a round orange pumpkin and a laptop screen with a black background and white code text

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Halloween Costumes for Programmers

I interviewed for my first job in tech on Halloween. On the one hand, I had to look professional. On the other hand, I had to show some personality, some spirit – holiday spirit, even. As I flipped through my standard interview outfits in my closet, I had a brilliant idea for how to marry the two. At the very end of my interview, my interviewer asked what I was going to be for Halloween. I raised my forearm in front of my black blouse, displayed my Bash script tattoo, and declared that I was a Terminal window. I’m not going to tell you that’s why I got the job, but I also won’t tell you that it isn’t.

In case you don’t have a code snippet tattooed on your body, Here are some Halloween costume ideas for programmers that are office/Zoom call appropriate.

A Bug in the Code
An absolute classic, and super easy to pull off. Here’s what you need:
1. A set of wings (I like these butterfly wings from Amazon, but bee or ladybug will also work)
2. An antennae headband (or a headband and two pipe cleaners)
3. A code t-shirt like this one from Redbubble (or you can make your own with a plain shirt and markers)
4. Dark-colored jeans/slacks/yoga pants depending on your office dress code
rainbow butterfly wings, a headband with curly antennae, and a code t-shirt

Here’s what you need:
1. A whale onesie – oh yeah, it’s cozy time
2. A hat or headband you never plan to wear again
3. Glue
4. Small boxes of various sizes (or paper you can fold into boxes)
Create a box tower using glue and boxes, affix to your hat or headband with more glue, and you’re set! For maximum effect, make sure your headpiece is large enough to be worn on top of the hood of your whale onesie.

Here’s what you need:
1. A light blue button-down shirt (short or long-sleeved)
2. Light grey slacks
3. A blue or grey baseball cap
4. Access to a color printer or paper and colored pencils/markers/crayons and scissors
5. Two safety pins
6. A JSON t-shirt like this one from Redbubble (or you can make your own with a plain shirt and markers) – to be worn on top of the button-down
Print (or draw) and cut out a postal service logo and affix to the baseball cap with safety pins. Remember: pointy bit on the outside, just in case.
a blue button down collared shirt, a JSON t-shirt, and a postal worker hat

Google Chrome
Super simple! You just need:
1. A Google t-shirt (purchased or homemade)
2. Grey pants (or silver tights if you want to get fancy)
3. Silver jewelry and/or makeup

Code Monkey
Here’s what you need:
1. A monkey onesie or an all-brown outfit with monkey accessories
2. A code element, such as: a code t-shirt, code snippets cut out of paper or felt and affixed with fabric glue or safety pins, code drawn on with fabric paint or puff paints)
a t-shirt that says "code" and a set of monkey ears headband, tail, and bowtie

Keyboard Protector
So easy that all you need is:
1. A t-shirt with the word SECURITY on it (purchased or homemade)
2. A keyboard (carry it with you or use stick-on velcro to attach a strap to stay hands-free)

Have to be physically in the office on Halloween during a pandemic? Safety (and security) first! Here’s what you need to be a firewall:
1. Brick wall t-shirt (Amazon has you covered, or make your own)
2. Flame-print face mask
a brown t-shirt with a brick wall graphic and a black face mask with a flame graphic

The Terminal Icon
This is your “Three Hole Punch Jim” option. All you need is:
1. A black t-shirt
2. A white >_ (paint it on or cut it out of plain white paper and tape it on for a less permanent solution)

I’d love to hear what you’re going to be for Halloween, whether or not it’s connected to programming in any way. Also, if you have other ideas for programming costumes, please feel free to leave a comment. Happy Halloween!

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[Photo credit: Tracy Adams via Unsplash]

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