I’ve been in the retail end of the Halloween business since high school. That’s a long time and I’ve seen all kinds of costume buyers over the years. Most people buy a costume and some accessories and go on their way but there are others who take it to the extremes of masquerade nuttiness.
At one end there are the costume purists who start planning for next Halloween on November first. They obsess over every detail and drive their local costumer nuts with minutiae about their character that even most fanatics wouldn’t know. Working on their concoctions in small, locked rooms in the basement, they alienate family, friends, and coworkers with their neurosis but usually take first prize. Everybody hates them. If you’re in that category you can stop reading right now. What follows will probably cause your head to explode. Now that would be a hell of a costume.
This is aimed at the other end of the costume-buyer spectrum. It’s for those mopes who get a last-minute invitation to a Halloween party and want to go, but couldn’t care less about what to wear as long as it’s cheap and doesn’t take a lot of time or thought. Here are four easy costumes for you, my friends.
This one requires a little cost but is easy as can be. Start with a nun costume. Instead of letting the veil drape in back, draw it across your face until only your eyes show. Replace the rosary with nunchuks or throwing stars and you have a Nunja. If this costs more than thirty bucks, replace the Mother Superior getup for a plain old nun habit.
The cost varies depending on what you have around the house. Start with a pair of sandals, the leather kind, not flip-flops. If you have a long coat with a zip-out lining, remove the lining and secure it with a piece of rope or a wide belt from your hippie days. If you don’t have one of these coats, your local thrift store will. From the costume shop you’ll need a black mustache that fits directly under your nose, wire-rimmed glasses, a WWII German army helmet, and a Bo-Peep crook. If you don’t want to offend anyone, you can swap the helmet for an Alpine hat. Either way, you’re a German shepherd.
This is the easiest and cheapest of the lot. That’s why I’ve used it myself. Get a white T-shirt and put a date on it so it looks like one of those page-a-day calendars. You can do it by hand or get iron-on transfer sheets from your local office supply store and print it on your computer so it looks fairly presentable. Iron-on transfers can be tricky with a home iron. Your local T-shirt shop will press it for you for a couple of bucks. Get a dowel rod or old cane, paint it white, and cover the bottom foot or so with red tape or paint. Put on a pair of dark glasses and you’re a blind date, the ultimate cheapskate costume.
Lindsay Lohan? Charlie Sheen?
If you want to be like the latest celebrity gossip item, this one’s for you. Dig in your closet or head to the thrift store and get some fancy duds you don’t mind messing up. From your local costume shop you’ll need a wig, an engineer hat, and some makeup for cuts and bruises. They’ll show you how to apply it. If it’s one of those big pop-up joints they’ll have no clue. Buy the makeup anyway and check You Tube. There are plenty of video how-to’s for spirit gum, liquid latex, etc. The rest is easy. Rip the clothes, put on your makeup, mess up the wig, and top it with the engineer hat. Voila! You’re a celebrity train wreck.
These outfits are guaranteed not to win you first prize or even an honorable mention, horrible mention maybe, but at least they’ll get you into the party.