31. Help people build their costumes.
Did last year’s Halloween party impress you with it’s range of original costumes? I didn’t think so. For every The Joker there was there an equal and opposite Lady Wearing Underpants? How many times did you have to suffer through listening to pinch-faced women in rectangle glasses and an up-do describe the relative proximity of their house to Russia? Were there still nomadic packs of vestigal Austin Powerseses wandering around your house, awkwardly grasping for forgotten catch phrases as they tried to chat up yet another Wonder Woman That Was Born Years After Lynda Carter Hung Up The Lasso Of Truth? You have no idea who they are and you don’t remember letting them in your house– although, in retrospect, it does explain why your walls have been begging you to “behave.” Maybe you can finally stop taking all that expensive Disperidone!1 Things are finally starting to look up for old David Berkowitz. Dun dun dun/TIME PARADOX!
Like the aphorism says, “If you want people to come up with less shitty costumes to wear at your Halloween party, you’re going to have to do it yourself by going on a date to a Halloween Store and telling people what costumes to get (and then hopefully this will be paid forward to people who you know, and can stand, and who will be invited to your party).” So let’s do it, then.
What Not To Do
Puns: are a terrible idea. Every year there are two or five self-proclaimed geniuses, or genii, or genies, or genitals. Penis. Who decide to rubix up everybody’s faces with some baffling Mensa test of a costume. And 90% of the time it’s just the constituent words and elements of the thing stuck to, draped over, or painted on some asshole [http://tinyurl.com/yf29qb4, http://tinyurl.com/yjk7akn, http://tinyurl.com/ygurl8t2]. And that’s the best case scenario. The rest of the time we’re supposed to cobble together their clever idea from disparate pieces of and vague references to the parts that represent the elements of the thing that they are supposed to allude to. [http://tinyurl.com/yhhrztn]. A few leaves do not the woods make! It’s an flagrant abuse of synecdoche and I refuse to stand for it! A Black Hefty Bag Covered In Stamps with an Address Label To Which Is Taped A Tiny Easel Supporting A Painting Of Clownface Tim Curry!
“Sure,” you’re saying, “I agree: that shit is The Worst. And I appreciate that you didn’t over-explain that last bit– that you trusted that I would be able to decipher that that costume was the shitty metonymic “pun”-based costume version of that thing you just said. You didn’t condescend to me, and I respect that. But puns on the idea of puns. Uns? THAT”S JUST AS BAD. How am I supposed to use my costume to ruin these jerks?” Don’t worry, friend. I’ve got you covered.
Instead: subtly, obliquely, deep-reachingly, nigh-incomprehensibly, almost-invisbly, not really mock them by going as your favorite Knock Knock Joke. Or, even better, go as my favorite Knock Knock Joke:
Q: Knock Knock
A: Who’s There?
Q: How does Henry Winkler get around Chicago?
A: How does Henry.. what?
Q: He takes the CT-Ehhhhhhhhhh!!!
Just wear a leather jacket, white t-shirt, and tape some old bus passes to it. Then, at the party, talk like The Fonz But With A Chicago Accent, and eat a hot dog with a pickle spear, tomato slice, and hot pepper on it. If they can’t figure it out, it’s there problem.
Tips to Improve Obvious/Overused Ideas
Make It From Reams of Felt and Other Tactilely-Compelling Materials: Touch is the best and most underrated sense! Coy costume touches and lingering handrubs can be a prelude to Doin’ It! (Doin’ It is awesome!)!/.
The Whole Cast of Something (That Isn’t Usually Represented By Costumes at a Party):
You want to avoid the latest big success (The Dark Knight, Mad Men, Crystal Meth) but also want to avoid being too insular, niche, retro, or nerdy (Buckaroo Banzai, Northern Exposure, Ketracel-White). Eraserhead is too pretentious! How I Met Your Mother is too generic! What about Everybody Loves Raymond— that would have a nice demi-ironic/slightly sincere inexplicability. Or Space Ghost. Who doesn’t love Space Ghost?3
People Who Were Interesting At A Certain Place and Point In Time, But Who Haven’t Been Played Out Yet: Ditch the Hero (Chesley Sullenberger) and Get with the Zero (Zero Mostel).
Technology Is a Pretty Big Deal These Days: For the love of Gods, don’t be something Twitter-based. Instead, take your costume ideas from Google Searches you’ve done. Unique like Snowflake, the albino celeb-baby of Salman Rushdie and The Ridiculously Hot Lady From Top Chef,4 your search history is a perfect generator for original ideas as long as none of your friends are NSA. Here’s a list-bit!/:
1989 chevy astro
linda blair topess
linda blair topless
aspergum family size
birds of the pacific northwest
linda blair with no shirt on
jack nicklauson smash them up
that chick from the Exorcist exposing her breasts5
Two Major Costume Concepts (For You To Work With)
1. You at a Different Part of Your Life:
Your in-store goal here is more evangelism than actual construction tips, as it is unlikely the fly-by-night Halloween costume store carries the necessary rat tail or laser backdrop to re-create your Third Grade School Picture. Which brings us to another list(s):
– Third Grade School Picture
Upside: Charming. Rat tails are winners/pussy magnets, laser backdrops doubly so.
Downside: Would probably require [crossout]victim[/crossout] customer to wear a large (very large) and cumbersome piece of foam core board, or paperboard, or cork, or
– You, Being Born
Upside: Other than Spaghetti-O’s, most of the stuff you need will be located in-store.
Downside: This is a bad idea, and gross. Use only if the person you are helping seems to be sort of a scumbag.
– Your First Kiss/Time/Heartbreak
Upside: Romantical, good for picking up people, ladies in particular (I assume). Maybe not your First Time.
Downside: Need to be a regular Marcel Duchamp to capture and convey a half-hour to forty five minutes of fruitless (and slightly confusing) thrusting, unsure of whether you are even inside or if she just doesn’t want to break the bad news.
– A Mistaken Idea You Had About How The World Worked
Upside: Clever A good conversation starter– requires explanation and broaches a topic that people are inclined to indulge themselves in deeply: nostalgia, their own stupid lives, and memories. Speaking of which…
– You, Lying In Bed At Night, Realizing Exactly What Death Means
Upside: There is no upside.
Downside: You have to spend the night thinking about how, at some point, you will no longer be able to think about no longer being able to think; life will continue and yet you won’t be able to partake in it, or even realize it is happening.
– Your Face When You Realize That Social Security Ain’t Got Nothing For You
You can either go as the actual full-body face (think lots of papier maiche, plaster of paris, or, if you’re rich, human skin) or as you, yourself, on that fateful day when you realize you’ve been gipped! By the government!
– You, On Your True Love’s Wedding Day (To Somebody Else)
An off-color tux, or cheap suit, strategically disheveled to convey the act of Drunkenness. Fake tears to get in character any time somebody asks what you’re dressed as. Do Not Tell Them– turn away, apply the tears, then turn back around and knock them out with your teeth grit and terse visibly insincere toast. Or off-key rendition of the first six bars of “Alison” (before being tackled/escorted away).
– The Electoral Map in 2036
So much burnt umber…
– You, In The Grave, Open Casket (Casket Optional)
Make sure to capture the unreality of the best efforts of the mortuary restorative artist to dampen your creeping rictus with visibly thick layers of ‘naturalistic’ makeup; make sure to look a little bit like a life-size plasticine action figure of your own damn self.
– The Happiest Day of the Rest of Your Life
Picnic blanket, some felt that represents a sunny day that turns, out of nowhere, to a light rainstorm, forcing your party to scramble for shelter; try to imagine what your spouse and child(ren) will look like and recreate that shit in photoshop or sock puppetry. What game will you play while you pass the time in the dugout / eat the picnic in your car?
2. Someone Else You Know at a Different Part of Their Life:
Now’s your chance to stick it to those faggots. That’s right– in this scenario you, or the person you are helping, are a creepy bigot with weird and ineffectual ideas about vengeance. Well get ready for your imaginary enemies to squirt blood tears, because here come some real gay-bashers!6
What about that Ex who decided that, instead of being in love with you, what they loved was Anything Else. No one can break up with you and get away with it! THINK OF THE PRECEDENT THIS IS SETTING. How will the ladies and/or fellas know that your genitals are a formidable pleasure factory, virtually guaranteed to flood their light red district with enough blood to deprive their brain of proper function, thus rendering them totally pliable to your gross ideas of where tongues should go?7 DON”T LET THEM TRIFLE WITH YOUR GENTLENESS! Don’t let months of diligent wiping go to waste. Show everyone just how rash and unwise your former paramour is when it comes to making major life decisions by going as Their Bank Statements.
Step one – Find out where they are keeping their financial records
Step two – Breaks into those shits
Step three – Fasten them to your nude, throbbing litheness using spare fluids and juices you find in their room/bed.
How will they be able to trust his/her bodily opinions once they find out they wasted six grand on lapdances / It’s their own fault– they should have shredded their financials twice if they didn’t want everyone to know how much they spent at Sur le Face, their social security number!
Who do your parents think they are, telling you when to shower, how clean your room should be, and where and where not to post your address, ADT pin number? If you Go as Someone Willing To Drink Anything Given To You, No Questions Asked, then you can finally show them how much the boss of you they are not!8
How about that who thinks they’re hot shit but they’re really just cold diarrhea? Show them that they are Number Two by dressing up as Your Worst Enemy When They Realize That– As Someone Who Had The Misfortune Of Marrying Someone With The Grossest Pecadillo– This Is Your Life Now: Recreating, Photographically, Every Urban Dictionaried Sex Act For Display On The Internet. Sure, you might be Number 2,459,012,737– but at least you’re not projected to one day rock a doo-moustache for a living. At least no one will ever believe you were the grinning recipient of a Nunavut Birthday Cake. Win!
1The unfortunately named Risperidone generic.
2Technically, she would be (a) Serial/Cereal Killed…
3A: No one worth knowing.
4Gael Greene– is it just me?
5Bonus Fact!!: if you type “average” in the Google bar of your brower, the top suggestion is “average penile length.” It is six slots ahead of “average weight for women,” showing, once and for all, whose deck the “media-based body image” card should be in. (A: Dudes with tiny dicks).
6Scenarically speaking, of course.
7“In your Whathole?”
8~ 36ml not!