From the C1 to the Shooters cage, here are eight haunting Duke-inspired Halloween costume ideas

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably still on the hunt for a Halloween costume. No shame — a midterm week directly before Halloween week is definitely not an ideal combination — but the fact remains that time’s running out to pick the perfect outfit for whatever costume party you’re attending this weekend. As you search through Buzzfeed listicles and Target racks, consider: why not dress up with a little Duke spirit this year? And no, I’m not talking “sexy Blue Devil.” Here are some spooky Duke University-themed Halloween costumes to show off your school spirit and terrify your classmates.

The C1

Starting off this list is a group costume for those of you with friends. Obtain a refrigerator-sized cardboard box, cut a few window holes into it, then crowd inside with fifteen to twenty of your closest acquaintances and roam around campus. Do not tell anyone outside your bus where you’re going or what time you’ll get there — you are mysterious and no one can predict you. When a class period is about to start (perhaps at 8:29 a.m. or 1:44 p.m.), “park” your bus in a crowded area and let everyone out at once to cause sweet, sweet chaos. And don’t forget to add the yellow cord you'll inevitably forget to pull!

Retiring Coach K

Pair a classic Coach Kryzewski outfit — a blue suit and blue-and-white striped tie — with a handmade pink slip to remind the Duke community of his impending departure. “Remember how we didn’t make March Madness this year?” your costume will say. “Once Coach K’s gone, that could be us every year, forever.”


To really embody Duke culture, look no further than this quintessential campus staple. Slip into this black spandex bodysuit, strap a mini air conditioning unit to your back and you’re good to go. Give all your friends the heebie-jeebies and/or bronchitis!

Duke Parent Reliving Their Glory Days

You were the star player on the tennis team back in ‘95. Fast forward a few decades — your kid’s now a Duke student as well, and you’re paying your alma mater a visit to live vicariously through your child reminisce about the good times you had in your old stomping grounds. To pull off this look, you’ll need a "Blue Devil Dad" t-shirt, a Duke fanny pack, chunky white sneakers and a stack of free pamphlets from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Be sure to take your ensemble to Shooters, Devine’s and the student section of Cameron Stadium. (For bonus points: enlist a friend to be the sulky teenage daughter on a tour, refusing to look anyone in the eye while her alumni parents excitedly flag down current students.)

The Shooters Cage

Here’s another simple yet highly effective cardboard box design. Get another large cardboard box from Pack and Ship, cut most of it away so that it resembles a cage with bars, and spray paint it black. Set your costume down in an opportune location, step inside it, put on your favorite playlist, and vibe. When someone asks what you’re doing, ask if they’d like to join you in the Shooters cage; if they accept, tell them they need to stand there and wait for half an hour to get in, and then kick them out after they’ve spent a few minutes inside (you may need to create a Google Form to help with logistics). Give your fellow Duke students the fright of a highly anticipated yet ultimately deeply unsatisfying experience!

An Econ Major

Some of you may already have this costume in your wardrobe! Rock this Brooks Brothers polo shirt, these Vineyard Vines salmon-colored khaki shorts and this Patagonia fleece vest for good measure. Once you’re all suited up, walk around complaining about how the investment banking recruitment pipeline is so much more of a grind here than up north, trying to convince people to rush Scale and Coin, and asking random women whether they've ever seen "The Wolf of Wall Street." 

The East Campus Train

Upperclassmen of Duke: have you and your friends forgotten the simple joy of being a first-year walking through the graffiti tunnel to your car at Smith Gated South — then being pleasantly surprised by semi-permanent hearing loss from the sudden arrival of the Amtrak overhead? Rekindle that feeling of delight with this easy costume. Pick up a train-themed shirt and an air horn, then follow your friends around as they go about their daily activities; when they’re least expecting it, let loose with your horn to give both of you a fun blast to the past.

A Day Off

Looking for something truly horrifying? Purchase a 2021 daily planner, open it to the current day’s entry, and write down... nothing. That's right: nothing. No problem sets to complete, no exams to study for, no extracurriculars, no interviews, just empty space. Affix it to your shirt with duct tape, making sure the blank page is clearly visible, and walk around; be careful, though, not to give any of your fellow students too much of a scare. They're so used to their constant deluge of work that they won't have a clue what to do with themselves — they may even faint from the shock.


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