There are obstacles every day to living a bearded life in a baby-faced world. A friend and I have as of late had occasion to deliberate our Halloween costume options. We figured a good way to get the creative juices flowing would be to visit the Spirit of Halloween store in the hollowed-out shell of a building that used to house Circuit City.
The place was enormous, with an almost overwhelming number of costume options, but I immediately realized there was going to be a problem: Where were the beard-friendly costumes?
As any of my bearded brothers will tell you, Halloween can be a trying time to be a man. A few years ago, I was the title character from “V For Vendetta” and spent most of the night self-conscious about how much my Abe Lincoln poked out under my Guy Fawkes. Whether your ideal costume includes a mask that doesn’t cover your facial hair, or you spend All Hallow’s Eve suffering a beard-pinching latex goblin head, we often end up feeling embarrassed of our costumes when we should be having a good time.
So what to do? The weaker among us might shave, but most of us know it’s simply not an option. We must solve this depressing conundrum with bearded creativity. Here are some low-cost ideas I’ve come up with:
The cheapest — and easiest — is a Maine classic. One pair of blue jeans, one red flannel, one winter hat, a pair of boots and a hatchet make for a great Paul Bunyan costume. But be careful where you swing that axe, chief. Too many beers might quickly turn a great costume into a terrible accident … Wait. I just got a better idea: Zombie Paul Bunyan. Just add fake blood.
For the more risqué men out there — or for those of us with a more Pythonesque sense of humor — a simple costume: Bearded lady. A cheap secondhand dress and a stuffed bra are all you need for this sideshow-inspired solution to your Halloween woes. Throw a fake beard on your girlfriend and you’ve got a couples costume.
The next idea is a costume for friends. Mix two bearded buddies, a couple robes and some sandals and: presto! A timeless lesson in forgiveness in the form of oh-so-heretical Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot costume. Add nails and a noose to make this façade both more ghastly and biblically accurate.
Lastly, a costume that makes a statement. As some of you may have noticed, many Halloween costume aisles are brimming over with borderline-racist options: “Mexican” costumes with giant mustaches and tequila bottles, “Rabbi” costumes with fake noses and long side locks or “Chinaman” costumes with buckteeth and straw hats. These costumes boil entire cultures down to insensitive stereotypes and sight-gags. So try this: sidelocks, buckteeth, sombrero and non-descript wine or liquor bottle. When people ask what you’re supposed to be, tell them you’re a racist stereotype.
Remember, ingenuity is a Beardie’s best friend. Without it, we are at the mercy of clean-shaven men. Until next time, have a safe Halloween.