A Totally Basic Guide to Halloween

Halloween is no joke. It’s go big or go home. I put hours and hours into piecing together my costume every year. That’s the fun part. If you are one of the people who just buys a costume every year, you are missing the point. However, if you insist on being completely lame, I’ve created a quick, handy guide just for you. Feel free to print it, laminate it, and tuck it just inside your Uggs (because your legging don’t have any pockets, duh!).


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All basic costumes are not created equal; some are basic-er than others. Here are a few of the worst offenders:

“Classics” (a.k.a. Generics)

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Here’s a test: If you are telling someone about your costume, and you say, “I’m going to be a ________,” you’ve probably picked something basic. A firefighter. An astronaut. A nurse. A pirate. A bore.

These costumes are particularly painful to see because with just a couple of small tweaks they could easily be used as the foundation for a specific, original costume. Don’t just be a criminal – add a name tag and a wig and be Piper Chapman from Orange is the New Black. Don’t just be a priest – cary a pan of ziti and be Father Intintola from The Sopranos. Don’t just be a rockstar – tie one arm behind your back and be Rick Allen.

90% Sex / 10% Costume

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I’m going to go out on a limb here (but honestly, not a very long limb) and say that sexy costumes are not inherently a bad thing. Do women use Halloween as an excuse to dress a little (or a lot) sluttier than they normally would? Absolutely. Is that a crime? No, not really. I mean, I get it. Everyone wants to be hot sometimes. Everyone wants to know that if they wanted to they could reveal all they’ve got, and they’d get a positive response. Halloween is one night a year to get that validation, and then go back to life as usual. So go for it. Wear a tight bodysuit and a push-up bra.

But don’t forget to have a brain, too. There are way, way, way too many costumes that are far more about the sex, and not enough about the costume. They don’t even remotely resemble what they’re supposed to be. That’s not a peacock. It’s a peacock themed cocktail dress. You’re a panda, huh? I didn’t know pandas shaved that much of their body. Oh, you’re a bag of Skittles? It’s been a while since I’ve had some, but I don’t remember them having tits and ass. Wait, let me guess: You’re a unicorn! It was the white thigh-highs that gave it away. Unicorns always wear thigh-highs.

Hey, you know what’s better than a hot chick? A hot chick with brains and a sense of humor. So put in a little effort and come up with something that shows off who you are and what you’ve got.

Humor in a Bag

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I think there is a male version of the “sexy ______” costume, though fortunately less prevalent. You can find them in the Humor section at Spirit. If you are completely void of original humor, but you want people to think you’re “the funny guy,” you can pick one of these. They usually involve a pun and/or a reference to genitalia. Also, farts.

Ears and a Tail Do Not a Costume Make

Ears and a Tail“I’m a cat!”

“I’m a devil!”

“I’m a bunny!”

“I’m a fox!”

No. You are just YOU in a tight dress.

“But I even drew on whiskers!”

No. Just no.

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Last Year’s Jokes

Last Years JokesBe careful with topical humor. If it was really funny last year, it will be super lame this year. So don’t even think about it. However, if you really want to plan ahead, you can buy it now and hang onto it for a decade. When you pull that thing out of nowhere in 10 years it will be HILARIOUS.

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In fact, it has been scientifically proven that the funniness of social and political references follows this basic pattern:

Topical Costumes

So go forth and dress up. Make the most of the best holiday of the year.

2 thoughts on “A Totally Basic Guide to Halloween

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