Originally published in the October 29, 2010 issue
When creativity fails at Halloween and time and money is being budgeted elsewhere, costumes are the first thing to go. Girls throw on the tightest, sluttiest black dress and some type of animal accessory – a tail, a pair of ears, whatever – and call it a day. Guys are just as guilty, topping off a standard ensemble with a cowboy hat and terribly cliche, borderline offensive accent.
But what many miss is as you grow up and can’t trick-or-treat, the best part of Halloween is enveloping yourself into a totally new identity and just going for it. Even if you’re scrambling to finish a costume, creativity doesn’t have to slip. Already have one? Store this away for next year.
It’s never too early to start preparing.
A cardboard box is essential to any Halloween costume, as it can be the base for almost anything – a sweet jet pack, a bottle of alcohol, a car, a vending machine, an aquarium, Rubik’s cube, Tetris pieces, a box of tissues, the list goes on and on. Once you get the box, which can be freely swiped from a Sam’s Club or an intense round of dumpster diving, paint is your next best friend. Treat the box well and you might even be able to reuse it the next year. The only downfall is the inability to sit down, but really, how necessary is that?
Everyone loves a good walk down memory lane, and this holiday is no exception. Revisiting movies, board games or TV shows of the past is a great, and relatively easy, way to get in the Halloween zone. Look at Nickelodeon in the early ’90s. Shows such as “Doug” or “Legends of the Hidden Temple” require very little thought, just rummaging through your closet for the right clothes. Even if it seems weird, transforming into a Candy Land or Clue character can be fun.
For those more musically inclined and looking for group costumes, childhood favorites also provides many inspirations, like the Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys or something much cooler.
For those in desperate need of an outfit, scanning the pages of the latest Us Weekly is an easy route to take. While it could easily be a cop-out, when done right, the results are often rewarding. As disgusting as it might be, dressing as your favorite “Jersey Shore” cast member (if having a favorite is possible) is fairly simple, and you earn bonus points for making them less repulsive. Celebrities with recent legal troubles are also entertaining, such as Lindsay Lohan (don’t forget the anklet!), Mel Gibson or Charlie Sheen, and there is a good chance you’ll be able to reuse it next year.
Outside of Comic Con, Halloween is like Christmas for uber-geeks. There is no better time to dust off any paraphernalia related to Star Trek, Star Wars or any other video game or comic book that I don’t have the nerd abilities to name check.
But on October 31, you’re not considered a nerd. In fact, there’s a good chance you could have the most authentic-looking costume out there. The problem with these costumes is the time, dedication and money that go into them, but if you can score a cute girl dressed as your female counterpart, all that effort will be worth it.