BRANDON — Whether you plan for a month or throw a costume together last minute, there's something fun about Halloween.
Hockey is no different. Most teams, in the NHL and minor leagues, host parties and fans watch #hockeyhalloween to see their favorite players' costumes. The Lightning schedule doesn't have an opportunity for a party this year (the team doesn't even have consecutive days off at home from Oct.16 through Dec. 11), but they typically host one.
"Being in a group of guys, so closely-knit all year, to have a party or a night when you can be creative and show a different side of yourself, it's pretty neat," defenseman Braydon Coburn said. "Over the years that I've played, there's always some guys that surprise you with their creativity."
Right wing Ryan Callahan added that it's nice to have a specific occasion that includes the players' wives and girlfriends. Most of the team's bonding is done on the road and other player-only situations.
So why does hockey seem to embrace Halloween more than other sports? No one was really sure, but scheduling has something to do with it.
Baseball is the obvious one; that season is over by Halloween. In football, the NFL sticks to stricter practice schedules and Halloween falls near the trade deadline, which is always an odd time in any sport. The NBA seems to have an opportunity to fall similarly to hockey, and some teams have parties, but it hasn't quite caught on the same way.
Ottawa had its party earlier in the month, where center Matt Duchene and wife Ashley announced her pregnancy. He posted a photo to Instagram of their matching skeleton costumes, hers with a small skeleton over her baby bump.
What are some other Lightning players' favorite costumes?
RW Ryan Callahan: "Two or three years ago, I was a gargoyle. I had wings that worked; they opened up almost 10 feet wide and you could flap them. I had a full mask with the makeup, it was impressive. My wife did a lot of online shopping for that one."
D Braydon Coburn: "When I was in Philadelphia, my wife decided I was going to be a fish and she was going to be a mermaid. She went to this Broadway costume shop and this fish was a giant mascot-sized costume, it was like 10 feet tall. She got me this 4-foot long straw so I could have a drink. It was one of my favorite but not my proudest moment. After that, we made a 'no headwear' rule."
G Louis Domingue: "My mom was good. She was a teacher, and every year she would win a contest. It's not like a pre-set costume. She would create them from scratch."
C Anthony Cirelli: "Last year, I went as Mario from Mario and Luigi, the video game. That was probably the best one I had. I had a big stomach. It was an air balloon as my stomach, so it kind of made me look a little bit bigger."
C Yanni Gourde: "Two years ago, me and my wife had the worst costume. We were Sriracha and soy sauce. It was so lazy. My wife had red pants and I had black pants. We had lids that kind of simulated the lids of those bottles. That was our worst. I can't recall our best."
C Tyler Johnson: "Last year was really cool. I got to go to Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens and they made this whole custom clown costume for me. We were there for a couple of hours getting done up. It was cool to see the process."