Halloween falls on a Monday this year, offering a fun way to start the work week. These tips will help you come up with a clever costume—one that’s especially appropriate if you’re a CPA.
As accounting-themed costumes go, it’s easy to embrace the old accounting stereotypes and throw on a green visor or tote a toy abacus around the office in tribute to your chosen profession. But as we learned from young accountants across the country, there are plenty of puns and inside jokes in the field that make for memorable costumes.
Here are some of the great ideas they came up with (along with a few of our own). Can you top these suggestions? Send us your best Halloween photos at @theaicpa on Instagram and @youngcpanetwork on Twitter.
Costume essentials: eye patch, swashbuckling sword
Extra credit: pirate speak, imaginary plank to send offenders to, stuffed parrot on shoulder
Although you can convert an S corporation to a C corporation by voluntarily revoking the S election, the Auditing Pirate is ruthless, sending violators of S corporation eligibility requirements down the plank and into the Sea (C) Corporations, said Tanyeka Alexander, a staff accountant at Myers and Stauffer LC in Owings Mills, Md.
“This costume will debut this Halloween,” said Alexander, who is currently sitting for the CPA exam. “The discussion will be rated ARR
James Municipal Bond
Costume essentials: black tuxedo, bow tie
Extra credit: photos of bond-funded public projects, fake martini
Who doesn’t want to be James Bond? The classic spy getup is enhanced with a pun on, what for some clients, could be a lower-risk and federally tax-exempt investment.
(Submitted by Roberto Rosas, a recent accounting graduate and fellow with Management Leadership for Tomorrow in Washington.)
Par Value, amateur golfer
Costume essentials: golf shoes, gloves
Extra credit: “Par Value” name tag, caddy, miniature putting green
Borrow a golf club and pair of gloves and this costume is made; enlist another officemate as a caddy, and it’s twice as elaborate. Just as a par sets a baseline on the golf course, par value indicates a bond’s price. In both scenarios, being under par value is a good thing.
(Submitted by Roberto Rosas.)
Costume essentials: nerdy glasses, beans, pen in shirt pocket
Extra credit: use jelly beans, audibly recount the number you have shared with colleagues
Sometimes there’s no avoiding the obvious. Yes, it’s the ultimate accounting stereotype and so not what CPAs are. But for one day, being a “bean counter” can be funny and delicious.
Costume essentials: calculator displaying earnings, “Ned” name tag
Extra credit: receipts indicating you’re in the black
Colleagues and clients may generally be more welcoming of a Ned Profit costume instead of a Ned Loss.
(Submitted by Roberto Rosas.)
Costume essentials: military-style jacket, hat
Extra credit: sash with iron-on letters, a la Misty Geer (pictured)
“I was at work for Halloween, and we were getting full swing into month-end close,” said Geer, CPA, CGMA, an accounting supervisor at Halliburton in Houston. “I went to work that day as General Ledger, which seemed appropriate since I have a reputation for being hyper-focused on my work and a bit of an accounting nerd. My colleagues saw the humor in it and we had some fun with it even with the busy work day.”
Geer is accompanied by fellow Halliburton accountant Jessica Miller (left), dressed as “Revenue Round-Up,” sporting a Western shirt, blue jeans and a cowgirl hat.
“All I had was cowgirl clothes at home, but we made it work,” said Miller, whose job is based in Lafayette, La. “It was Misty who came up with the ingenious accounting-related names for our costumes that day. I would say we represented our trade well and showed that accountants can have fun and are not all numbers, all the time.”
Costume essentials: signature hat, white gloves
Extra credit: wearing the entire costume, striped pants and all, in public
Few people have an Uncle Sam costume lying around, but they are widely available for under $20, including the signature white wig and beard and patriotic top hat. But once it’s on, the one-liners around an accounting office are endless.
Costume essentials: red horns, pitchfork
Extra credit: red tail
This costume is classic and easy to find, but can be surprisingly funny in an accounting setting, as Danielle Supkis Cheek, CPA, president of D. Supkis Cheek PLLC in Houston, learned in 2013. Soon after she started her firm, Supkis Cheek assisted a client with audit prep.
“One of my clients’ admins tried to convince me that they did an all-out dress up for Halloween at their office,” she recalled. “I knew better, but wore a red dress and put on some devil horns just to poke fun back at them.”
“The president of the company thought it was hilarious, as I was there because of the audit and posted it to her Facebook,” said Supkis Cheek. And of course no one else at the client site was dressed up for Halloween. We all got a good laugh out of it.”
Samiha Khanna is a freelance writer based in Durham, N.C. To comment on this story, contact Chris Baysden, senior manager of newsletters at the AICPA.
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