Back again: Sexy Unsexy Halloween Costumes!

Back from a two-year COVID-19 hiatus, it’s the most famous thing I’ve ever written about: welcome to the long-awaited Best Sexy [Thing That Is Inherently Not Sexy] Halloween Costume Contest™!

What is the Best Sexy [Thing That Is Inherently Not Sexy] Halloween Costume Contest™, you ask? It’s a joyous annual tradition celebrating (?) the weirdness that is Halloween as celebrated on Earth, and especially as celebrated in the United States. Specifically, the weirdness of women’s Halloween costumes.

What is so weird about women’s Halloween Costumes?

Imagine that you are a woman (easy for about 50% of you) and that your favorite animal is a moose (easy for me and maybe you too). You want nothing more than to go out with your friends and celebrate the majestic moose.

Behold, the ONLY women’s moose costume I could find on the Internet.

And there is the problem: for just about any costume idea you can imagine, there are no normal costumes available in women’s sizes for that idea – instead, there are just SEXY costumes. And Sexy Moose is not even in the Top 100 weirdest. (Aside: another weirdness is that this is clearly a women’s costume, but it has antlers, which only male moose have).

In 2015, I decided to take the moose by the antlers and sponsor a contest. It took off from there. Oh boy did it take off. People now send me these costumes twelve months a year. Someone once defined an Internet brand as the thing that, whenever anyone sees it, it makes them think of you. By that definition, my brand is… inappropriately sexy Halloween costumes. Y’all are WEIRD.

A caution before we begin: I don’t want to sound like I’m making fun of any women who wear these costumes. You should wear whatever you want this Halloween, and have fun wearing it. Instead, I want to make fun of a society that thinks so little of women that it offers absolutely no costumes but sexy ones.

The Contest

Bernie Sanders meme: "I am once again asking for you to send me sexy Halloween costumes"

Once again, I invite you to suggest the best, weirdest, most WTF examples of sexy Halloween costumes. In particular, I invite you to suggest costumes that bring sexy to things that are totally, completely, Inherently Not Sexy. (If you send me a costume idea since the last completed contest in 2019, please send it again.) Comment here, or on my social media, or email me at

Coming up here are the winners of the Best Sexy [Thing That Is Inherently Not Sexy] Halloween Costume Contest™ for the years 2015 to 2019. I think you’ll agree that, not only are they all completely batshit, they get more batshit with each year. I can’t wait to see what this year’s suggestions will bring.

The rest of this week, I’ll post the suggestions I receive from you. On Friday, I’ll post a poll asking you to vote for the winning (?) costume. You’ll have the weekend to vote, and the winner will be announced on Halloween itself, next Monday.

A new twist this year: A PRIZE! The person who suggests the winning (?) costume will receive not only Internet fame, but also a $10 gift card.

Good luck and Happy Halloween!

Previous Winners (?)

Presenting the winners from previous years, and the people who suggested them:

2015: Sexy Orca

Suggested by Jeremy Berg

Because nothing says “sexy” like GIANT SWIMMING WHALE OF DEATH!

Black-and-white costume with a tail hanging from the back and a hoodie that looks like a killer whale head
Sexy orca (click for a larger version)

2016: Sexy Scrabble

Suggested by Kelly Simms

When people say “smart is the new sexy,” I don’t think this is what they had in mind. Possible exception if your name is Magdalena Krzyzewski.

A short white dress decorated like a Scrabble board (with colored ties), and thigh fringe with letters
Sexy Scrabble (click for a larger version)

2017: Sexy Green Poo

Suggested by Aimee Shoff

This was a reference to one of cultural items that makes no sense even five years later. For Halloween 2017, Burger King sold a limited-edition “Black Whopper” – just a regular Whopper sandwich served in a black bun. And apparently, it turned your poo green. Who thinks green poo is sexy? Please don’t answer that question.

Green poo-shaped costume from too many Sexy Black Whoppers
Sexy green poo (click for a larger version)

2018: Sexy Art Gallery Urinal

Suggested by Christina Rawls

A reference to a different pop culture icon: the art exhibit Fountain by Marcel Duchamp, a literal urinal that he submitted to an art gallery. With this costume, you can make a subversive statement about the nature of art, while also finding partners who enjoy the same things you do.

A very short dress decorated to look like a urinal - ceci n'est pas une Halloween costume
Sexy art gallery urinal (click for a larger version)

2019: Sexy Mr. Rogers

Suggested by Elliot Kresmer

After two straight years of scatological costume humor, the contest went in a… different… direction. This costume was inspired by the box-office success A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks the legendary children’s TV host. It includes his iconic red sweater, which you can take off when the trolley takes you to the land of make-believe.

Sexy Mr. Rogers, with black stiletto heels and HAND PUPPETS of King Friday and Daniel the Lion
Sexy Mr. Rogers (click for a larger version)

I’ll feature your costume suggestions the rest of the week, put up a poll on Friday, and announce winners on Monday – as well as who won THE PRIZE!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

There I fixed it: Ungerrymandering West Virginia

Continuing our gerrymandering series: Almost Heaven…

Suggested new Congressional Districts for West Virginia (red and green), along with the boundary between the official new districts (white). Click for a larger view.

Usual deal with this map: my fixed districts are shown by color: red for District 1 and green for District 2. The white line shows the boundary between the state’s two districts, adopted by the state legislature and signed into law by Republican governor Jim Justice.

Last week, we met the first state in my list to gain a representative in the House: Montana. Today, we meet the first state to lose a representative. West Virginia lost population between 2010 and 2020 – nearly 60,000 people, mostly from moving to other states – and so the state goes from three Congressional districts to two.

There’s not much to say about the strategy for redistricting one of only four states where the majority of the population lives in rural areas. Although Jefferson County at the tip of the Eastern Panhandle is part of the Washington, DC metropolitan statistical area (MSA), the largest MSA mostly within West Virginia is Huntington (+Ashland, Ohio), which ranks 150th in the country; the MSA containing the state capital of Charleston ranks 190th.

Huntington and Charleston both end up in District 1, both by my accounting and by the officially legislated districts. Either way, the district border splits the state in half, north and south. Like the entire state, both districts are heavily Republican, and will produce little drama in the general election this November.

What will be interesting is that the loss of a district means that two sitting representatives – David McKinley (R-WV-1) and Alex Mooney (R-WV-2) must now run against each other in the Republican primary in the northern district. Mooney is a darling of former President Trump, which would seem to make him the favorite, but because of the way the lines got drawn, most of the new district overlaps with the old district that McKinley represented, where is quite popular. So who knows. We’ll find out when the primary happens on Tuesday May 10, 2022.

Ten states fixed, forty to go.

There I fixed it: Ungerrymandering Rhode Island

Continuing my ambitious project to fix the 435 U.S. House districts, today we come to the first state that is obviously, stupidly gerrymandered:

Suggested (colors) and official (white line boundary) new Congressional Districts for Rhode Island. The black box shows the area of the inset around Providence; the yellow line shows the boundary of the city of Providence. Blue areas are water. Click on the image for a larger version.

Why would you have the boundary between your two Congressional districts run right down the middle of the largest city in your state? Ask the Rhode Island state legislature, which approved this new redistricting plan on February 17, 2022. The new districts are nearly identical to the districts used for the last five House elections.

In the map above, notice how the boundary between District 1 (to the right of the white line) and District 2 (to the left) aggressively jumps to the east to split the city of Providence – Rhode Island’s largest city, containing about 20 percent of the population of the state. That jump is even clearer in the inset map of Providence in the top right; compare the district boundary (white) to the city boundary (yellow).

Compare that weirdness with my plan for redistricting Rhode Island. Remember the rules: beginning in the middle of the largest metro area in the state, I start assigning census tracts to a district until that district has accounted for the target population I am looking for: the total population of the state divided by the number of districts. So for Rhode Island, I started in Providence and worked my way out until I had 549,802 people in the district.

The result was that the entirety of the cities of Providence, East Providence, Pawtucket, Warwick, Cranston, and Central Falls are in my District 1, along with several tracts outside of any city just to the north of Providence. This map shows how my fixed districts line up with city borders:

Cities in Fixed District 1 (yellow outlines, with city names labeled)

In all the states I have fixed – and I have far more than I have shown so far – I have tried to keep cities together in the same district, and I have succeeded nearly every time.

With Rhode Island fixed, it’s now nine down, forty-one to go.

The bigger the states get, the more fun the ungerrymandering gets. Stay tuned!

Join the Defense

This one goes out to everyone, all over the political spectrum. Progressives, conservatives, liberals, Marxists, libertarians, moderates, anarchists, and whatever else I might have forgotten. I have friends of all these ideologies (I work hard to keep them) – and chances are, you identify more or less with some of these. This one’s for you.

By now I’m sure you have heard the story of the defenders of Snake Island.

Ostriv Zmiinyi (Ukrainian for Snake Island) is a tiny island in the Black Sea, just off the coast from the Danube Delta. See the satellite image below, from Google Maps. In normal times, the island is home to about 30 people who work at either at a scientific research station.

Snake Island, Ukraine (from Google Maps)
Click on the image for a larger version, or view the island in Google Maps

But these are not normal times. When Russia invaded Ukraine last Thursday, the island was occupied only by thirteen border guards – not professional soldiers. That day, at around 6 PM local time (1600 GMT), the Russian missile cruiser Moskva approached the island. The ship radioed to shore and the following conversation ensued, livestreamed by one of the guards (whose name has apparently been withheld, but if it gets releases, I’ll add it here):

Moskva: This is Russian warship. Russian warship to Zmiinyi Island, this is Russian warship. I propose to lay down your arms and surrender to avoid bloodshed and needless casualties. Otherwise we will strike. Zmiinyi Island, this is Russian warship, I repeat. I propose to lay down weapons, surrender, otherwise you will be bombed. Do you read?

Border Guard (to fellow guard): Well, fuck these too, right? Just in case…

Border Guard (to Moskva):

Russian warship, go fuck yourself!

Something about that line… it stuck. Maybe it was the contrast between the formal language of “Russian warship…” and the defiant message of “…go fuck yourself.” A meme was born, and a rallying cry. What “Remember the Alamo!” had been to the Texas Revolution and “¡No Pasarán!” had been to the Anti-Fascists of the Spanish Civil War, “Russian warship, go fuck yourself” had become to the defense of Ukraine.

And, against all odds, the defense of Ukraine seems to be working. As it continues, “Russian warship, go fuck yourself” will embed itself deeper and deeper into the public consciousness. And that brings us back to the purpose of this post.

Even if the defense of Ukraine succeeds and the Russians fuck themselves all the way back to Moscow, that’s not going to be the end of this. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin will remain firmly in charge in Russia, arresting and murdering opponents with impunity. Russia still has a powerful disinformation campaign to influence public opinion to its cause.

Kim Jong-Un (left) and Xi Jinping (center) arrive in Moscow for a summit with Vladimir Putin (right)

And, most worryingly, authoritarianism is taking hold all over the world. Politicians in multiple countries – even here in the United States – are saying that they can fix the world’s problems if you only give them more power, and are talking openly about ignoring the results of elections.

And then there’s China.

The danger posed by authoritarianism is bigger than it has been any time since at least the end of the Cold War.

That’s why I am asking everyone, of all the political stripes I mentioned above: please, let’s set aside our differences and fight the shared threat that authoritarianism represents. Because if we don’t, our differences will no longer make a damn bit of difference. We won’t get to debate how to run the world, and we won’t have the option of making our voices heard through our votes and our advocacy. All decisions will be made by leaders that we did not elect and cannot speak out against.

Please, let’s set aside our differences, and all shout together:

Authoritarianism, go fuck yourself!

Authoritarianism didn’t work out so well last time either.
Read more about it at 11:11/11+100: A Snapshot in the Family Album.

There I fixed it: Ungerrymandering Montana

Continuing our gerrymandering series with the the sideboob of the Rockies, the state that’s all up in Idaho’s personal space:

Suggested new Congressional Districts for Montana (red and green), along with the boundary between the official new districts (white). Click for a larger view.

Montana has major reason to celebrate this year. For the past 30 years, they have had only a single representative in the U.S. House, currently Republican Matt Rosendale. Their population has increased enough that they now get a second.

Two Congressional districts means they have to draw them on a map, and mapping districts means the potential for gerrymandering. And the potential for gerrymandering means the potential for me to do it better.

Except I don’t think I did this time. Montana was the easiest state for my arranging of proposed districts; I was able to do it all at the county level. I divided Montana into a western District 1 (red) and an eastern District 2 (green). About 60 percent of the way down the boundary, my District 1 juts to the left, just south of Montana’s capital city of Helena. Helena, and all of Lewis and Clark County, is in District 2 – but Jefferson County immediately to the south is in District 1.

Montana, like Idaho, has a bipartisan independent redistricting committee. Their results are shown with the white dividing line in the image above, with District 1 on the left and District 2 on the right. Notice how their line gives much more space around Helena – I think they did a better job drawing districts than I did.

Don’t worry, that’s unlikely to happen again.

There I fixed it: Ungerrymandering Idaho

Continuing our series on gerrymandering and its effects: last time I announced my ambitious project to fix the 435 U.S. House districts, one state at a time. Today is where things get interesting. Who da ho?

Suggested new Congressional Districts for Idaho (red and green), along with the boundary between the official new districts (white). Click for a larger view.

Idaho has two House districts to plan. The map above shows both the districts I came up with (red is District 1 and green is District 2). The white line shows the boundary between the new districts that were approved by Idaho’s independent, bipartisan redistricting commission in a public meeting on November 5th, 2021.

I made my “there I fixed it” map without consulting the official new districts set by the redistricting commission, because I wanted to get a fresh and independent look at the solving the problem of dividing up the state into reasonable electoral districts. My approach, as I outlined on Monday, is to start with the largest metropolitan area in the state and move out until I fill up one district. In the case of a state like Idaho that has only two districts, that’s all I need to do: filling up one district will automatically set the other, which will include all census tracts not selected.

There is only one reasonably large metropolitan area in Idaho: Boise. The 2010 Idaho Congressional Districts map annoyingly split the city of Boise, so I wanted to make sure to keep the Boise metropolitan area as part of the same district. I kept it all in District 1. I ended up having to put the dividing line across the Twin Falls metropolitan area – and indeed, the city of Twin Falls (Idaho’s eighth-largest city). But I managed to put most of Twin Falls into District 1, with only the northeastern edge in District 2.

What about the actual map that will be used for Idaho’s House elections from 2022 to 2032? It’s not too bad. It’s actually a big improvement over the 2010 edition, which split the city of Boise. The new map features almost all of Boise in District 2, except for a small area in the southwest in District 1.

Montana is creepy

So that’s one more state ungerrymandered. Including Idaho with the six one-district states means that we are now at seven down, forty-three to go.

Up next: Idaho’s frenemy, Montana.