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Posted at 12:34 PM ET, 10/18/2012

Halloween costume ideas for higher education wonks


Sure, every Halloween is going to inspire the same routine lineup of costumes — witches, pirates, superheroes, construction workers and anything that can have the adjective “sexy” put before it. But the holiday also brings topical costumes — the witty, newsworthy or ironic getups that only make sense for a finite amount of time.

How do we extend this to the world of higher education? For those of you looking to show off your nerdy collegiate side, here are some ideas:


Dramatic Halloween inspiration: Dragas (left) and Sullivan (right). (Norm Shafer - For The Washington Post)
Teresa Sullivan and Helen Dragas: It was an epic higher ed tale: The president of an elite, historic university founded by Thomas Jefferson was ousted by the leader of the governing board over a “philosophical difference of opinion.” And then reinstated without much of an in-depth explanation. And now they continue to work together. To pull this off, you will need: A friend, power suits, an ample supply of Jefferson quotes and protest posters with witty slogans that only those attending Jefferson’s university would understand. Hug a lot.

A MOOC: This buzzword stands for “massive open online course” and is the latest experiment with online education. To pull this off: I have no ideas. Good luck. Send me your pics.

University of Tennessee frat bros: I would recommend that you draw your inspiration for this costume from the stoic news conference that occurred after the party where a member allegedly butt-chugged wine and landed in the hospital with severe alcohol poisoning. Please don’t let your inspiration be that party. To pull this off: At least two dozen bros dressed in dark suits and sunglasses, plus statements.

An unemployed college graduate living at home with five-digit debt: Too depressing? Yeah, it is. Sorry. Never mind.

A breast-feeding professor: At the beginning of the semester, an American University anthropology professor brought her sick baby to the first day of class and briefly breast-fed while lecturing. After a student journalist raised questions, the professor published a strongly worded essay (“Exposéing My Breasts on the Internet”) that criticized the reporter. To pull this off: A sick baby, an AU wonk T-shirt and a print-out of the essay.

More ideas that were shared on my Facebook wall:

* “A Gordon Gee Bow Tie from Ohio State is a classic in the Buckeye State.”

* “A bottle of Adderall.”

* “Why not go as a promissory note?”

* “Going with a couple’s theme — a Paper FAFSA and a pen.”

* “Dress up as a helicopter parent... you’ll need some chopper blades (sorta like Inspector-Gadget style).”

And some more from Twitter:

Please add more ideas to this list by leaving a comment below.

By  |  12:34 PM ET, 10/18/2012

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