When I first started working in a library several years ago, I thought that Halloween would be a fun holiday at work with the idea that librarians would probably get dressed up in imaginative costumes. I'm not sure where this idea came from, but it was definitely wrong. My first library employee Halloween was awkward in that several staff members agreed to dress up with me and then, of course, I was the only one who showed up in costume. That year I dressed up as a 80's Cyndi Lauper style punk which my stick in the mud coworkers mistook for an eccentric prostitute and patrons most likely thought I was a bad teen completing community service hours. Needless to say, I now usually opt out of coming into work in costume, though over the years I will confess that I've mislead some newbie employees to believe that I would be dressing up with them.
But there are a few librarians who do get into the holiday spirit and decide to put aside their nebbish and lackluster attire for one day, and these people have inspired me to list The Top 10 Halloween Costumes for Librarians:
10. Naughty Librarian -- I'll get this one out of the way first. While I have been known to dress as a wayward librarian myself, I feel able to criticize this costume because I tend to dress in a 50's/pin-up fashion normally. Also, I find the "naughty librarian" store made costumes offensive:
That is an ugly ass skirt if I ever saw one and though we may not always be a fashionable bunch, I would like to think that none of us would wear a mini-skirt with bookends printed on it. The other costume is irritating because it is labeled "sexy librarian/secretary" -- we are not the same profession!
9. Non-Harry Potter Wizard –- This person will don some type of hat and often carry a magic wand, either store quality or something created at home out of aluminum foil. Sometimes they will wear a witch’s hat for the same purpose. Once a former coworker wore a blue bathrobe with construction paper planets taped to it.
8. Harry Potter Wizard/Character -- A true fan of the Harry Potter genre and will either create an outfit for a character from the book or dress up as a Hogwarts student wearing the house colors of Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin, usually accompanied by a long colored scarf. These people will normally go as Gryffindor or Slytherin because they are the most well known and because no one really cares about the other houses. Should you encounter a coworker in Hufflepuff attire you should administer a series of shame induced Indian burns.
7. Renaissance Person -– This includes wenches, royalty, pirates, occasionally Vikings, and sometimes other weird things (see photo), but outside of a renfest, the work costume is usually tame and an excuse for a staff member to get away with wearing a corset tightened to show the most decolletage, or a tiara, or carrying a sword.
6. Star Wars Character -- These costumes are either finely detailed replicas from the films or someone with brown earmuffs for hair and a light saber. Star Wars character is a popular choice for gen x male staffers.
5. Comic Book and/or Video Game Character -- Staff members who adorn themselves in this type of costume will win the nonexistent prize for the most responses of "Who are you again?" Like the Star Wars costume, comic book and video game character costumes involve attention to obscure details that only the wearer or role playing folks will recognize. Or because no one will know who they are the costumed person can phone it in and claim to be anyone granting them the ability to mock coworkers who clearly do not understand their brilliance.
4. Costume Requiring the Least Effort -- These staff members are not only phoning it in, but are not even interested in disguising this fact. "Costumes" of this variety consist of things such as cat/some other animal ears, hockey masks, or an outfit from the back of their closet that they have not worn in 20 years and thus, qualifies as a "costume." Included in this group are also t-shirts that have scary movie characters or skulls or anything that involves LED lights or moving parts. This is frequently the costume of choice for unimaginative library directors/branch managers.
3. Vampire -- This category has waxed and waned over the years both due to the popularity of the Twilight series. Since most library employees are not as attractive as young Hollywood vampires, this costume is more likely to resemble Bela Lugosi's Dracula. Cloaks and fake teeth are often worn, but the glaring paleness of most staff member's skin makes white face make-up unnecessary.
2. Zombie -- Taking the spot of Vampires, Zombies have now become the hot costume, especially since it involves the joy of shredding clothing you don't like and rubbing fake blood in it. The level of commitment is up to the wearer with some going all out with props, limping, and groaning, and others just in torn up clothes. Zombie Librarian was my costume choice last year.
1. Crazy Cat Lady -- Not to be confused with someone wearing cat ears, this costume is often worn by coworkers with lots of stuffed cats glued to an old sweater, or by coworkers who have never married and still wear pantyhose with sandals. Ok, yes, I realize that I am perpetuating another librarian stereotype, but people it wouldn't exist if it wasn't at least sometimes accurate. The genius of this costume is that for many it requires no effort at all!