What the Best Halloween Costume of 2013 Can Teach You About Creativity

Edgar Allen Ho creative Halloween costume

Right now you are probably thinking, Wow … what a unique idea for a Halloween costume.

But is it really?

Edgar Allan Poe always gets plenty of play come Halloween time, thanks to his reputation for the macabre. And there is perhaps no greater Halloween tradition outside of the pumpkin itself than females donning the sexy nurse/cop/maid costume.

Two Halloween clichés. What’s so special about that?

The brilliance of this costume lies in the creative merging of two common but disparate ideas into a totally fresh, attention-grabbing combination.

And therein lies the simple but essential lesson about creativity that you can learn from Edgar Allan Ho.

What does it mean to be creative?

You cannot be successful in content marketing without being creative.

In a field crowded with competition, the reality is that there are only so many topics that can be written about … so the likelihood of you conjuring up a wholly new one is slim.

(Sorry to burst your bubble.)

Even if you do, one single totally-and-completely brand new idea is a post, or at most a series. It is not a content marketing strategy.

But what you can do, every single day if you like, is come up with creative ways to educate your readers about topics they are more than likely already familiar with.

Explain old advice in a new way.

Spin current events in a different direction.

Or as seen above, combine disparate topics into newly blended ideas.

Creativity is not conjuring up new dots — everything under the sun has been done, remember? No, creativity is making connections others do not see between the dots that already exist.

Edgar Allen Poe and sexy maids have been around for years and years and years. But it took creativity, and a bit of clever wordplay, to connect these dots. The result is a unique Halloween costume where the whole is far more entertaining than the sum of its parts.

Are you doing the same with your content?

How to be creative with content marketing

Look to Sonia’s post from yesterday for a lesson in content marketing creativity. A quick review of the post’s subheads shows that no single, brilliant, new idea is introduced in the post:

  • Give yourself space to create
  • Refine your strengths
  • Beware of social media …

These are all useful ideas, yes, but they are not new. Sonia did not create these ideas.

What she did create is a smart, relevant, new way to package them: as “ways to protect your entrepreneurial confidence.”

It’s a creative post comprised entirely of well-worn ideas.

Each idea on its own is something you’ve heard before. Ho hum.

But together, with their forces combined, they form a shield that protects entrepreneurial confidence … something to which we can say “Hell yeah!”

That’s creative content marketing, and you can do it, too. You just need to find new ways to connect the old information already in your head and the new information you learn every day.

And it’s not some magic ability that only a few have. It’s a skill.

Trick and treat?

The trick is simply training yourself to do it. Train yourself to not just think outside the box, but to actually create new boxes to think within, new boxes that you can put old thoughts into.

Mix them up. See how they interact.

The treat is when they click. Then you’ve got something creative to say, your content has a chance of standing out in the massively cluttered Internet crowd, and you’re on the path toward content marketing success.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go procure a black mustache, a scarf, some aviator sunglasses, and a pastel-colored Polo shirt with a collar I can pop — because …

Edgar Allan Bro is about to get his Halloween party on.

Image credit: Reddit

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Reader Comments (32)

  1. says

    Nice Concept Jerod

    “Train yourself to not just think outside the box, but to actually create new boxes to think within, new boxes that you can put old thoughts into.”

    So in other words one way of interpreting that is to use the same content, but present it differently either using different media eg. Content that was once words could be displayed….

    using infographs, video, slideshows or as a podcast.

    And then secondly to present it in your own unique way or creative spin.

  2. says

    Also helpful to keep in mind what resources you have that you can marshall. In this case, a decent resemblance to a popular 19th century writer + great legs.

  3. says

    Fab costume, and even more fab advice from Copyblogger – thanks!

    For one Halloween in college, I wore black pants and a black shirt, dotted my clothes with corn syrup, and smashed in popcorn and candy wrappers. I went as the floor of a movie theater. I thought it was original. Now, after reading the first two sentences of this post, I’m not so sure anymore.

  4. says

    Hi Jerod,

    We don’t even know what is called Halloween here in Nigeria!! ( anyway its joke but the truth).

    In Sonia’s post, she laid emphasis on some factors and my area of interest in number 2 or 3….she opined that it is best to focus much more on what you are good at; then horn your skill around it.

    Thanks for sharing!!

    • says

      Dare, it’s funny you mention that. When I started writing this post, I got to wondering how much of the world celebrates Halloween. I know we do in the U.S., of course, and I’ve heard about “Dia de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead) in Spanish-speaking countries. But I was surprised to see that many other countries have similar celebrations as well, some having long histories and others, like Japans, more of a copycat celebration brought about by cross-pollination of cultures over the years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween_around_the_world

  5. says

    Hi Jerod,

    Its funny…anyway, but we have our own culture….depending on which tribe you belong to ( Nigeria has so many tribes (about 24), with Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo leading the tribes…So each tribe has their own culture and most are intertwine with their own version of religion….( I mean our own Halloween festival or celebration).


    • says

      Yes, of course! The image at the top of the post is of a man in a Halloween costume. He has black hair, a black mustache, a scarf, and a raven on his shoulder … the Edgar Allen Poe part of his costume. His bottom half, however, is decidedly not Poe. He has a sexy maid outfit on it, showing much of his legs, with pretty serious black boots.

      And there is no picture at the bottom. It was just me trying to by punny. :-)

  6. says

    First of all, love the costume! Reminds me of being a “Serial Killer” and sticking plastic knives into boxes of Trix & Captain Crunch. Plays on words and puns are always pretty spot on.

    That being said, great connection to content marketing. You can’t really be afraid to stand out with your personality!

  7. says

    As a company delivering technology to content marketers, but not made up of content marketers we constantly are challenged with ways to deliver information that will actually help teach these professionals something new. As such, this is a great post as it encourages us to find our own angle based on our own strengths and bring in those fresh perspectives to help our readers see things in a new light.

    Thanks for sharing and for spurring new ideas for costumes for tonight in the process!

  8. says

    Oh my goodness…the costume is simply amazing, and a great segue into the article. It really is nearly impossible to be come up with a completely new idea, and I think the technique of combining old ideas into something creative is a great one.

  9. Jackie says

    Well, I think originality also has a place. I remember 1 year when I was growing up, my Mom put on a bathing suit, fastened a bunch of balloons to it, & went to the party as a bubble dancer. This was in Chicago, & it was cold that year–she nearly froze it off. My dad put a box over his head, w/a half moon sign, & a little door that opened, revealing a toilet, i.e., he went as an outhouse. Needless to say, they both garnered a lot of attention. I suspect that, had there been YouTube back then, that might well have gone viral.

  10. says

    There really is nothing new, just existing material that’s been repurposed. I think that it’s important to think about what questions existing articles might leave readers with. What is the most common article about this topic/what is my reader most likely to know? What questions might they have as a result of this knowledge? Nice!

  11. says

    Congratulations to Coppyblogger for making it to our #1 Halloween related content marketing post. (And inspiring us to resurect our own blog from the dead!) Don’t know if it was the content or the costume suggestions that got us more excited, either way the information was a unique way to embrace the holiday and educate us in the process!

    Check out the other 4 runners up by visiting our blog: http://blog.docalytics.com/

  12. says

    Jerrod – Loved your post! I’ve been trying to do that whenever I can. I always try to theme my posts with the holiday if there is one. Sometimes I even take whats trending on twitter and see if I can work it into a post on women in leadership (my niche). Today – even before reading this post I had crafted a leadership post themed by the hit TV show “Walking Dead” a scary, Halloween type program with a post titled “Are you Leading the Walking Dead?” Here’s the link: http://wp.me/p1ZQw3-IH Would love to see how you thought I did. :)

  13. says

    I see it happen all the time. I’ve certainly seen it happen with me. You hear creativity and you think Da Vinci, Mozart, Dylan, Shakespeare, Matisse, Einstein. Perfectionism at work, I guess, but it’s of the analysis paralysis variety that works against you. Instead of understanding creativity, I correctly, albeit grotesquely, concluded if it takes genius to be creative you’re not invited to the party. If you’re okay with that, I guess that’s it then for you, game over. But if not, you invite yourself to the party, to find not only has it been an open party all along, but it’s been an open secret all along – that creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. A plaque near the entrance says Einstein said it.

    But The Best Halloween Costume of 2013 says the same thing. Either way, the costume does a great job teaching about creativity. Re-mixing the old, or mixing some old with a little new – how just about every new idea, product or service comes into existence. I used to be amazed, still am, by motivational speakers – true masters at creativity as thought by the Halloween Costume. I call it practical creativity because practically everybody can do it. Your post inspires to go and do it. So I’m off.

  14. says

    It’s funny, but I thought that was the worst costume I’ve seen in years. Which just goes to show that our creativity is not always understood by others. It also brings up the fact, that to get some people to really love our idea, means that others will absolutely hate it. If we don’t have those sorts of reactions, it just means our ideas are mediocre and lukewarm at best. And as scripture says… So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth… Lesson: Write Boldly!

  15. Shelley Beeby says

    Why do I feel like this guy belongs in Dita Von Teese’s bedroom? And is he in a skirt or a skort?

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