Dressing up for Halloween is hard enough in real life. You need a costume idea — maybe the hardest part — and then the actual costume. You frantically scramble to every discount store and Salvation Army around town to piece the costume together. Sometimes things work out and everyone loves your ornate, semi-obscure, just-recognizable enough costume. Sometimes you go as a ghost. Again. But now there's a new source of Halloween-related anxiety: the punny Twitter handle.
Have you changed your Twitter display name (not your @username) to something spooky yet? Everybody's doing it:
I'm starting to get pretty sad and left out by how impossible it is to Halloweenize my name. Everybody's doing it!— ⟁ Adam Dark Estes ⟁ (@adamclarkestes) October 23, 2013
That's former Atlantic Wire contributor Adam Clark Estes prior to his Halloweenized name change earlier today. He's right, though. Something changed this year and a Halloweened Twitter name is the hot new accessory for the season. This year everyone seems to be spookifying their name ahead of October 31.
The game is easy. You take your name and make as many Halloween puns as possible. The gold standard, in this writer's honest opinion, is Yahoo! hockey writer Harrison Mooney's annual contribution: Scarrison Booney. We should all aspire to have such Halloween-ready names.
There are some fairly common modifications. Any -el or -all names work perfectly with hell. Anyone with -ar or -er goes with some kind of play on scare, like Scariek Malinowski, or Doree Scarier, or Ryan Scarry. Some options are more obvious than others. We can't all be Killvia Killingsworth, or Bloody Finger or Specter Hell, or Axe Bleed. Their names required very little modification before they were Halloween ready. Or there's Chris Heller, who didn't have to change a thing to fit in.
Some people are playing along while throwing the very simple, unwritten rules out the window. Like they're subverting the game, playing along in the loosest sense, while remaining too cool for school. They're using the Twitter equivalent of cutting some holes in a white sheet and calling yourself a ghost. You can always emulate Lily, But Scarier or John Halloween. (But we kinda hope you don't.)
Changing your name for Halloween is mostly just stupid fun. It's easier than going to a store and actually decorating your apartment or bedroom. That takes real world work and effort. It's fun to throw around ideas off coworkers or friends on chat, though, trying to come up with the strangest or most demented play on your name. It's a little digital decoration that's requires some creativity, or at least more than adding a badge to your display picture.
But this innocent little waste of fifteen minutes is making some people sweat. There's a chance your name doesn't lend itself well to Halloween jokes, and that's fine. We can't all be a David, so easily changed to Dracula, or a Jack, so easily... you can probably guess that one. Names can be long and cumbersome filled with letters and sounds that don't mesh with Halloween's limited word bank. Former Atlantic Wire writer Becca Greenfield was feeling pressured into joining the fun but didn't want to give in. She had a decent option, too! Greenfield was going to use Becca BooOOooOOoo, but decided against it. She didn't want to be another one of the sheeple, another body-snatched alien with a bad pun for a name.
It's OK if you can't, or don't want to change your name for Halloween. No one is cooler for having a Halloweened Twitter name. Some are more clever than others. Let's not make our Twitter names into a digital form of trick-or-treating, where everyone has to dress up in the best costume with the best materials. But dressing up every year, even if your costume sucks, is more fun than not dressing up at all.