> Matt Brauer - Halloween Costumes I'd Like To See

Halloween Costumes I'd Like To See

Whatever happened to originality in Halloween costumes? I recall when I was a teenager, most of my peers made it a mission to devise clever party attire. Stock market crash victim, nuclear reactor janitor, Napoleon wrapped in cellophane, these are just a few thinking person's costumes with art and originality. But gone are those days; these recent Halloweens, all I've witnessed are the faddish, the cutesy, and the cheaply made. It's ironic; as Halloween has become more popular, people have forgotten how to be creative. They just recycle last year's props and copy what their friends Monica and Chandler are doing. Perhaps (like with many things) it is a symptom of our instant gratification society, or the commercialization of yet another pseudo-holiday. No one needs to be innovative when a Halloween shop occupies every abandoned Circuit City and K-Mart. Fortunately, I'm here to help if you want to break away from the pack. Just put on a costume I'd like to see.

For example, avoid the mainstream superheroes recently featured in movies. I've already seen the costume in the movie, and you can't top the Hollywood costume designer on your budget. Suit up as a lesser known comic book crime fighter: Sub Mariner, Green Arrow, Captain Atom, or Captain Canuck. Better yet, go for the sidekick angle: Robin, Cato, or Bucky. If you and a partner insist on Batman and Robin, go as the 1950's low budget TV show dynamic duo to stay uncommon. And comic book costumes don't have to be superheroes. Pick other comic and cartoon characters: Archie Andrews, Little Lulu (or the much lesser known Little Dot), Mary Worth, or Sad Sack. Or, create your own superhero character: Diaper Man, The Mad Plumber, or Captain Streptococcus.

Let's not forget this is Halloween. I want to see scary. Not slasher movie scary either, like Jason or Leatherface; highly popular is not highly frightening. I want to see something more Addams Family; not so much scary as creepy and kooky and altogether ooky.

What could be more harrowing in a small midwest town than a scientist? I think the most frightening costume one could wear in my county would be that of Charles Darwin. Dress up as Stephen Jay Gould, Erwin Schrodinger, Mme. Curie, or Stephen Hawking, and you'll be quite disquieting to the non-scientific yokel. Another disturbing choice would be that of an eccentric or flamboyant author, such as Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, or Truman Capote. Pick a less flamboyant author and add personality: Wacky Walt Whitman, Tourette's Mark Twain, or The Angry Ghost of Hemingway. The less people understand your costume, the more horrified they'll be.

There are boatloads of kooky historical characters odd to the average Halloween party patron: Nero, Imelda Marcos, Ivan the Terrible, and Dionne Warwick to name but a few. But the most terrifying for some may not raise a single hair on others. For example, dressing as Nancy Pelosi would be ghastly to some where a Rush Limbaugh getup would not (and vice versa). Try to maximize the menace among the most partygoers; Bernie Madoff will usually do it. To add a spot of comedy, try Leona Helmsley.

Elvira, no. Vampira and Svengoolie, yes. And pirates are out, unless you dress Somalian.

Creepy, diabolical clowns are not creepy anymore. If you want to be unnerving, dress as a clown who is really serious about entertaining two-year-olds. Trauma points go up if you are overweight, sweaty, or show an unhealthy fascination for balloons and flowers.

Nix the cutesy animal, princess, and pumpkin costumes for babies. I want to see the Anne Geddes rejects. Instead of a Care Bear, how about a baby maggot, grub, or larvae? Goodbye Snow White, hello Princess Hairy Toad. Uproot the pretty flower costume and replace it with a Venus fly trap or a strangle of kudzu. If you're dressing your infant as a pumpkin, only a rotten or smashed one will do. That gives me a better idea. Dress your bald baby up as Billy Corgan, complete with silver pants and “Zero” shirt. For real creep factor, dress the toddler as Stephen Hawking.

Do I want to see another Harry Potter costume? No. Instead, how about Draco Malfoy? Or something even more ominous. A kid dressing up as Macaulay Culkin would be pretty chilling.

And on the subject of fantasy characters, let's skip the whole vampire thing completely. I'm tired to dejection of the vampire romance dreck being shoved into the festering fang-puncture holes in readers' and moviegoers' necks. Vampires are soul-sucking, life-juice drinking demons, not hyper-hormoned weenie-boppers on a glurge-quest for the ever elusive perfect kiss. Kids, if you want to be traumatic to adults, skip the vampire garb. Instead, wear your pants' waistbands around your thighs, accentuate the acne, and slouch around chanting, “Like, I'm like, the future.”

If you must buy your costume at one of those ubiquitous Halloween stores, mix and match. For example: cross a fairy costume with porcine mask and create Pig Tinkerbell; don zombie togs, a blonde wig and pallid facial makeup for a perfect Supermodel; or go as The Disco Jedi.

Just show your friends you've used your imagination. That'll give them nightmares.