Each year, I mean to put together a comprehensive analysis of what it’s like to be in Salem during the month of October. Thousands make a pilgrimage to the city, touring the witch museums, buying fried dough and dressing up like it’s Halloween on the 30 other days of the month. That comprehensive analysis will have to wait till next year, but I did want to point out the best costume I have ever seen in my life.

Halloween night in Salem is relatively insane. The streets are closed down, and crowds of people come out, showing off their finest costumes. We’ve seen some pretty great ones — costumes that require a lot of time and thought. But there was one in particular this year that was hands down, the winner.

The sheer brilliance of this costume is that is requires no planning. Feel free to print out the following materials list for future reference:

  • 1 roll of duct tape

figureWe witnessed three guys walking through the crowd, each with 5 foot tall tree branches duct taped around their waist, covering their entire upper body (see figure). There were also slow, spooky (but soft) chants of “Treeeeees… treeeeees”, as they made their way by. As we watched the tops of the branches wade through the sea of people (clearly visable even at a distance), it looked something like an elementary school rendition of a scene from The Lord of the Rings.

So as long as you have a roll of duct tape handy, find a tree with long skinny branches and tape them to yourself. You just may have the best costume ever created. Works best in packs of three or four people.


  1. Bryan says:

    Just don’t poke peoples eyes out as you walk past :)

  2. Rob Mientjes says:

    Whoah there. Don’t use fresh branches, only the ones that are already on the ground :P

  3. Ethan says:

    “There were also slow, spooky (but soft) chants of ‘Treeeeees…treeeeees’….”
    This would officially freak the unholy crap out of me.

  4. Scott says:

    Yup, Mass is beautiful this time of year. I don’t get many people around here though, nobody wants to come out in the boonies :P. People don’t take Halloween as seriously as Salem does around here either.

  5. Zelnox says:

    Were there any William Hung costumes? Hahahaha.

  6. Rob – an excellent suggestion — and it appeared the branches used had already fallen. Although they had leaves on them, which added a certain something.
    Ethan – I’ll admit, there was a moment of disbelief and horror… followed by laughter. :-)

  7. Jannis says:

    I am wondering: WHERE ARE THE PICTURES? :-)

  8. Presumably a pack of three or four people would constitute a copse or, maybe even, a thicket. Now I’m off to print out the materials list…

  9. Brian says:

    Does the dude with Ghost Busters mobile still cruise around?
    If you have never been to Salem at Halloween it is a great time. I haven’t been in awhile but it is like a mini – mardi gras. Streets and bars full of people.

  10. Ian Firth says:

    I saw a similar costume in Florida 10 years ago, and the man wearing it had spent a lot of time on it. Splitting a large pot and creating boots out of it. Dirt in the boot-pots. A complete treetrunk around his legs.
    He spent the night moving from place to place in the bar, then just standing still. People would stand near him not knowing he wasn’t a tree.
    Not sure if he managed to get into the ladies room.

  11. Trees do need pruning, Rob. And in that spirit, it would be fun to add that detail if at a party — letting people pluck things or prune the tree throughout the night.

  12. Scott says:

    “There were also slow, spooky (but soft) chants of

  13. Ben says:

    Guys, you must be careful when trying this at home! The branches, if left attached to the body for too long, may grow into the skin… therefore becoming a real tree! To

  14. hehee -classic :)
    A pack of my friends and I (about 15 or so) like to celebrate new-years eve in very untraditional ways… I think I’ve just found this years plan!

  15. Adrian says:

    When these Bush supporters arrived, did nobody think to call the Copse?
    Sorry, couldn’t resist that one :)

  16. Aw.. Poor trees. :(
    Oh well.. Sounds like a really neat idea..

  17. “He spent the night moving from place to place in the bar, then just standing still. People would stand near him not knowing he wasn’t a tree.”
    Wow… We had a guy just like that at a party in Seattle this year. I’m quite he sure he not only got into the ladies room but actually penetrated a bedroom (this was a house party, mind you). It took a good 30 minutes for the couple to realize there was a person standing in the corner. Quite an ingenius idea.
    Dan, it takes 3-4 rolls of duct tape, actually: one per person. And I think I might get a group together and try this next year. :)

  18. ian barrett says:

    Hang on – he was dressed as a tree in the ladies room and NO ONE noticed???
    It’s been far too long since I’ve been to a party that good :-)

  19. Rachel says:

    Dan, is this something the sensational seven should try out next October??? ;)

  20. Well, possibly guys have watched Resident Evil or something.

  21. Jay says:

    Like Jannis already pointed out.
    We need some proof of this piece of art of which you speak. My eyes crave to witness such magnificence. How could you not have taken pictures when you could clearly see that this was something the whole world needed to behold.
    Aaargh the torment.
    Although i must admit in your defense that the mental image i now have of this fabulous costume will keep a smile on my face for the rest of the evening. thank you

  22. This is the first year I went to Salem for Halloween. I’m afraid I didn’t see the trees at all, though I did glimpse that ghostbuster car someone mentioned – that was pretty cool. I think the most outrageous costume I saw was someone dressed up as a box of tampons! It was great just walking around seeing so many costumes (I was lame & didn’t dress up – if I go again I’ll definitely want to wear a costume).

  23. MH says:

    “…it looked something like an elementary school rendition of a scene from The Lord of the Rings.”
    That is such a beautiful word-image…I don’t know why, maybe because I first read LOTR in sixth grade.

  24. Peter says:

    Duct tape costumes are great! I’ve live in the North Shore for seven years now, and I have yet to make it to Salem for Halloween. We live just across the bridge in Beverly, so it’s easy enough to get there… just never felt like putting up with the crowds and crazies. :-)

  25. Chris Hunt says:

    “it looked something like an elementary school rendition of a scene from The Lord of the Rings.”
    Surely more like a scene from Macbeth.
    Why not do a bonsai version by ramming a few twigs in your BP? …