Being a geek, and being a dad, my love for Halloween surpasses any other holiday. While I still give the non-denominational Winter-solstice-adjacent gift-giving celebration its due props atop the annual list of reasons we get to not go to work, Halloween still wins my heart (and yes, I know it's not a holiday that people get off from work; that doesn't mean I don't take it off).
As geeks, we love to play dress-up. No cheaply-made costumes from spooky-themed pop-up stores inhabiting the lifeless carcasses of that former Borders down the street for us, no way! Especially for the con-going cosplay crowd,All Hallows Eve is a time to shine, a time to pull out all the stops.
Indeed, because we're not at a con with 99,999 other people, we can build costumes that work better in un-crowds. Like Transformers that actually transform. Or things that drip.
Even better, because we'll likely be partying with our "own kind," we can take the challenge to create one of those "oh my gods, that's great!" costumes. Maybe you can put together a really accurate Battlestar Galactic (TOS) uniform. Crossover-costumes seem to be hot in geeky circles these days — like you're the fourth Doctor, combined with Shaggy from Scooby Doo. Or you could build technology into your costume — carry a portable Wi-Fi access point and a giant cup of coffee and tell everyone you're a Starbucks.
As a Dad, the enjoyment goes even deeper. Halloween is one of those times when kids really get to play out their imaginations, and get rewarded for it. And whenever possible, helping them build or put together their own costumes can only improve that experience. The classic robot costume cobbled together from cardboard boxes and Styrofoam package blocks can be so awesome, especially with some of last year's technology added on to blink and beep.
And I love to decorate the house. Our house is "that house" in the neighborhood. Not the scary Halloween house, but the fun Halloween house. Plenty of inflatables on the lawn, and usually some spooky images and music rear-projected and played through a front window. One year I even built a wireless camera and speaker into a jack-o-lantern so I could speak to the kids approaching the house through it.
So my charge to all you obviously-literate (you must be literate, you're reading a blog on a bookstore's website!), hopefully-geeky people: embrace Halloween as the geeks' holiday and do it up right!
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Ken Denmead is the editor of GeekDad, a blog on Wired magazine's website. A professional civil engineer, he lives near San Francisco with his wife and their two sons, who are both geeks in training. He is the author of three books, including Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share.
Books mentioned in this post
Ken Denmead is the author of Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share