Need A Costume? Prisoner Will Do

Prisoner is a clever way to describe a blog that talks about unique costumes one can wear for Halloween. In fact, this blog is a collection of articles written by guests from the costume business, because I am not very good at writing my own articles.

Prisoner was originally a musical release by the band OK Go, who wrote and performed the song while in prison, due to an earlier court case where they pled guilty to “obstructing traffic.” This blog is an outlet for all of their songs and lyrics, as well as some interesting stories. You can sometimes find them at the OK Go Wikipedia page or on the Facebook page.

For a few years, I’ve been wearing a costume that has become a sort of symbol for me. It’s not just an expression of eccentricity or an excuse to wear something we’re not allowed to wear normally. If you want to know what it is, here’s the deal: I’m an inmate in a prison for the criminally insane in California. The costumes are designed by the warden and approved by the board of supervisors. They’re very expensive and made to withstand the rigors of prison life.

If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. How many people in California have criminal record that would make them eligible for this program? But if you want something really offbeat, how about a convict? It’s almost as good as putting “Convict” on your costume name tag.

But maybe you don’t want to be a prisoner… no problem! You can be anyone else who is being punished by the state of California. That could include anyone who pays too much income tax, anyone who has to pay sales tax, or even anyone who has ever lived in California.

Prisoner costumes are a staple of Halloween. But there’s a lot more to them than that. There’s a history, a tradition and even a code of conduct.

The very first prisoner costumes were probably people in the stocks, or being forced to wear something humiliating by a cruel master. The main reason for dressing as prisoners is safety. If you’re prepared to be forcibly dressed as a prisoner, you can be assured your costume will be unobtrusive and not be singled out for attention.

If you’re familiar with the Mardi Gras French Quarter, you’ll know that it’s not just a costume parade; the parade actually involves organized crime, known as “jacking up.” If you see someone dressed as a prisoner, he’s probably part of what is called the “prison bus,” which is taking some people around looking for victims.

Many of the most interesting things that happen in life are not very clear. Do you want to know what it is like to be a prisoner? A prisoner has a lot of time to think. The prison will give you a costume, too.

We take so much for granted that we don’t notice how indirect our lives are. We are prisoners, in some ways; and if you have ever been a prisoner, you will have had plenty of time to think about that.

And so when you are wearing your prisoner costume, you will know, among other things, what it’s like to be an anarchist, a physicist or an alchemist.

Most of us are uncomfortable with the idea of dressing up like a prisoner. Yet we have a long tradition of dressing up in funny outfits. In the Victorian era, people played at being pirates and admirals. In the 1920s, women wore dirndls and men wore lederhosen. In the 1950s, people dressed up in minstrel-style costumes.

Dressing up as a prisoner is equally old, but less well known. More recently, it was revived in an essay by Terry Pratchett, who explained that it helps to understand prison when you are inside it: “A person who is actually imprisoned will never be able to remember what it’s like to be free.”

In some countries it is illegal to dress up as a prisoner. In others it is illegal to dress up as a police officer, detective, or soldier. In some countries it is even illegal to wear an animal mask or display fake weapons. If you are in a country where it is illegal to dress up as a character from one of these groups, you can instead wear a costume that looks like one of those groups. If you are in a country where it is illegal to dress up as one of these groups, you can instead wear a costume that looks like one of the various people who might be considered members of the group.

This is the law:

“If you want to know what’s legal and what isn’t, read the book.”

A costume is a piece of clothing that may or may not give the wearer any advantage. A person who dresses up as a character from a novel, movie, or comic book is dressing up as an idea. If you dress up as the character Spock from Star Trek, you’re pretending that you think like him—precisely because he’s so different from most of us.

A costume is often a kind of disguise. But it’s also sometimes something we wear for fun, to make ourselves look like something we admire or like, to feel less ordinary. You could say that costumes are part of the history of being human.

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