With vaccination rates rising and the COVID-19 scare waning, this October, unlike last, might actually be spooky for the traditional reason: Halloween. Costume inspiration, however, isn’t always easy. If you’re looking for a way to frighten a service member on all hallow’s eve, we’ve got some ideas for you.

Duty

Looking to scare the junior enlisted? The threat of duty is the way to go. This word, when whispered through the halls of the barracks, sends shivers down spines. They can run, but they cannot hide. There isn’t a soul around that doesn’t fear 24 hours of boredom in a windowless hellscape.

27 Percent Interest

Is there anything more harrowing than the interest rates issued by predatory car dealerships that sling Camaros, Chargers, and Mustangs to newly-minted E-2s? Driving that little red sports car might be a dream come true, but the monthly payments are a nightmare. Dress up as a shady car salesman by throwing on a shabby brown suit. Add a pencil-thin mustache and you’ll have the boots quaking in theirs.

Tinnitus

What’s the ringing in your ears? It’s tinnitus, the number one registered disability among veterans. Though not a visual costume per se, consider tossing on a pair of sweats, carrying a boom box and blasting a deafening high-frequency that’ll haunt everyone in a 100-meter radius.

Beef Enchilada MRE

Put on one of those post-marathon tin foil blankets and you’ve got a ready-made, cozy but scary-as-all-get-out costume: the dirtiest of the MREs. Service members everywhere know to batten down the hatches when this meat tornado makes its way through the intestines. The havoc a beef enchilada MRE wreaks is a fate worse than death.

VA Hospital Waiting Room

The internet would suggest this is what veterans fear most, with their long lines, lack of appointments, and dreadful locations. Is there anything spookier than having to sit for hours in a Loma Linda, California, hospital? We don’t think so. Carve out a hole in the top of a standard moving box to fit your head, paint it white, draw the signature sans serif VA around the edge, and watch service members and veterans everywhere groan in fear.

Observation Post is the Military Times one-stop shop for all things off-duty. Stories may reflect author observations.

Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digital Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.

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