Mark my words. Courtesy of the recent presidential debates, expect to see an abundance of Big Birds, women in binders and maybe even some horsebacked, bayonet-waving fools on this year’s Halloween party circuit.
After all, Americans love to mix politics (and pop culture) with Halloween revelry while also dropping a lot of cash for the opportunity to do so.
Last year, the National Retail Federation projected Americans to spend an average of $72 each on the occasion for a grand total of $6.9 billion. Broken down, that equates to $1 billion for children's costumes, $1.2 billion for adult’s costumes, and $310 million on outfits for pets.
Oh brother. I guess we should brace ourselves for lots of Seamus-in-a-car-carrier-strapped-to-the-roof-of-the-car outfits too, then.
Originally, Halloween began as a pagan festival in parts of Northern Europe. Many European cultural traditions held that Halloween was a time when magic was most potent and spirits could make contact with the physical world. In Christian times, it became a celebration of the evening before All Saint’s Day. Natives of Scotland and Ireland brought the holiday to the United States upon immigration.
The commercialization of Halloween started in the 1900s, when postcards and die-cut paper decorations began getting manufactured. Halloween costumes first appeared in stores in the 1930s and the custom of 'trick-or-treat' surfaced in the 1950s. The types and varieties of products available with a Halloween theme continue to expand with time.
Each year, popular costumes are dictated by various current events and pop-culture icons or moments. In keeping along those lines, here are a few costumes suggested by The Huffington Post.
Psy. This one's pretty easy. Slip on shades and a suit, then dance stupidly every time someone asks what you are for Halloween. Bonus: Say "Oppa, Gangnam style" every time you take a sip of your drink.
Honey Boo Boo. The best part of it: You get to walk around Halloween night saying "Boo!" for another reason entirely.
Clint Eastwood’s Invisible Obama. You have two choices here. You can either be Clinton Eastwood and schlep around an empty chair, or you can wear your invisible cape and be invisible Obama.
Angelina Jolie’s Leg at the Oscars. Dress up in an inky black velvet gown (no, it need not be Versace), fasten a fake leg to it. Everyone will get it.
Tanning Mom. Spray tan yourself silly in the name of Patricia "Tanning Mom" Krentcil. Alternative costume idea: Snooki.
Twilight Trampire. Let's be honest — Kristen Stewart cheating scandal aside, girls have been dressing up as sexy vampires for years. This year the costume just happens to be especially timely.
Buzz Sugar has some costume suggestions too, especially for groups.
The Office is a great option for large groups, because there are so many characters to chose from. Costumes play a part, but a lot of these characters will depend on your attitude. Sure, you can be Jim or Pam, but wouldn't it be way more fun to be Meredith?
The Guys From The Hangover. This one is all in the details. One of you should have already started growing out a wicked beard, one will have to knock out his tooth, and if you're Phil, rock some aviators. And keep asking people if they've seen Doug.
Luke, Leia, and Han Solo From Star Wars. The perfect costume for a geeky trio has to be the Star Wars crew. But why stop there? If you've got a big group, there's always Darth Vader, C-3PO and R2-D2.
The Gang From Grease. Does it get any more classic than paying homage to Kenickie, Sandy, Danny, and Rizzo? No, it does not. Plus, if you have more people, there's always Doody, Sonny, Putzie, Frenchie, Jan, and Marty.
One Direction. If you're longing to be a boy band, but the Backstreet Boys seem a little out of style, how about One Direction? All it takes is five people, some suspenders, and some meticulously styled hair.
The Fab Five. Be athletic and get four friends to join you in being the 2012 US women's gymnastics team. You could go the leotard route, but it might be more comfortable to just grab some identical sweat suits and gold medals. Oh, and McKayla's signature expression.
Here a few ideas from Collegiate Cook.
Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” Costume. Ever since Vogue talked her into getting bangs and she became fascinated by the Kennedys (and even started dating one!), Taylor Swift has underwent a major style transformation. It’s retro with a touch of whimsy — Zooey Deschanel better watch out, because she’s slipping into adorkable territory. Cop her memorable new look and practice your sassy dance moves, because you know her new single will be playing at least 12 times an hour on every Top 40 radio station. Bonus points if you can convince a few friends to dress in animal costumes as her band.
Breaking Bad Walter White Costume. Bryan Cranston proved he’s so much more than Malcolm’s mild-mannered dad with his dark turn as Walter White in Breaking Bad, and now it’s your chance. Make some blue rock candy, grab a painter’s smock, and you’re only a gravelly sneer away from embodying the prime time meth maker.
And lastly, here’s my personal suggestion, if you are hoping to add the “Best Costume” prize to your trophy collection and if you have a second person to dress up with.
NFL Replacement Referees. In homage to the most egregious of the bad calls during the recent Green Bay Packers/Seattle Seahawk’s game, two people dress up in black and white referee jerseys. One person (wearing dark sunglasses, carrying a candy-striped cane and holding a leash attached to a German shepherd) walks into the party, drops the cane and leash and raises his/her hands skyward, signaling a touchdown. The other person, simultaneously walks in, but signals an interception. These motions get replicated throughout the party whenever new guests arrive.
However you end up costuming yourself this Halloween, be sure to have fun and be safe. And if you have any spare peanut M&Ms or Take Fives kicking around, you know where to find me.