Life in Clubland: Halloween Costumes and the Professional DJ

Should you DJ in a Halloween Costume?

It’s a more controversial topic than a lot of people would think. Many DJs think that you shouldn’t trivialize the role of the DJ by dressing up in a clown costume, that DJs who wear stuff like that are somehow gimmicky, that they’re unable to stand on their skills alone?

Halloween is a holiday. In nightlife culture, it is THE holiday. It’s a big night. People are unhinged. They’re dressing up in some kind of alternate identity for the night, and it’s going to be good times. The DJ is the focal point of most parties, whether you like it or not. The crowd might not be staring directly at you all night, but everybody certainly sees you. Your participation in the theme of the event reflects the party as a whole. If you don’t give a shit about it enough to take a minute and throw something together, why did they?

This isn’t saying that DJs should immediately run out and turn into cartoon characters and DJ 365 days –a-year in Deadmau5 heads and hockey masks, although it certainly hasn’t hurt the careers of either Deadmau5 or Daft Punk. I mean, Ritchie Hawtin can DJ anywhere in the world in glasses and a white t-shirt, and he’s still Richie Hawtin. You, however, are probably not Richie Hawtin. You are the DJ at a Halloween party, and it would probably be cool of you to just get in the spirit of things and dress up. You accent the vibe, you make the decorations look cooler, you make it feel more like Halloween if you’re in on the whole thing.

Some Advice

It is great that you decided to join the party and dress up. You do still have to DJ though. You need to wear a costume that looks cool, but is still appropriate to play in. Sure, it’s going to be hilarious when you step into the booth in a full-size barney costume, but it won’t be that hilarious five minutes later when you’re unable to operate any of the gear, and just have to take the thing off.

You should try to wear something that looks cool, but is still comfortable. If you wear a costume that is basically regular clothes, and doesn’t have giant sleeve of wizard flowing all over the place, you’re probably going to have an easier time on the decks.

Unless you want to get shit thrown at you, don’t dress up as an Indian. Unless you’re Native American, and are doing it ironically, as it were.


10743735_10152554855437909_652740746_nMy most successful costume of all time is Cobra Commander. I became Cobra Commander. People called me the Commander. I wore the damn thing for like 3 years in a row. It was a huge hit. It had a full helmet with a reflective visor. I could not fit regular headphones under the helmet, so I used ear buds. It was very difficult to see my computer through the visor. The helmet meant I couldn’t hear the monitors. I think I mixed ok? I wasn’t told that I wrecked, but people may have just been polite. I really had no way of knowing. There was a lot of drop mixing going on, and stopping the music to yell on the mic. I couldn’t hear or see for shit. That was the price to be paid for a helmet. I also had basically a secret identity for an entire weekend, which, as somebody who was pretty recognizable in the club I worked at, was gold.

Your Options

There’s a couple ways to go about obtaining a costume. You can get into the spirit of things with the other million people in your city, and go and paw through the crap at Value Village and Party City…or you can do like the pros do.  There are a few pro choices, in my opinion.

Online – Cheap. Good selection. They usually include shipping if you order a nice one. Lots of selection. Read the reviews. Find one you like, and then shop it on multiple sites. If you have multiple Halloween parties to do, buy multiple costumes. If the reviews say “really hard to go to the bathroom in,”  this is not the one for you.

Rent – For the price of a shitty costume, you can rent a badass one from a costume store. There’s probably a couple in your city, the kind of stuff stage actors wear when they’re in a period production. If you’re going to be a pirate, for god sakes, be a real pirate. If you’re going to be a pimp (poor taste and lets face it, not the most original choice), you deserve to get beaten up if you wear one of those one-piece disco jumpers with the big floppy hat. You don’t look like a pimp. You look like you’re working a booth at the fair.

Custom –  If you want something that will stick around for a while, you can get somebody to make you a custom piece. If you’re just looking for cool clothes, like Indiana Jones or something, you should ask around and find a local seamstress, costume designer or stylist who can help you make it happen, and then hang onto it. You should hang onto ALL your costumes, btw, these props can pay dividends in the future, and save a lot of running around. If you’re looking to spend real money and go big, start surfing online “cosplay” forums.  This is where you will find people/businesses that design those crazy costumes you see at Comicon. Custom stuff like this will cost real money, like $500+, but you will make one serious entrance.

So yeah. Get in the spirit. Participate in the event. Wear something appropriate, that doesn’t get in the way of you doing your job.  Enjoy what you do, invest some time and energy into it. Have a blast.

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