What do you mean you don’t understand my Halloween costume?


Photo Credits: Sean Anderson

Halloween has just come and gone, and like every year, the question on everybody’s mind is: so, who had the best costume? And like every year, the answer is the same: clearly, I did.

Do let me explain.

First, sure, yes, I admit, mine was far from the best (I saw some pretty amazing ones, actually), but if I wanted to show you all the other great ones I’d have to track down a whole lot of people for the authorisation to post their pictures, so I’ll stick to myself here (and since this is my first post, I guess this serves as an introduction, too).

There’s basically two ways to a good costume: the Heidi Klum way, which takes a lot of money and time, and the student way, which can usually afford neither. As a consequence, concept and commitment become the yardsticks of greatness.

However, my ideas didn’t really take off the ground this year until I overheard two passers-by speaking about a ‘conceptual / punny’ costume, which involved wearing a t-shirt saying “I LOVE CEILINGS” (get it?)*. I thought that was funny, so I wondered if I could find a similar idea that was feasible, original, and in some confusing and hidden way critical of the status quo (the three criteria of good social science research…).

At this point you’re probably staring at the picture at the top of this article, and wondering what it could possibly represent. What’s the Rob Ford** mask for? (well, it’s actually not part of the costume, just something I was holding at that time, and I only seem to have this one picture of the evening). So what are the arms for? Big foot? Wolverine? Isn’t there something missing? Well, there’s a hint on the front of the T-shirt, which is partly hidden in the picture. In full, it says this:


If things aren’t quite clear yet***, the backside should make things clearer:


Yes, the Second Amendment of the American Constitution, which has occasionally been misinterpreted as being about giving people the right to carry guns and weapons around. Not so, however, as recently uncovered historical documents suggest that the writers of the constitution were in fact worried about the double threat of cold winters and a rapidly growing bear population, and realised that entrenching the right to use the latter’s fur to avoid the former’s cold was essential to the fate of the federation. (Montréalers know the damages a cold winter can wreak, and these bear arms sure are warm!).****

Anyhow, since the whole thing actually took up quite some effort (turns out they don’t sell ready-made ‘bear arms’ in costume shops), I tried to maximise the return, and decided to trial the costume at the General Assembly of the Association of Graduate Student Employees at McGill (AGSEM), where after waving around furry arms at people trying to convince them to vote for a motion, I was promptly awarded the shared first prize for best costume (shared, that is, with the only other person in a costume, after a clap-off could not determine a clear favourite). Encouraged by this Pre-Halloween success, I returned to campus on the 31st, vainly trying to impress on my students the fact that even teaching assistants / graduate students have a (wierd) sense of humour. The day ultimately culminated in a nice party with many great costumes (inter alia, Rob Ford, a van Gogh painting, and Obamacare’s “individual man-date“), although just like the latter I did have to explain the costume approximatively 37 times (there were 38 people at the party).

Did anybody else see amazing Halloween costumes? Let me know in the comments!

* If you love ceilings, then you are technically a ceiling fan.
** Rob Ford is the current mayor of Toronto.
*** James Madison and others co-wrote the American Bill of Rights in 1791. Unlike Rob Ford, James Madison was not recorded smoking crack on a video that’s now allegedly in the hands of the Toronto Police.
**** No bears were hurt in the making of this costume.

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