5 Dos and Don'ts for Law Office Halloween Costumes
Halloween is a special time of year. It's possibly the only time when you can come to your law office dressed however you like -- within reason, of course.
In the interest of public service for our fellow legal professionals, we'd like to offer some advice on things you should, and should not, do when dressing up for work this Halloween:
1. Do Make Your Costume Law-Related
With over a thousand years of legal tradition, you should come to work dressed as something law-related, like a judge or -- heaven forbid -- a law-related pun like "Commerce Claus" or "Habeas Corpses." Justice Scalia might make a good costume, and, as always, you can still go as Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer.
2. Don't Go as "Sexy" Anything
Yeah, "Sexy" Whatever isn't really a great option for women (or men). Keep it work-appropriate. Witches, Ebola nurses, cops, Vikings, and any other member of the Village People you decide to go as should all be unsexy.
3. Do Make Your Costume Topical
Even though it's a midterm election year, Halloween and Election Day are within days of each other. So political costumes are all the rage, whether it's Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, or Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery (whatever that costume looks like, it's not safe for work). Politics and religion are the two things you shouldn't discuss at the dinner table, though, so make sure the partners won't have a conniption if your costume makes fun of the Koch brothers.
4. Do Attempt a Group Costume, If You Dare
One sure-fire way to win the office costume contest is through a group costume (it really makes people think -- and then they think they're super-smart for thinking, so you just made them feel good about themselves). Buzzfeed suggests such group costume ideas as: the Rugrats, the Golden Girls, and my favorite board game/movie, "Clue." This will require some coordination, though, and it is only a few days before Halloween.
5. Don't Be Offensive
Not even British royalty can get away with going to a costume party dressed as a Nazi, so neither can you. Other ideas from the "I should have run this by someone else first" department include: blackface, Native Americans (unless specifically dressed as The Indian from The Village People), and Ray Rice. And for crying out loud, leave "Zombie [Person Who Just Died]" on the cutting room floor.
Editor's Note, October 21, 2015: This post was first published in October 2014. It has since been updated.
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- Unlikely Pairing: Top 4 Supreme Court Halloween Connections (FindLaw's U.S. Supreme Court Blog)