When people talk about dressing like the Internet for Halloween, they usually mean dressing like a meme or some sort of social media profile. (Avoid the boy who chirps, “I'm Google Plus!”) That's cute and funny and all, but cat photos and Tweets aren't actually the Internet, not technically. I'm here not as a rabid literalist, but to tell you that dressing like the Internet — the real, actual Internet — just might be the greatest untapped Halloween costume resource of our modern age.
Why would you ever want to dress like the Internet? Oh, I don't know, maybe because you're interested in a costume that represents one of the greatest cultural changes of our generation, our parents' generation, AND MAYBE EVEN OUR GRANDPARENTS' GENERATION (*quickly fact-checks that statement*) — well, you get the idea. Hate it, love it, but the Internet is freakishly important. You're on it right now.
A quick glance at my personal favorite resource for all things questionable — Wikipedia, man — reveals more information about the Internet than we cared to know. Since the actual Internet is so broad and composed of so many disparate components, there are plenty of ways to turn this cultural monolith into something you can wear on Halloween. Don't forget to Instagram your costume. That's part of the Internet, too.
1. Put this picture on a t-shirt.
This is a picture of the Internet. The fact that it kind of looks like a huge, all-knowing brain should tell you something.
2. Wear last year's Totally '80s costume.
When people ask, tell them you represent the time period during which the Internet was created. After all, "there is no consensus on the exact date when the modern Internet came into being, but sometime in the early to mid-1980s is considered reasonable." SEE?
3. Group costume! Gather 'round your friends and attach them to your body with cables.
Obviously the Tier 3 Networks are just people who begged to be included.
4. Wear last year's Anarchist costume.
Listen, "the Internet has no centralized governance in either technological implementation or policies for access and usage; each constituent network sets its own policies." Sounds like anarchy to me! Sure, by this point you'll officially have no friends at the party. But that's so Internet!
5. Dress up like a lonely person.
Sad news, losers: "Internet usage has been correlated to users' loneliness. Lonely people tend to use the Internet as an outlet for their feelings and to share their stories with others, such as in the 'I am lonely will anyone speak to me' thread." Feel free to start a "thread" of your own at the Halloween party by yanking strangers into the bathroom and telling them about everything that's gone wrong in your life.
6. Dress like a zombie. Stay with me here!
Wear the makeup, rat your hair, but when people say, "So you're a zombie, huh?" screech, "NO, I'M THE INTERNET!" After all, the Internet “operates without a central governing body," and zombies aren't operated by their bodies or brains — technically, they're corpses revived by witchcraft. If that same person tells you your costume is "a stretch," scream, "SO WAS THE INTERNET IN THE EARLY 1980S!"
Note: This is a good costume for aggressive people.
7. Dress like a modem. Duh.
Sleek. Streamlined. Kinda looks like a bunny. Hot!
8. Be file sharing.
This one's for the literal-minded among you. Since "file sharing is an example of transferring large amounts of data across the Internet," take a huge stack of file folders, fill them with silly/weird/mysterious messages, and hand them out to party guests. If your crush just HAPPENS to get the file with your phone number in it, well, THE INTERNET CAN BE PRETTY WEIRD…LOL?
9. Dress like this guy.
Who? "Professor Leonard Kleinrock with the first ARPANET Interface Message Processors at UCLA," that's who. You know you want an excuse to go thrifting for vintage late '60s ties.
10. Dress like something the Internet created.
Blogs. Online shopping. A social network. A rich Mark Zuckerberg. If you must be a meme, fine, you can be a meme.
11. Dress like something the Internet destroyed.
Print. Record labels. MySpace. Your eyesight.
12. Couple's costume idea! One of you dresses like Internet Surveillance, the other one dresses like someone trying to resist Internet Surveillance.
This is a great excuse to read ALL your partner's emails. You're "getting in character!"
13. An awkward person
BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT THE INTERNET HAS TURNED US INTO. Happy Halloween, lonely hearts!
Images: Kristina Alexanderson/Flickr; Getty (9); Wikipedia Commons (3); Tumblr