Computers and Costumes

With gaping, circular mouths, fist-sized eyeballs, and draping robes, the Computer Science department transformed into multicolored martians: Sesame Street’s very-own “Yip-Yips.”

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With gaping, circular mouths, fist-sized eyeballs, and draping robes, the Computer Science department transformed into multicolored martians: Sesame Street’s very-own “Yip-Yips.”

Last year, the department came together to bring these fascinating characters to life, shopping together and actually creating the costumes after-school. “We stayed at school until 8 p.m. There was a lot of felt. And a lot of hot glue strings in the office,” Computer Science Coordinator JonAlf Dyrland-Weaver recalled.

While these costumes may have been a little more avant-garde than usual, dressing up as a department is a long-standing tradition. In 2014, the year of the office-supply superheroes, Dyrland-Weaver was a stapler, Topher Brown Mykolyk was a ruler, Yulia Genkina was an eraser, and Samuel Konstantinovich was the “unspecified” villain (after all, even office-supply superheroes need a villain).

They usually create the costumes the weekend before Halloween—not too early and not too late. “Last year was the first year where there was a mass constructing of the costumes. We had glue guns and scissors and things,” Dyrland-Weaver said.

The original idea to dress up together was developed by former Computer Science Coordinator Michael Zamansky who began dressing up for Halloween even before Dyrland-Weaver was a student here. “I believe his goal was generally to have the students understand a bit of his personality—to get to know their teacher in a different light,” Dyrland-Weaver explained.

Having a teacher wear a fun costume would be a way for the students to get to know the teacher in a different light. “It’s good for students to understand a little bit of who I am. We’re in a room together for 40 minutes for five days of every week. We see each other a lot! In order to have a good educational experience, it’s important that I understand that our students are people who are not just doing computer science. They should understand that I’m a person, and I think humanizing the teacher is good for students in the same way I would like to humanize the students so that I know them better,” Dyrland-Weaver said.

Before this tradition was established, only Zamansky put on a costume for Halloween. One year, he dressed up as Bob Ross, painting during his classes. In fact, one of the paintings he made still hangs in room 307.

Another year, he came as Homer Simpson. “He was yellow. He came in with a white polo shirt, blue pants, yellow body, with the right amount of stubble and a shaved head,” described Dyrland-Weaver, remembering the costume from when he was a student in Zamansky’s class at Stuyvesant. “I knew Zamansky was goofy, so I wasn’t surprised, but it was very funny. He taught the entire class as Homer, which was also great.”

When Dyrland-Weaver came back to Stuyvesant as a teacher, he was asked to be a part of the new Stuyloween tradition. “Since I was a former student of Zamansky’s, he basically told me that my job as a computer science teacher was contingent upon me joining him in the Halloween tradition,” he said.

Throughout the years, as the Computer Science department grew, there were more and more teachers participating and donning a costume. Despite Zamansky leaving Stuyvesant in 2015, Dyrland-Weaver and his colleagues decided to continue the tradition.

Genkina, who very recently left Stuyvesant, had been a part of the costume tradition. “She was a wonderful addition to our crew, and she was thrilled [about] the costume tradition. Honestly, if we didn’t have one, I bet she would’ve started it,” Dyrland-Weaver said. “I’ve actually told her she should come back here on Halloween. She did not immediately reject the idea.”

One of Dyrland-Weaver’s favorite costumes includes when he and Zamansky took the costume of infomercial personalities; Dyrland-Weaver was Vince Offer (the Shamwow/Slapchop guy), and Zamansky was Billy Mays (the OxiClean guy). “We tried to sell our students the products. We also came up with products of our own,” Dyrland-Weaver said. One of them was the Grade-Gone™, which was basically just white-out for a really bad grade on a test. The Advanced Grade-Gone™, had a red pen taped to it, so that you could put a new grade on. “It was just a lot of fun. There are videos of these online,” Dyrland-Weaver noted.

A costume that involved extensive preparation was when Dyrland-Weaver and Zamansky decided to dress up as the Blues brothers. “We watched YouTube videos and learned the song and the dance,” Dyrland-Weaver said. “Doing a song and dance for every period of the day was exhausting, though.”

The longest part of the process is figuring out what the theme will be. “Being Stuyvesant people, we procrastinate, and then it’s October, and it’s like, what are we going to do? Eventually, we do figure it out,” Dyrland-Weaver said.

For ideas and themes, the department decides on an idea that would interest everyone. “The stupider the better,” Dyrland-Weaver said. However, there is one unspoken rule that everyone obeys: no repeats. No matter what costume they decide to put on, there shall never be a repeat of a costume done in a previous year.

Usually, they just e-mail ideas to each other and stay after school to discuss ideas further. This process is very secretive: anyone outside of the computer science department will not know what the theme is until the day of. “We can’t talk about what we do to people who overhear,” Dyrland-Weaver joked.

“No comment,” Dyrland-Weaver insisted when I asked what exactly they would dress up as this year.

“I am not sure that I am at liberty to discuss the details of this clandestine organization,” Brown Mykolyk added.

Computer Science Department Costumes


Costume Theme + Participants


Blues Brothers (Dyrland-Weaver and Zamansky)


Infomercial Guys

Vince Offer (Shamwow/Slapchop guy): Dyrland-Weaver

Billy Mays (OxiClean guy): Zamansky


Austin Powers

Dr. Evil: Zamansky




Swedish Chef (from The Muppets)

Zamansky, Konstantinovich, and Dyrland-Weaver did variations of Chefs in honor of Richard Geller, a math teacher


Star Trek

Bones: Dyrland-Weaver

Captain Kirk: Zamansky

Spock: Konstantinovich

Scottie: Brown Mykolyk


Office Supply Super Heroes

Stapler: Dyrland-Weaver

Ruler: Brown Mykolyk

Eraser: Genkina

Villain: Konstantinovich


Inside Out

Anger: Dyrland-Weaver

Joy: Zamansky

Sadness: Konstantinovich

Disgust: Brown Mykolyk


Sesame Street Martians

Genkina, Khevelev, Brown Mykolyk, Konstantinovich, and Dyrland-Weaver

*** Note that 2008 was not the first year of the costume tradition; it began long before that, even before Dyrland-Weaver was a student.

Video Links:

Link to the Halloween Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9KxKa8NpFxJYgovyJhF4HZRsAqYKBLiG