Every year around this time, I get a few ideas for Halloween costumes that I never follow through on since, much like Charlie Brown, I only get invited to parties by mistake. But why should these ideas go to waste? If you've got a masquerade coming up and don't feel inspired, feel free to help yourself to one of my abandoned disguises:
1. White Stripe:Put on a pair of solid red or white pants and a red or white T-shirt, and you're one half of a popular rock act!
Pros: Unlike other rock groups with a distinctive style of dress (Kiss, Gwar), this one can be achieved easily and on the cheap. Plus, my observations seem to indicate that the White Stripes are still pretty popular.
Cons: Works best as a duo, so if you don't know a busty, raven-haired girl or a slightly creepy wannabe bluesman, you may look incomplete. Also, while I've been kicking this idea around for a while now, Veronica Mars beat me to the punch last year.
Most Likely to Leave the Party With: Your sister and/or ex-wife. Icky.
2. John Cusack in Say Anything: Wear a trench coat and hold a boombox over your head.
Pros: Who doesn't love John Cusack? With that boombox, you'll be able to keep the party jumping.
Cons: If you're going for accuracy, you won't be playing anything but "In Your Eyes" all night long; are you prepared to put up with that? Also, that boombox looked really heavy, so once you've made your entrance, you'll probably be looking for a place to put it down.
Most Likely to Leave With: Someone dressed as Ione Skye.
3. Werewolf Bar Mitzvah: Combine a red leather jacket with a werewolf mask and a yarmulke. Today, you were a man; tonight, you are a wolf.
Pros: The cool people will get it; even those who don't will probably just think you're Michael Jackson in the "Thriller" video.
Cons: If you get hot and take off the mask, you'll just look like a Jewish Jacko.
Most Likely to Leave With: A vampire Bat Mitzvah. Get it? Get it? Well, it was either that or "a nice Jewish ghoul."
4. Gay Albus Dumbledore: Take the wizard outfit you wore to the Harry Potter book release party (sure, pretend you don't know what I'm talking about), and add a rainbow flag, Judy Garland album, or some campy accessory.
Pros: It has that ripped-from-the-headlines quality.
Cons: Don't overdo it with the stereotypes; if Dumbledore had spent seven books mincing around Hogwarts singing show tunes and calling Harry "fabulous!", you probably wouldn't have needed J. K. Rowling to spill the beans about his Chamber of Secrets.
Most Likely to Leave With: Sir Ian McKellen, that other famous gay wizard.
5. Zombie Professional: Can't decide between dressing up as a cowboy or a zombie? Why not do both? Just pair the clothing for one costume with some fake blood and a shambling gait.
Pros: The possibilities are nearly endless: zombie doctor, zombie astronaut, zombie millionaire. Plus, it's an important public service message that being turned into a zombie can affect people from all walks of life.
Cons: Be careful not to pair the zombie look with a vampire, ghost, or Frankenstein's monster, unless you want to get stuck in a metaphysical debate over how many times one can be made undead.
Most Likely to Leave With: Someone with a good heart who is able to overlook your ghoulish make-up, or who are taken with the earning power of a zombie attorney.
6. Ann Coulter: Put on a black cocktail dress and a blond wig, then go around calling people faggots and expressing your hope that Jews wise up and start worshipping Jesus.
Pros: With her giant Adam's-apple and husky voice, Coulter works just well as a drag act. Plus, she's the most horrifying creature on this list.
Cons: If you stay in character too long, don't expected to be invited back next year.
Most Likely to Leave With: Inexplicably, a book deal and numerous chances to promote it on NBC. Oh, and a deep sense of shame (hey, you're only pretending to be her).
7. Monster M*A*S*H: Start with a Korean-era army uniform or surgical outfit, and add a scary mask.
Pros: Everyone loves puns, right? Right?
Cons: If it's anything like the show, this costume will start out entertaining, but by the time you leave it will have become maudlin and self-important.
Most Likely to Leave With: A dry mouth from constantly explaining the joke to people.
8. Lolcostume: An easy one: hang a whiteboard, legal pad, or other writing surface around your neck, and write a short, misspelled message, like "I'M IN UR PARTY, CELBRATIN HALOWEEN," "INVISABLE COSTUME," or "I CAN HAS KANDY KORN."
Pros: Unlike other potential viral-internet costumes, like the leave Britney alone guy, it doesn't require you to actively annoy people. Plus, if you get tired of one caption, just write another one.
Cons: Part of the appeal of lolcats is the pictures of cute animals. I doubt you're cute enough to compare.
Most Likely to Leave With: A cheezburger?