time of year you shouldn’t have any trouble finding either one of those.

  15. noahbrand says:

    Finished version, with full makeup:
    A touch of eyeliner to accentuate my eyes and make them a bit more evil, some aging makeup to add a few years, and darker eyebrows with more pronounced corners. Small touches matter, I feel.

  16. goshawk says:

    All Hallow’s is my favourite holiday. First because it’s the most fun, then for religious reasons, and now for both reasons. It’s the last common holiday where even most adults get into the spirit of candy, let’s pretend, and slightly wicked fun (fireworks, anyone?). If you don’t wear a costume to the Hallowe’en party, you’re a spoilsport! =P

    …I don’t think I’ve ever bought a costume. As a kid, for all my friends it was always a point of pride to come up with something INTERESTING to be on Hallowe’en, and make it (read: have Mom and Dad make it while we “helped” like cats). It was rarely as awesome as what was in our heads, but I was a pretty kickass Catwoman by the grace of coathanger-framed ears, black tights, and a prop whip on one memorable year. Of course, I grew up in temperate climes. Where I live now, kids make costumes that fit over parkas.

    But commercial costumes…ugh. I’ve mined them for pieces of home-made costume (the fake guns I used for my Zombie-Hunter costume, the heels for Dr Frankenfurter, etc), but they’re mostly useless. Worse, they suck all the true fun out of Hallowe’en, the fun that makes it okay for adults to dress up and let go some inhibitions and be, in some small way, childlike (even if we’re “only getting into the spirit for the kids’ sake”). These store-bought costumes reduce us once again to the most boring roles: women are for looking at, men are penises. Isn’t it hilarious. Ha ha. There’s nothing daring about it, nothing liminal, nothing interesting. It’s the new kind of “safe” humour, because everyone expects it.

    To hell with that. I’m considering a Dia de los Muertos theme this year. I could do some amazing stuff with makeup and accessories, and maybe scare the kids that come to my door for candy – or maybe scare some of their parents. πŸ˜‰

  17. noahbrand says:

    It’s a wee bit past 5:30, and I am staggering back in from a party, drunkenly posting this comment to establish two things:

    1. Goddamn, if my experience in the Red Room is anything to go on, some women dig Lex Luthor. I hesitate to generalize too much on that basis, though.

    2. Tomorrow morning, by which I mean afternoon, when I look into the bathroom mirror and go JESUS CHRIST I AGED TEN YEARS OVERNIGHT, I am posting this as a reminder to myself that I went to bed wearing aging makeup, and didn’t wash my face.

  18. monkey says:

    @Goshawk: I’ve always lived in the parka climates. But I guess I just don’t see the appeal of costumes as an adult. I’m barely myself, why would I want to be someone else?

  19. Karalora says:

    Been reading for a while, first time commenting…

    My impression of those “sexy” costumes for men is that they aren’t “sexy” at all–what they are is horny. Is anyone really attracted to a giant leering banana?

    monkey, I hear you about the lack of pre-made costume options for the…gravitationally gifted. Party City stocks hundreds of different costumes, but the “plus-sized” ones for women all seem to involve full-length, concealing gowns–nun, medieval queen, sorceress. You’d think some of the “ancient civilization” costumes might accommodate chunkier women since the actual cultures in question admired a bit of plumpness in a gal–it showed she was well-fed and fertile.

    It’s not really my problem, though, since I learned to sew specifically so that I could escape the tyranny of the retail costumers and make my own. This year, I’m going as my own rendition of a sorceress…one with nature-themed magic. I used a pattern to make a medievial-ish gown out of pale green stretch velvet and sewed silk ivy leaves all around the hems of the skirt and sleeves. I have a tiara with a leaf design that I bought at the Ren Faire a couple years ago, and I might wear that or I might make a wreath out of more silk leaves to wear. I’m also trying to hollow out the end of a thick dowel so that I can glue a green fishing float on the end to make a magic staff.

  20. dreamwaffles says:

    Holy shit, I just realized that I met you last night. O.o I was the one in the sequined top hat and the extremely similar tie. And yes, the single-breasted coat. (I have not yet found a double-breasted coat that will work with my boobs. Hopefully the shiny brass buttons helped.) I had NO idea that you even lived in the same STATE.

    (this is awesome. I’m just boggling.)

    Re: the actual topic-yeah, I’m another woman who hasn’t been super into Halloween ever since I hit my mid-teens and realized all the costumes I could find in stores had suddenly had ‘sexy’ magically prefixed onto them. (slight hyperbole, but whatever.) The only deliberately sexy costume I’ve ever done was Black Canary a few years ago, because she’s awesome, but I was distinctly less comfortable with that than with my Carmen Sandiego costume, which is my official costume this year.

    That being said, wtf is up with all the cock jokes? I had no idea that apparently costume places are getting more hostile towards men. If ‘hostile’ is quite the word I want. I guess tl;dr: Costume shops are crap, it’s way better to make your own costume.

    (Mental faculties? Me? In possession of them? Surely you jest.)

  21. Schala says:

    “That being said, wtf is up with all the cock jokes? I had no idea that apparently costume places are getting more hostile towards men. If β€˜hostile’ is quite the word I want. I guess tl;dr: Costume shops are crap, it’s way better to make your own costume.”

    Or buy clothing not normally construed as a costume. Lolita fashion is a fringe fashion, but it will often be used to cosplay anime or more genuine (more realistic skirt length) French maid-like outfits. They’re much more costly than costumes if you get a brand name, and somewhat more if you take a ‘copy’ (like from fanplusfriends), but they’re invariably better than costumes in quality. The brand names are very good quality, but it comes at a premium (like 200-300$ a dress).

  22. monkey says:

    Wow, I just found this by total coincidence…

    Full Disclosure: Two years in a row I went as a sheik, mostly because there was a sheik wrestler I liked. (I was nine/ten) I’m not proud of that now.

  23. Quick vote! (I’m asking everywhere πŸ˜€ )

    I know I’m running out of time but I think I can get the costumes together in a week πŸ˜€

    What should I be this Halloween? πŸ˜€

    1) Ami Angelwings! πŸ˜€ (Supergirl shirt, angelwings, Bunny Tail, Cat Hat )

    2) Cinder Cat πŸ˜€ One of my superheroes. The non-black parts are red clothing pieces πŸ˜€

    3) Miss Martian πŸ˜€

  24. monkey says:

    @Ami Angelwings: Are all those your own characters? They’re very cool!

    Can you be all three? One at work, one at one party, one at another?

  25. AB says:


    “Wow, I just found this by total coincidence…


    I’m not quite sure how to feel about that. The Asian costume looked pretty formal and old-fashioned, and I’ve worn several costumes which were derived from historical northern European fashion, like the outfit I wore while folk-dancing, my medieval style dress and the decorative peasant costume I used for LARPing, and the baroque inspired gown I wore for my graduation. It’s culture, but it’s also a costume.

    And if it’s OK because it’s my own culture, that raises the issue of the time I dressed like a goth and a geeky school teacher, despite being neither. Or the male friends I have who’ve dressed as women (and worse, maids) for fun. However you look at it, anything but animals, objects, or something completely fictional, tend to be about taking what someone else is, and making it a costume.

  26. Schala says:

    This is an example of what I mean by lolita fashion. That was a while ago, I was thinner than now, though my hair is the same as then.

  27. monkey says:

    @AB I think that for me the line is that if you have to drastically altered your skin color or facial features for the costume, it’s not OK. (And no, I wouldn’t include zombies, werewolves and vampires in that category). Goth? I dunno, it just seems different, because it’s not exactly an ethnicity (yes, there were actual Goths, but they didn’t look like Siouxsie Sioux).

    Geisha costumes, of course, have other issues of the stereotype of submissiveness in Asian women.

    It’s funny, I never really thought about my own sheik costume until just now. It did not feature any “brownface” or ugly stereotypes like the bomber example in the picture. I actually liked the robes, because I liked this wrestler (and also the sheik characters in the Tintin comics, which looking back are problematic).

    I think it also speaks to a larger issues of appropriation, like white people wearing aboriginal jewellery, etc.

    I got a tattoo a few years ago, and I wanted something to symbolize my own Zen practice, so I chose a monkey, as in the monkey mind. But the monkey was a westernized, cartoon representation. Or am I just rationalizing?

  28. BlackHumor says:

    Why it’s Not Okay to wear a costume that boils down entirely to “hey gaiz I’m a stereotype of another culture”:

    1) It’s reducing a complex culture with complex people to a stereotype you can make fun of.
    2) it’s not your culture and so you don’t have the right to make fun of it.

    If you’re dressing as a caricature of a complex group-other-than-culture that you don’t belong to, that’s also not okay. It’s fully generalizable, though rarely does it come up that people caricature things other than cultures. But, for instance, a drag queen costume would also be Not Cool because it’s stereotyping transsexuals.

  29. @monkey Unfortunately I can’t claim credit for Miss Martian xD She’s a DC superhero πŸ™‚ But the other 2 are, yus :3

    And that’s a good idea! πŸ˜€ I do have a party I’m going to πŸ˜€ And I can wear one when handing out treats to kids!

    Good idea πŸ˜€ I’ll see if it’s feasible…

  30. clarence says:

    I h ave the right to make fun of any culture I want, from my own to another culture. Indeed, the more one explores other cultures the more one finds stuff to both like and hate. One can take this expropriation stuff a bit too far. If some black or white guy wants to be a samurai I have no problem with that, nor do I have an issue with women who dress up like geisha’s. One can be respectful about such images.

    Anyway I have no interest in “culture” or “racial” costumes. I’m interested in scary and fantasy. πŸ™‚

  31. noahbrand says:

    @Ami: Definitely go with Miss Martian. She’s adorable, and doesn’t get enough love.

  32. @Noahbrand much like me! πŸ˜€

  33. monkey says:

    @Ami Angelwings:
    1) Is Miss Martian related to Jonn Jonzz?
    2) Have you done any cartoons with your character? I’d love to see them!

  34. monkey says:


    I think the case could be made, however, that some costumes are meant to be reverential or at least appreciative of the culture. Non-Asian people who dress up as ninjas (which in their common image are essentially fantasy characters) are not making fun of them, they think they’re cool.

    I think the true measure is this: if you were to encounter a member of the culture you are borrowing from while wearing the costume, would you be comfortable?

  35. Schala says:

    Something about my comment about drag yesterday not meant to be posted?

  36. Velah says:

    @Noah…yeah, chicks DO dig on Lex, eh?

    Me, I was rocking Bloody Mary: white dress from Goodwill ($9), awful poofy veil ($6) also good will, make up I already owned, a few purchased items (blood, $3) and I had a great outfit for under $20. Goodwill and Value Village: best places for costume fun ever.

    My costume went over quite well and made a lot of sense for me this year. I recently divorced my partner of 20 years….rocking the bloody bride seemed the right way to go. πŸ˜€

  37. AB says:

    @Ami Angelwings:

    β€œWhat should I be this Halloween?”

    They all look fun and original. I guess that if you want to make a case for more unknown superheroes then Miss Martian is the way to go, Cinder Cat could be a good way to promote your own creation, and Ami Angelwings sounds like a delicious mix of things I’ve never heard anyone putting together before. I’d say go with what’s easiest if you can’t make up your mind.

  38. noahbrand says:

    @dreamwaffles, @Velah: Belated thanks for coming to my party and helping make it so very, very awesome. πŸ™‚

  39. Velah says:

    @ Noah: you are most welcome πŸ˜‰ had an epic time

    You know it’s a good party when you’re still sore and moving funny on Monday.

  40. noahbrand says:

    I have just gotten my hands on a lovely photo of me and the woman I now know to be @dreamwaffles showing off our ties for the camera, but I don’t want to post it without her permission, so perhaps she’ll read this comment and clarify. πŸ™‚

  41. dreamwaffles says:

    Where are you planning on posting it?

  42. Velah says:

    It is a very lovely picture, I enjoy the contrast and similarities between the two suits. She, looking amazingly feminine in hers and yet rocking that coat and tie magnificently…and Noah looking devilishly handsome in his. The two of you side by side made for a great look. πŸ™‚

  43. Jim says:

    “Me, I’m going as an enormous prick.”

    Nahh….I’ll just leave that one.

    Costumes I have admired:
    A friend went in a black leotard (rather largish) with a white lane marker stripe down her front.
    A big muscley, red-hairy guy came to a gay CW club as Little Bo Peep, blond hang curls and all.
    On an ocean cruise many, many years ago a very proper old-school british fellow came to their Halloween party in a black leotard with five ping pong balls on a string across his chest and a name tag that said “The Magnificent Seven.”

  44. dreamwaffles says:

    Eh, screw it, go ahead and post the photo. πŸ˜›

  45. ZoBabe says:

    I’m afraid I can accept no other Lex than Michael Rosenbaum. I like my rich bald dudes angry πŸ˜‰

  46. Most self-consciously “sexy” Halloween costumes aren’t, whatever the wearer presents as. I do admit the men’s examples fail in a different way from those for women. The sexiest costume I ever saw worked because of the wearer rather than the costume.

  47. ZoBabe says:

    Completely agreed. You can be a “sexy” turnip, on Halloween.

  48. ballgame says:

    What should I be this Halloween?

    Ami Angelwings, have you thought about perhaps going as an emoticon?


    *crosses fingers; hopes comment comes across in the good-natured spirit in which it was intended!*

  49. Doug S. says:

    I’ve almost always worn “homemade” costumes. I once went as a mad scientist by buying a white lab coat, ink-staining the front shirt-height pocket, and making my hair really messy.

    My most recent costume was actually made for an anime convention. It went over pretty well, although you won’t find many people who would recognize it anywhere other than an anime convention. (I’m a Prinny, dood!)

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