One late October evening somewhere in the 1980’s, in the time before children, a friend of my parents traveled from Clintonville, Wi. to Madison to attend the city’s Halloween block party. The friend, though, had trekked sans-costume. So they did what any noble crew of young professionals would do: They dressed him in snug overalls, dyed his exposed skin with green food coloring, and tied him up in a mass of uprooted garden vegetables. The costume contained three main organic components: An artichoke crown, a pair of beet testicles, and a large carrot phallus. They dubbed him “Plant Man.”

This is the right way to do the scantily-clad Halloween costume: Innovative, messy, edging toward the pathetic. Sadly, Plant Man and his brethren have been eclipsed in recent years by a far sadder costuming tradition: The Sexy [Whatever].

Sure, it may be easier for men to just strap on some home-grown goods, don themselves Vegetable Dude, and manage to come away from the evening without sacrificing their attractiveness to interested parties. Still, ladies: Heed the lessons of Plant Man. The sexy nurse, cheerleader, or leprechaun (now available in wee sizes, too) are mere distractions to the far sexier costume:

The huge phallic object.

Trust me: Dudes love this. In recent years, I’ve had three female friends go this route, and all were smashing successes. One, a huge, yellow banana, was hounded at a New York City house party by a dude who desperately wanted to slip on her peel, if you know what I mean. Another, a homemade foam strip of bacon, got a string of high-fives from the passengers of a city bus. The sexy hot dog, perhaps the most obvious of the phallic imagery, glued a bra and panties on her body-obscuring foam costume for good measure.

So for any woman thinking about reaching for that last sexy inmate costume on the shelf: Hold out for something that looks more like a penis. You will not be disappointed.

Photo by Brettf