Every Halloween, thousands of Madison residents and visitors make their way to State Street to celebrate Freakfest, the city's official Halloween bash, complete with ghoulish activities and elaborate costumes. But for those who still find themselves without a outfit, anxiously brainstorming ways to make an impression at this year's festival, here are five locally-focused outfits that you might be able to pull together by Saturday.
1. Gov. Scott Walker
No one put fear into the heart of Wisconsinites this year quite like Gov. Scott Walker. But whether you are politically inclined or not, there's no denying that anyone with a limited budget can pull off the Walker ensemble. Dark suit? Check. Collared shirt? Check. Red tie, strategically-placed bald spot and a half-lidded stare as if slightly stoned? Check check check! All you need is someone dressed as a teacher or state worker to kick in the shins so no one will confuse you for a high school senior on his way to get his yearbook picture taken.
2. Lake Mendota Blue-Green Algae Monster
Only those unfortunate souls who have discovered horrible red blisters hours after happily splashing about in Madison's big lake know the true horror of cyanobacteria. Otherwise known as toxic blue-green algae, its blooms can be spotted near favorite swimming areas throughout the summer. Pea-green in color, the most efficient way to duplicate this bacterial beast is to apply cucumber facial mask cream over all of your exposed areas. So as not to be confused with some cheaply-rendered Kermit the Frog, have a friend stroll beside you in full contagion make-up as if they accidentally strolled into the wrong room at Center for Disease Control. If negative comments are made, you can be sure they will be done from a safe distance.
3. Sexy __________
Over the last decade, "sexified" costumes have become a staple of Halloween shops everywhere. There's no professional outfit too prudish that can't be eroticized with the simple exposure of a mid-riff and the addition of fishnet stockings. But why does it seem like the only costumes that receive such treatment are the professions that require a college degree? Doctors, nurses, history professors, police officers are played! Can't parking lot attendants be sexy, too? What about coffee shop baristas, Charter cable installers and non-profit community organizers! Show the visitors of this year's Freakfest that if there's one thing we have in abundance here in Madison, its sexiness.
4. Willy Street Traffic Cone
Let's face it, Willy Street has recently been best known as a bedlam of construction dust and traffic cones. So what can be more timely for this year's event than to strut around State Street in a halo of orange plastic? To distinguish yourself, a designator may be required, something as simple as "Willy Street" written in black marker across the front of your cone suit (How embarrassing would it be to be confused with some west-side construction cone?). While some may dub this costume uncreative, residents of the Willy Street area will be thrilled to see one less cone on their street.
5. Police Officer
Anyone who can remember what Halloween was like on State Street ten years ago remembers when the most popular outfit for the night has been a police officer's uniform. (Okay, so most of the people wearing these outfits were actual cops). But according to a recent press conference, city leaders plan to significantly reduce police presence at this year's Freakfest from previous years. Whether this can be attributed to better behavior or the success of a visible police presence is up for debate. But just to be safe, you can help keep the peace this year by continuing the illusion of overwhelming security by donning the uniform of Madison's finest. (Note: There is a thin line between "dressing as" and "impersonating" a police officer. One is fun, the other has very serious consequences, including up to five years in prison and the possibility of real officers spraying you with very real pepper spray.)