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"Costume Contest" is the sixth episode of the seventh season of the American comedy television series The Office and the show's 132nd episode overall. Written by Justin Spitzer and directed by Dean Holland, the episode aired on NBC in the United States on October 28, 2010. It was viewed by 8.07 million people. This episode received positive reviews.

Cold open

Stanley doesn't notice he is drinking Jim's orange juice, thinking it's coffee, so Jim wonders how much Stanley won't notice. Kevin dresses as Phyllis; Andy sits at his desk shirtless; Jim places a cardboard box with the computer desktop on it over his monitor; Michael wears fake teeth; Michael talks about a Dunder Mifflin branch on Jupiter during a staff meeting where all the employees except Stanley are facing a different direction; Pam wears a mustache; Dwight brings a pony into the office; and he doesn't notice. However he does notice when it's 5:00 p.m. and time to leave work, saying goodbye to everyone as he leaves, including Pam wearing a moustache and Michael wearing false teeth while holding a puppet.


The office becomes excited over the annual Halloween costume contest when Pam offers a Scranton-area coupon book as the prize for the winner. The coupons contain offers that total $15,000 in savings. This leads the staff (except for Oscar, who does not participate) to believe that the coupon book is literally worth $15,000. Of course, this still isn't enough to convince Jim to wear a matching couples costume (Popeye) with Pam (Olive Oyl). As the day goes on, several people realize their costume might not win, so they leave the office to switch into something more recognizable or provocative.

Gabe, dressed up as Lady Gaga, informs the staff of a sales idea being implemented where delivery drivers can suggest additional products for the customers they deliver to. The idea is designed to increase overall sales for the company. Michael realizes the idea sounds similar to a suggestion made by Darryl a long time ago; Michael, however, initially shot down the idea, believing it wouldn't work. When Jim informs Michael that warehouse worker Madge has made her first sale, Michael decides to confront corporate about stealing Darryl's idea. It is then revealed that Darryl actually pitched the idea to Gabe, who sent it up to corporate, and has already received credit.

New salesman Danny invites everyone to a Halloween party at his bar after work. Almost everyone in the office is aware that Danny and Pam had a two-date fling four years ago. Kevin (dressed as Michael Moore) and Andy (Bill Compton) start a false rumor that Pam and Jim don't want people going to Danny's party, which prompts Danny to confront Jim and Pam in order to determine the validity of the rumor. The conversation quickly turns to Pam and Danny's dating history, and while the three initially laugh about how their coworkers have been exaggerating its significance, it soon becomes clear that both Jim and Pam want to know exactly why she was rejected. Danny tells Jim he didn't call back because Pam couldn't stop talking about Jim during their dates, but when Pam reveals she never mentioned Jim, Danny admits that he found her too "dorky." At the end of the episode, Jim comes into the office wearing his Popeye costume, carrying Cece (dressed as Swee'Pea), much to the delight of Pam.

Michael becomes progressively more agitated over the fact that Darryl went over his head and tries to get Darryl to apologize in front of everyone for 'backstabbing' him. Darryl refuses, criticizing Michael's poor judgment of his idea. In anger, Michael changes his outfit to Darryl's warehouse uniform and tries to rally the office behind him in declaring Darryl a backstabber. The two bring their argument to Gabe, where Darryl expresses his opinion that Michael has never done anything for him: Ed Truck hired him, Jo Bennett promoted him, and Gabe listened to him, whereas Michael always said no and kept him at the same position for years. Upon hearing Darryl's opinion, Michael realizes he needs to listen more to his employees. Darryl apologizes to Michael, and Michael apologizes to Darryl for "being such a jerk." Darryl wishes he was still operating down in the warehouse, but Andy inspires Darryl to further his career at Dunder Mifflin by recounting how he got involved with his a cappella group. Darryl then refuses Andy's invitation to go to Danny's bar to do some work, affirming "I do have big plans at this company."

At the end of the episode, Oscar, who changed out of his costume and into regular work clothing, is declared the winner of the coupon book. A series of Survivor-style interviews reveal several employees' reasons for voting for Oscar – Kelly wanted to vote on whom she thought was least likely to win; Ryan explains that as a "Nader guy", he always votes for the underdog; and lastly, Creed says he thought Oscar was wearing an excellent Edward James Olmos costume.

Halloween costumes

Deleted scenes

Additional deleted scenes were made available on Peacock.

  • After receiving several remarks about her costume, Meredith puts on anti-wrinkle cream and looks at herself in the mirror sadly.

Connections to previous episodes

  • The office checks how attentive Stanley is to his surroundings. In "Safety Training", the office took bets on whether Creed would notice that his apple was replaced with a potato.
  • Stanley checks his watch and realizes that the office clock is wrong. In "Company Picnic", the staff remembered to change Michael's watch so he wouldn't realize that all the clocks were wrong.
  • Pam wears a fake mustache resembling the one Jim and Michael wore in "Branch Wars".
  • For the second year in a row, Michael wears a costume of a character from Saturday Night Live. The last time was in "Koi Pond".
  • When Jim says, "I've never really been a costume guy, even when I was a kid it was something I felt too old for," scenes are shown from Halloween, where he was "three hole punch Jim", "Employee Transfer", where he was "Dave", and "Koi Pond", where he is "Facebook".
  • In "Koi Pond" when Dwight is trying to cheer up Michael, he says that Jim "looks like Popeye's wife."

Amusing details

  • As Kevin is wearing Phyllis's glasses and cardigan in the cold open, she stands in the background without those items.
  • Packer asks Gabe if anyone has called him "Gabe wad", upon which Gabe replies "not here." This suggests that Gabe has been called this either in Tallahassee or other Sabre branches.
  • Kevin appears to be sincerely sorry when Michael takes his anger from Darryl out on him, becoming quite upset. Michael realizes his mistake and states, "Just don't let it happen again," which causes Kevin to exclaim, "do you think I would let this happen again?" Kevin then blames Gabe for the incident, leaving the annex and shouting "F*** you Gabe!"
  • Dwight thinks Pam's Olive Oyl costume is his mother, saying that Pam is not nearly as beautiful and only half of her height. This would peg Mrs. Schrute at eleven feet tall.
  • After Michael reveals his new Darryl costume, two dark smears can be seen behind his ear. This could allude to him having the idea to paint his face for his Darryl impersonation. Thankfully, he decided against it and avoided an offensive gesture (blackface).
  • The costume contest begins after Kelly yells at Michael "Could you for once just let us enjoy a party instead of making it all about your issues?"
  • Like Jim, Danny Cordray appears to dislike wearing a costume for Halloween.
  • Erin genuinely believed the Ouija board was moved by a ghost instead of Darryl and Michael.
  • The bag Packer uses for his "trouser mouse" prank has the word "fingers" crossed out.
  • Erin appears to have thought apple bobbing required her to eat as many apples as she could while under water.


  • Jim says that Pam and Danny went on two dates while he was in Stamford dating someone else. Since Jim and Karen only started dating after they moved to Scranton, it could be that Jim dated someone else briefly in the summer between season 2 and season 3. He might also have been exaggerating to make a point.
  • Creed votes for Oscar's "rational consumer" costume and says it's the "best Edward James Olmos costume". A similar gag appeared in the first Halloween episode of South Park, in which Mr. Garrison crowns a zombified Kenny runner-up and made the same assumption.
  • Despite it being removed from the episode, a scene is shown of Jim in his Facebook costume from "Koi Pond".


"Costume Contest" was directed by Dean Holland, an editor on the series, and written by Justin Spitzer. It was the second episode to feature Timothy Olyphant in a guest appearance as Danny Cordray, he was billed as a special guest star. David Koechner appears as Todd Packer, last seen in the sixth-season episode, "St. Patrick's Day".

Behind the scenes

  • The nurse costume worn by Elizabeth in "Fun Run" was reused in this episode as Angela's nurse costume. To accommodate Angela Kinsey's smaller frame, wardrobe added a tank top underneath, as well as bra inserts to make her breasts bigger.[1]

Cultural references

  • Jim says that Stanley accidentally drank his "O.J.", a common abbreviation for orange juice.
  • Gabe quotes the Lady Gaga song "Poker Face" at the salespeople meeting.
  • Michael shouts "MacGruber!" after Gabe says that he must read the note within ten seconds or the building explodes. MacGruber was a recurring sketch on Saturday Night Live in which the lead character (MacGruber) must disarm a bomb, but always fails, and the bomb explodes. MacGruber is itself a spoof of the show MacGyver, in which a secret agent uses his resourcefulness to get out of predicaments.
  • Michael's joke about Lake Erie being Dracula's favorite place to ski is a pun on the word "eerie".
  • Todd Packer asks Gabe if anyone has called him "Gabe-Wad". "Gay-wad" is a schoolyard homophobic insult.
  • Ryan asks for a "plus-five". A "plus-one" is someone who accompanies an invited guest with permission. (The invitation is for the guest "plus one".) Ryan is asking to bring five additional guests, adding "It's all guys." Typically, bars welcome women because they in turn attract men, who will spend money on drinks to impress the women.
  • Romeo and Juliet is a tragic romance by William Shakespeare. It is often used as a shorthand for two people deeply in love.
  • Kevin says that he is like an elephant in the way that he never forgets anything, referring to the idiom "An elephant never forgets." A 2007 study showed that elephants do have excellent memories.
  • Dwight says that Darryl went to Gabe "behind his back", meaning without his knowledge when he was not present. Michael says that Darryl went "over my head" meaning that he went to Michael's superior. Michael then asks, "What is taking someone from behind?", which is a slang term for anal sex.
  • Andy used to write a column called Bernard's Regards for the student newspaper The Cornell Daily Sun.
  • Jim's costume includes a Missouri Meerschaum corncob pipe.
  • Jim tells Danny he "can't handle the truth", a reference to Jack Nicholson's iconic line in the 1992 film A Few Good Men.
  • Michael refers to the situation as "going over my head-gate". The "-gate" suffix is often used to create the name of a scandal, inspired by the Watergate scandal.
  • Michael says that Darryl "backstabs people in the back", which is redundant. See Michael's Botched Phrases.
  • The employees play with a Ouija board, a parlor game which purports to receive messages from the dead.
  • The board spells out "A-S-S-H-E-T". Michael was likely controlling the Ouija planchette in an attempt to spell "asshat", an insult.
  • Dwight brags that he knows how to "sit on a fence", an idiom for being indecisive.
  • Erin is bobbing for apples, a traditional Halloween game. The goal is to pick up one of the floating apples with one's teeth. Erin mistakenly believes the goal is to eat the apples while submerged.
  • The closing scene mimics the Tribal Council that is the climax of every episode of the reality show Survivor. Each contestant casts a secret vote for who they want to eliminate and explains to the camera why they chose that person.
  • Ryan calls himself a "Nader guy", a supporter of third-party U.S. presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Many of the people who voted for Ralph Nader consider themselves to be anti-establishment or contrarian.
  • Creed thought that Oscar was dressed as Latino actor Edward James Olmos.


Main cast

Supporting cast

Recurring cast


  • Michael Scott: "Happy Halloween.....JERK!
  • Dwight Schrute: "I know how to sit on a fence. Hell, I can even sleep on a fence. The trick is to do it face down, with the post in your mouth."


In its original American broadcast on October 28, 2010, "Costume Contest" was viewed by an estimated 8.07 million viewers and received a 4.0 rating/11% share among adults between the ages of 18 and 49. The episode's rating improved 15% from the previous episode.[2][3]

James Poniewozik of Time said, "It started excellently with "What can Stanley ignore" pre-credit sequence and it rolled on from there." He also said that this episode contained a number of nice character moments.[4]


  1. Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 57: Fun Run Part 2, Office Ladies podcast, December 9, 2020. Time code 47:45.
  2. Gorman, Bill. "TV Ratings Thursday: Giants Win! But Ratings May Do Worse Than Rangers; Grey’s Anatomy Hits Low; NBC Boosted By Shrek?". TV by the Numbers, October 29, 2010.
  3. Gorman, Bill. "Thursday Final Ratings: Grey’s Anatomy, Big Bang Theory, Shrekless, Office Adjusted Up; Nikita Down; Plus World Series Game 2". TV by the Numbers, October 29, 2010.
  4. Poniewozik, James. "Community / Office Watch: Fright Night". Time, October 29, 2010.