Halloween isn’t an easy holiday for guys. No one wants to see me in anything skintight or belly button-exposing. For years, I’ve used this excuse to stay far away from any sort of flashy costumes. I admit it. I am a lazy, lazy trick-or-treater. I spent all of middle school as Scream (timeless, but kind of sweaty after a few hours), rationalizing it by saying I was acting out each of the sequels of the Scream franchise. I think I even skipped a year in there. In 9th grade I pulled together a pirate costume with a plastic sword, a strangely low-cut v-neck, and a fake earring. I thought I’d put a lot of work into it.
So, when I heard Halloween at Brown was so much more than just a one-night excuse to look super foolish while the girls pull off their best Mean Girls look, I naturally had a bit of a heart attack. Am I going to have to walk ALL THE WAY TO THE MALL to buy a real costume? Am I really going to spend something like $30 (that’s TEN Bulgogi Sliders) to look like Bieber? Absolutely not. Instead I shall, as I know best, improvise. Here are my tips for a successful lazy man’s Halloween costume, with some important dos and don’ts.
1. Always start with your closet. It may be horrifying, but you might dress a lot more like Captain Jack Sparrow or Mr. T than you think (although good luck to you on the hair for either of these).
2. I know it’s tempting, but you CANNOT dress as Steve Jobs (may he rest in peace). Black turtle neck and a bottle of Smart Water? It’s a) too soon and b) too obvious.
2′. Fair Game. Can’t say the same about ousted dictators, particularly Moammar Gaddafi.
3. Almost every superhero costume has a fatal flaw: (Superman wears tights, Spiderman can’t see too well, Dr. Manhattan… well… if you’re confident in your own skin, go for it). Avoid if possible.
4. You can make moves on Thayer Street. For example, the Army/Navy Store can definitely cover any sort of communist leader (Fidel Castro recommended: military jacket + hat + red star + cigar). Shades Plus can cover a surprising array of miscellany, but it’s less communist-inclined.
5. Speaking of Thayer Street, dressing up as an employee of Blue State, Antonio’s, Nice Slice, Haruki, Baja’s, or any other eatery is unacceptable unless you’ve charmed your way into owning one of the t-shirts without spending a nickel.
6. Old is new again. Pull out all the stops for people who got their 15 minutes of fame more than 3 years ago (Joe the Plumber, William Hung, and Tim Donaghy all work). I’ll chuckle.
7. Serial killers are classics (what’s Jason Voorhees besides a fake machete and a hockey mask?), but way overplayed. How about cereal killers?
8. Bird Bird Bird, Bird is the word. 2008 was Sarah Palin. 2009 was Lady GaGa. 2010 was Jersey Shore. 2011 is – no, not Steve Jobs – Angry Birds. Those who can sew and have artistic talents will be rewarded.
9. You’re mad, man. Dressing up in a suit and calling yourself Don Draper, though a nice Lazy Man’s Costume, does not make you Don Draper. To pretend that any of us are Don Draper is an insult to Don Draper.
As for me? It’s October 24th. I’ve got at least 12 hours before I start thinking about my costume. Early research has discovered a narrow black tie – combine that with a curly black wig (Qaddafi anyone?), a Moleskine, and I’m halfway to Elder Cunningham.
I’m writing to Mom for the Scream mask – just in case. Happy hunting!