Lately, the cold openers have been hit or miss, but always tending to be goofy in the punch line. An example of a bad cold opener was last week's episode (The Sting), wherein Michael was portrayed as being so dumb that he never learned to ride a bicycle. In Costume Contest, the goofiness continued, with Stanley's complete disregard for what was happening at work, except for when it was time to go home. Though the sight gags and the joke were more ridiculous than funny, what salvaged this particular cold opener was that it was ambiguous of whether Stanley was unaware or just plain indifferent.
The one employee that intended on remaining indifferent was Jim, as he once again did not want to dress up for Halloween. Flashback clips of Jim at past Halloweens were shown to reference this. On a side-note, the clip from last season's Halloween episode (Koi Pond) was briefly shown, however, that entire Halloween segment was omitted from the Season Six DVD set. Over the years, the employees of Dunder Mifflin have increasingly made better efforts in their costumes, yet, none will ever surpass the sheer accuracy and surrealness of Creed as Heath Ledger's Joker from The Dark Knight. In Costume Contest, it was the costume changes, rather than the actual costumes that stole the show. Jim finally succumbing to wearing a costume, Angela going from a penguin to a nurse, and the irony of Oscar's victory despite his de-costuming protest, made this year's Halloween different from those of the past.
As the day progressed, Michael once again found himself some petty conflict, this time with Blackula. He quickly resorted to his usual immaturity, which in itself was taken to an unintentional self-parody. He combined a bad impersonation, resentment at a staff member that arose from their disparity in competence, and above all, it took place at an office party. The best line of the episode went to Kelly, as she got mad at Michael for ruining yet another party out of his own self-centeredness.