With Halloween just around the corner, your friends have already claimed all the clever, timely costume ideas: the fly on Mike Pence’s head, a hippie Chris Christie called Kris Kristie Kristofferson, Coron-Elvira: a sexy, campy, goth version of the virus, Poe Biden, the nineteenth-century Gothic author and presidential candidate.

Instead of embarrassing yourself with an obvious costume, try this fun, fresh DIY idea: make a 2019 costume! Here's a handy guide to creating an authentic 2019 get-up.

The Look

2019 people had the motivation to look nice each day. They performed little daily rituals to improve their appearance and maintain their hygiene. So on Halloween, take a shower, even if it’s only been three or four days since your last one. Maybe comb your hair.

Here’s a funky, vintage suggestion: you could wear pants that close with a button at the top, rather than with an elastic waistband. Believe it or not, according to my research, people wore those all the time back in 2019! Search local thrift stores, or ask your parents to look through their attic, since you’ve probably already burned all your non-elastic pants.

The Props

One thing I noticed from pictures and videos is that 2019 people were often together, in large and small groups. To simulate this companionship, sew dolls onto the insides of your shirt sleeves. When you open your arms, it’ll look like people are next to you. And when you cross your arms across your chest, it’ll look like you’re hugging people, which was a common practice back in 2019.

Something you may find troubling: 2019 people were drunk only part of the time. Of course, this is 2020 and you can’t be expected to maintain sobriety all day, so my suggestion is to conceal some flasks in your pockets or purse and drink in secret.

You can leave your hand sanitizer at home! One surprising aspect of 2019 culture is, they only washed their hands for like three seconds. It was just, water, soap, lather, rinse, BOOM—you did it! You washed your hands! Dry them off and saunter out of the bathroom, triumphantly ignorant of the microbes still clinging to every square micrometer of the biological weapons you call hands.

The Performance

There was more to 2019 than way too much showering and not nearly enough handwashing.

The biggest challenge in creating your own 2019 costume is figuring out what to do with your face. In almost all the pictures I’ve seen, 2019 people are doing this thing where they bare their teeth as the corners of their mouths lift up toward their ears and eyes. It’s called “smiling.”

I know what you’re thinking: smiling, no big deal, you smile all the time while wearing your mask at the grocery store. You think it’s that thing where you crinkle up your eyes and make them sort-of squinty so that the cashier can tell how nice you are, even though this canister of pine nuts costs more than the hourly wage she’s risking her life to earn. But the “smiling” they’re doing in the 2019 photos involves both their eyes and their mouths, and conveys genuine pleasure, warmth, and delight. 2019 smiles are nearly impossible for 2020 people to execute, so be sure to practice in the mirror before Halloween.

In fact, 2019 people seem to have experienced emotions along a wider spectrum than 2020’s grinding relentless despair to numb hopelessness. So even with your hair fixed and your pants buttoned, you have to be careful not to let your empty-husk-of-a-person-ness show through the costume.

Here’s a helpful hack: in 2019, scientists published the first photo of a black hole, a void weighing the equivalent of 6.5 billion suns, where time and space cease to exist. So if anyone catches you with a 2020 look in your eyes while you’re wearing your 2019 costume, you can just pretend to be a 2019 person contemplating an awful, unfathomable abyss of spacetime from which nothing, not even light itself, can escape.

And most of all, have fun!

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