Anyone who’s ever lived has, at some point in his or her life, known someone who’s died. This experience is generally a crappy one, especially when funeral attendance is involved. Being surrounded by fellow mourners can sometimes be comforting, but it can also be really awkward. What is proper etiquette? Sometimes you feel like crying. Other times you might want to laugh and tell stories. The general rule is “Everyone grieves in their own way,” and this means that you’re pretty much safe no matter what you do or how you feel. Yeah, yeah, that’s fine – but it’s a lie. Do one of these 5 things at a funeral and we’re pretty sure the hugs and clichés will fly out the door, along with you and your warm welcome.
Contrary to popular beer commercial mythos, slamming an entire case of Keystone Light right before a funeral wake will not make you smooth. (Yes, Keith Stone, we all know that in the screwed up alternate reality that you live in, ladies think being extra creepy qualifies as being smooth.) No, instead of getting you ‘in’ with grieving ladies, this poorly-timed inebriation will only lead to awkward confrontations with relatives of the deceased after you decide to urinate in the European fan palm in the corner of the funeral home. NOTE: This rule does not apply to rednecks, whose drunken funeral follies are expected to leave more emotional wreckage than a Sunday afternoon NASCAR crash.
Priests, Rabbis and Imams have spent years learning how to help people deal with loss and are highly respected members of society. So, showing up as one and giving your own eulogy in place of the real speech might fool people for a little while, but as soon as the jig is up, it’s go time. The offense is tenfold if you show up to a funeral wearing the garb of an Imam at an over-zealous Christian gathering in the Bible Belt. You had better be a speedy runner if you decide to do this, because you will have to move faster than a turkey on Thanksgiving Day if you want to escape. (And boy, do those folks love hunting.)
There are a lot of good reasons to wear a devil outfit, like for Halloween, costume parties, or the TV series Jackass. But, like Chris Pontius, you had better be ready to take a brutal ass-beating if the wrong person sees you sporting red horns at a funeral. If you wear your demonic garb to the funeral of a religious family and gently caress the coffin, while murmuring, “I’ve been waiting to take this one with me,” one of two things will probably occur: Grandma will have a heart attack, or Uncle Lenny is going to start throwing punches until the police arrive.
Let’s face it. You’re not Will Ferrell. In Wedding Crashers, his character may have scored all the tail from amongst the mourners and it was funny in an “Oh that rascal Will Ferrell. What will he do next?” sort of way. But, treating a wake as your own personal scouting grounds, like a cheap dive bar, will turn you into a bigger creep than Charlie Sheen in the middle of a strip club. (Or Charlie Sheen anywhere, really.) If you want to retain an ounce of self respect, and, more importantly, respect for the dead, you’ll keep it in your pants for once. No. For real, don’t do be a d-bag and do this. Seriously.
Everyone loves the Ghostbusters, but unless you’re Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, or Harold Ramis, breaking down the door at the wake of a funeral and yelling, “Back off, man. I’m a scientist,” won’t earn you any sympathy. Something about pointing a Neutrona Wand above the casket with intent of blasting the dead’s ghost back into the afterlife just gets people’s shorts in twist. (Of course, if you ARE Bill Murray, then you can basically do no wrong, and busting into a funeral wearing an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on your back, ready to zap the ghost of the deceased, is the most epic thing you can do. In fact, if Bill Murray is reading this I would like to officially make the offer of paying cash for him to show up at my funeral as Peter Venkman. I’m not kidding.)
You have been warned! Black clothing, lines like “I’m keeping him in my thoughts,” and lots of tears will probably go over a lot better than devil suits… but the Ghostbusters gear may be worth it.
Ryan Heuer writes for a company that sells scary Halloween costumes. He’s never actually been kicked out of a funeral.