POSTED ON OCTOBER 28, 2009:
Last minute costume planners can rely on UTW's Halloween hater for ideas
Boobzillas. Granted, not all group costumes are as simple as taking a trip to your closet. Obviously if your group of friends takes the route of dressing like The Breakfast Club you might have to get more creative than a group of girls going as The Real Housewives of Orange County.
I greatly dislike Halloween, which surprises no one who has read my column in previous years.
Spending Halloween with friends, I'm always ill-content with trying to gather a costume (likely due to my wallflower ways).
So, in the spirit of those like me who just want to make it through this holiday unscathed, I offer you the bare minimum of advice for this (in some of our opinions) hardly enjoyable holiday.
Halloween is just a few workdays away, so it might be too close to start formulating ideas or buying something to wear. It's almost the equivalent of buying Christmas presents on Christmas Eve.
Surely anyone who works in an environment offering costumes will tell you that last minute shopping is the best idea, but that's if you have a specific costume in mind. You cannot expect to walk into a costume shop at this late hour and make your demands. You might not find exactly what you want in stores because they sold those costumes to real Halloween believers weeks ago.
If you're a real party pooper, you'll just go with whatever the store has in your size or whatever mask you can tolerate. If you're a true anti-Halloweenie, your night's goal is just to make it through a friend's mandatory costume party -- or whatever other event is forcing you to participate -- with the least amount of Halloween costume input as possible. Slutty ranch hand costume and last year's left over John McCain mask? We'll take it!
Speaking of friends, they're the first place to go to when costumes call. Safety is in numbers if last minute Halloween costumes are necessary. Obviously, two (or more) heads are better than one in coming up with ideas. Like any great creative team, you can bounce ideas off each other and delegate who will find what. The great thing about pairs or groups of costumes really is the ability to rely on someone else to complete your costume. Not in the manner of someone's the head of a horse and someone's the ass of a horse. Think more like a couple.
Pairing with someone else, especially a significant other, is not re-inventing the wheel. There's everything from the celebrity couple costume duo (Heidi and Spencer) to things that adorably complete each other (one couple went as a leafless tree and the other as a bag of leaves). But it's still an easy way to make it look like you both tried harder than you really did.
Case in point: Candace is a self-proclaimed Halloween fan. Her costume this year will consist of a pink v-neck t-shirt, a denim skirt, wedge shoes and big sunglasses. She is also turning her short dark hair blonde for the night. You might be able to decipher who she is for Halloween based on that description, but alongside her husband -- dressed in jeans, a homemade Ed Hardy t-shirt and fake diamond stud earrings -- you can easily tell that she's the Kate to his Jon.
With each standing on their own, you'd likely be able to get each costume, but as a pair the simple costumes become stronger... and in this case, really easy to put together. Candace said she doesn't like to spend a lot of money on an outfit she wears only once, and she said that she prefers to find things around her house to incorporate into their costumes. This costume fits the bill and likely appeals to Candace's husband whom she said would wear his normal clothes if given the choice. He practically is.
Granted, not all group costumes are as simple as taking a trip to your closet. Obviously if your group of friends takes the route of dressing like The Breakfast Club you might have to get more creative than a group of girls going as The Real Housewives of Orange County.
Still, the more people you have participating in your group costume, the more closets you have to raid and the more people can scour thrift stores, vintage shops and costume stores for the right elements.
Of course, if your friends are the Halloween type or everyone's a couple but you, you'll be at the mercy of your own creativity.
Just start a slide show of popular images throughout your head. Celebrities, or their modern day equivalent reality television stars, are prominent culture figures and can be easy to mimic in costume. And since celebrities are just like us in that they wear clothes, you're likely to own something that can be the foundation for your costume. Unless you're going as Lady Gaga, then good luck finding a flesh colored leotard covered in clear plastic balls lurking in the back of your closet.
Learn from the couple that were a tree and its leaves and go for something more abstract. Candace said her mother is dressing in pajamas and is going as "tired" this Halloween.
Grab a hockey jersey and a beret and go as "French Canadian" (my apologies for the crude stereotype Quebecer-Tulsans). Grey face paint can turn anyone into a zombie.
Last year, a friend and I each wore vintage dresses we owned, made our eye makeup look sunken and went as 1940s and 1950s zombies. We might not have won an award for our costume, but we had something to say when someone inevitably asked us what we were. If you're not that into Halloween, that's all you need your outfit to do for the evening, to fill in the blank when someone asks you what you're supposed to be.
You could wear your regular clothes and as long as you have something that parallels a costume, go for it. If you're a dandy dresser and aren't going to change your wardrobe -- Oct. 31 be damned -- say you're a Jonas Brother.
I'll admit that even I am still at a loss for this Halloween, but I know that if I buddy-up with a friend, watch some crappy TV, eavesdrop (yes, stealing other peoples Halloween costumes is fair game if you're not going to the same event) or rifle through my own cupboards, I'll find something to get me by for a few short hours on Saturday night. Dressing like a fool in costume with friends sometimes trumps dressing in pajamas and sitting on my couch. And it should for you, too.
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