How To Survive A Costume Party: A Nerdy Girl Horror Story

Halloween parties are here! Which means its time for sexy-everything costumes, vats of jungle juice (or, for classier establishments, “punch”), and drunkenly binge-eating fun-sized candy in front of your friends. And for us nerdy types, it means something else entirely: another excuse to cosplay…and sometimes make very drunk, cripplingly-awkward decisions.

I’m here to help you through those situations. Being a veteran of awkward-sauce, costumed capers where I wake up the next morning wondering how the hell I can eliminate my hangover and, simultaneously, burn any record of my identity, I can give you this: the costume party survival guide, told in two simple narratives.

#1: The Infamous Pokémon Party

The Dos: When a new friend invites you to a Pokémon-themed bash, you go. There’s no question about it. Clearly, you have made the best friend in the world, and you should go to their party and ensnare them into your web of friendship for the rest of forever. Bring a flask, label your Halloween treats as “Rare Candy,” gather a posse, and force them to dress according to theme. Also, you must don your Pocket Monster finest. Take your cue from the lovely Caylie here (another butt-kickin NBF lady), and our friend Mollie, who both attended the party with me back in the day:

Can you say the Cutest Twin Vulpixes ever? (….Vulpixi?)

And finally, talk to everyone (even the kid who went as Psyduck), and drink in pleasant moderation until the night is a happy blur.

The Don’ts: Basically, don’t do what I did. If you want to be a sexy, powerful, eye-catching Pokémon (weird?), don’t go and choose Jigglypuff. And when you do, don’t build the costume on the cheap, because you’ll end up with a toilet paper tube instead of a microphone.

Also, because you chose Jigglypuff, you’ll spend most of the night doing this:

(Now imagine this face being made shortly after repeated screams of “JIGGLY!”)

But the most important son’ts of this story have to do with precarious dynamic between humans-dressed-as-Japanese-monsters. While I was drinking copiously with fellow Vulpixes, Growlithes, and a token Farfetch’d; I noticed that a friend (and kind-of ex, I guess, so behaving weirdly at the poor fellow was a norm at that point) had dropped down onto the middle of the living room floor and started doing pushups (I don’t remember the motive. Contest, maybe?). And you know, as people do when they see another human start showing off their athletic prowess unsolicited, that there was sort of a collective bemusement. So, I thought, “I’ll turn this into a true challenge!” and decided to test the man by adding my body weight to his push-up routine.

Now, here are the important don’ts, people.

DON’T add your body weight to your friend’s in-progress push-up sequence by drunkenly slamming yourself butt-first into the small of their back. You WILL cause them to smack into the hardware floor and split their goddamn chin open.

DON’T, upon seeing their wounded and bleeding face, stand up and throw your arms triumphantly in the air and scream “JIGGLYPUFF USED POUND! IT WAS SUPER EFFECTIVE!” It will probably make them secretly hate you very, very much.

DON’T then offer to help your injured friend by leading them to kitchen and trying to affix ice cubes to their face with pieces of scotch tape. It will only give them a stupid beard that will melt in five minutes, and make them soggy with tape stuck in their stubble in addition to being bloody. Find a first aid kit like a champ. Or at least think of toilet paper, for chrissakes.

Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say here is: Don’t be a violent douchenozzle dressed as Jiggypuff. People will remind you of it YEARS afterward, and you’ll start feeling faintly embarrassed whenever your nerdy comrades start talking about Pokémon.

#2: The Boy Wonder Anomaly

There was a year where I went to multiple parties dressed as Robin, and shit ALWAYS went down when I donned the tights of the Boy Wonder. I haven’t been able to dig up any photos of it yet, but I did find the main piece of the costume (sans utility belt, gloves, boots, cape, collar, and mask) for the sake of your amusement:

(Those spaghetti arms are al dente, motherfuckers.)

Adorned with that incredibly shiny material, I learned some very important things about costumed party-going:

DO enter all costume parties without self-consciousness. As we all learned when we were children: dress-up is fun. If people give you crap for your enthusiasm or your costume, chances are they are a sad soul who lost the meaning of “fun” during their career of being a curmudgeon and judging other people.

DO let your hair down. So you got a little tipsy and broke through the birthday boy’s glass coffee table; you still had a great time, and it was your birthday too, so it cancels out the damage (that instance is actually brought to you by one of my old, darling roommates).

DO allow yourself to form costume alliances. DC vs. Marvel, biatches! Battlestar vs. Firefly! Friendly rivalry results in the most spirited beer pong games, and it educates the non-nerdy in the richness of geek culture. In other words, it only makes the party the best party.


DON’T approach a lady (dressed as Robin or otherwise) with the words “Oh fuck, you look so hot right now. I wish my girlfriend wasn’t here.” Because that is the grossest, scummiest, and downright skeaziest thing that can be said to a female.

DON’T then keep addressing said lady in a disrespectful manner after she has threatened to strangle you with her utility belt.

DON’T, as the disrespected lady, then self-medicate your disgust with certain substances, and stand on the train platform proclaiming to strangers that you move like seaweed. Deadly seaweed.


DON’T injure yourself at a costume party and refuse to go get medical help. It doesn’t actually aid you to just stand there with a kid dressed as James Hetfield drinking a “beer-amid” until you can’t feel your dislocated ribs anymore (if you want to avoid dislocated ribs, DON’T attempt Judo on the stairs).

DON’T go back to a guy/girl’s apartment without a collective understanding between the two of you of what you want. They might expect more than you’ll want to give them if you’re unclear.

DON’T, upon realizing that you were unclear, decide to vacate the person’s apartment by sneaking out their kitchen window, especially if they’re on any floor other than ground level. YOU AREN’T ACTUALLY THE BOY WONDER.

End of Super-Useful Guide

Anyway, I wish ya’ll a happy Halloween (partying or not), and remember: don’t be a jackwagon. Do absorb the joy of the season. Remember to wear your costumes with pride!

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