Choosing a costume for Halloween can feel damn near impossible, especially in a year where everything is already terrifying. Thankfully, research scientist Janelle Shane created a neural network to generate costume names — and while it might sound like a challenge to dress up as “Gandalf the Good Witch” or “Sexy humblebee,” the pics would make it worthwhile.

Shane, who’s created neural networks for guinea pigs, kittens, and more, tells Inverse her latest invention was created purely for spooky entertainment in the lead-up to Halloween. She made the program using the programming language Lua in a framework called Torch. For those curious, Shane’s entire dataset is on GitHub for your viewing/programming pleasure.

“I thought it would be fun to see if a neural network could generate the costumes,” Shane says, “Halloween costumes are just so varied, so it seemed like an impossible challenge. Like, what does a plate of spaghetti have in common with Ruth Bader Ginsburg?”

According to Shane’s neural network, the answer is: not a whole lot. But that’s what makes these costume names great. Here are just a few of the best:

  • Punk Tree
  • Disco Monster
  • Starfleet Shark
  • A masked box
  • Martian Devil
  • Panda Clam
  • Potato man
  • Shark Cow
  • Space Batman
  • The shark knight
  • Snape Scarecrow
  • Gandalf the Good Witch
  • Professor Panda
  • Strawberry shark
  • Vampire big bird
  • Samurai Angel
  • lady Garbage
  • Pirate firefighter
  • Fairy Batman

When it came to creating “sexy” costumes, the neural network had some trouble, which obviously yielded the best results.

“I was surprised how badly it did at the sexy Halloween costumes,” Shane says. “I figured it would start putting the word ‘sexy’ in front of everything, but it didn’t, really…it really liked ‘sexy potato’ for some reason.”

Here are the sexy costumes in question, in all their glory:

  • Sexy Scare
  • Sexy the Pumpkin
  • Saxy Pumpkins
  • Sexy the Pirate
  • Sexy Pumpkin Pirate
  • Sexy Gumb Man
  • Sexy barber
  • Sexy Gargles
  • Sexy humblebee
  • Sexy The Gate
  • Sexy Lamp
  • Sexy Ducty monster
  • Sexy conchpaper
  • Sexy the Bumble
  • Sexy the Super bass
  • Pretty zombie Space Suit
  • sexy Drangers
  • Sexy the Spock

Of all the costumes, Shane says “Starfleet Shark” is her favorite.

“I’m pretty fond of ‘Starfleet Shark’ because you can imagine exactly what that is — it’s a shark in a Starfleet uniform,” Shane explains. “All you’d need for this costume is a Starfleet uniform and a mask.”

With the help of Inverse’s entertainment editor James Grebey, we tried to envision what Starfleet Shark might look like:

Starfleet Shark by James Grebey

If you haven’t chosen your Halloween costume yet, be sure to check out Shane’s entire list of names for inspiration. I better see a lot of “Sexy Pumpkin Pirates” this year!


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Photos via Janelle Shane, James Grebey/Inverse