Fear Factor

It’s hard to scare adults on Halloween, but any one of these spine-chilling costumes should do the trick.

tad simons

College Tuition Check
How to pay for college is at the top of parents’ “Things I Fear the Most” list. Ratchet up the terror by making the check out to a private liberal arts college, then spring it on them when they least expect it: Surprise—you’re majoring in English literature!

Old, Disabled Parent
She changed your diapers, nursed you, made you thousands of meals, and did it all without complaint. Now that she’s in a wheelchair and has Parkinson’s, it’s your turn.

Manic Pixie Dream Mom
When you were young, she stole your heart and showed you the meaning of life. But now that you’re married and have kids, she’s turned into Organic Nazi Super Mom. A burger, some fries, and a beer for dinner? No way—you’re getting quinoa, kale, and a juice cleanse.

Psycho Ex-Spouse
You divorced Manic Pixie Dream Mom/Dad, but you can’t get rid of her/him that easy. She/he still haunts you on birthdays, at school events, and in frequent custody disputes. She/he also hates your new, less-manic girlfriend/boyfriend, so she/he’s dedicated her/his life to making you miserable.

Opera Tickets
It looks like a gift, but it’s really two tickets to your worst nightmare: four hours of nonstop warbling, in the classical style, in a language you don’t understand, with surtitles you have to read. And sleeping through it is not an option, because the friends who gave you the tickets are sitting right next to you!

Non-Existent Retirement Plan
Nothing terrifies people in their 40s and 50s like the prospect of saving for retirement—because none of them know how they are going to do it. Be careful if you choose to go door-to-door as a non-existent retirement plan, though, because you don’t want people to lose all hope—just enough for them to give you their job.

Newborn Baby
It cries, poops, pees, and eats. It demands constant love and attention. It doesn’t sleep nearly as much as the books say. It doesn’t care how exhausted you are. And it’s here to stay!

If you really want to scare that new guy or gal in your life, tell them honestly, sincerely, and with utter conviction that you love them. Then watch them run for the door.