Last-Minute Halloween Costume Do's and Don'ts

Which timely trends are worth mining for Halloween costumes? Read our do's and don'ts.

You know what people will be wearing this year. Someone will dress as Sandy (the storm). Someone else as a binder full of women. Then you've got your Big Bird, your replacement referees, and yes Batman. Lots of him. Don't worry; there are easier topical costumes to assemble at the last minute. Just follow the do's and don'ts below.
P90X Paul Ryan from the TIME Photos
__ Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan dressed as a weirdly anachronistic fitness hunk? Yes, it happened in these photos that ran in TIME, which spread like wildfire around the Internet. All you need is some workout gear, a dumbbell, earbuds, a backwards red hat, and a vague sense of what P90X is. The best part is that it works for both Republican and Democratic crowds; just repeat parts of his economic plan and see if people take you seriously or think you're being ironic. Either way, you'll get a workout from lifting that dumbbell all night.
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Botched Jesus Fresco__
You know the story: 81-year-old Cecilia Gimenez tried to "fix" a 19th century portrait of Jesus in a Spanish church and ended up creating a blurry monstrosity that some have dubbed "Potato Jesus." The great thing about this costume is that the worse you are as an artist, the more authentic the costume will be. Just wear a brown sheet, cut out a round mask from some cardboard and go to town with brown and black paint.
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__Magic Mike
__ Have a pair of black pants and a black tie or vest? Boom: instant Magic Mike costume. Even better if you have abs like Channing Tatum. If you don't, you can play it up for laughs a la Chris Farley in the infamous Chippendale's sketch on Saturday Night Live. One thing is for sure: At least you won't get hot inside of your costume.
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__Psy from "Gangnam Style"
__ We get it. Everyone loves Gangnam Style. Britney Spears did the dance on Ellen. There are hundreds of Gangnam Style parodies online. The infamous dancing Filipino inmates recently added the song to their repertoire. That's kind of the point; everyone is going to be dressed as Psy. Remember when Borat came out and everyone on Halloween was screaming "Very nice!" while wearing a gray suit and mustache?
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Bath Salts Zombie
__ As if zombies weren't everywhere before, this summer brought hyperbolic news reports of the "zombie apocalypse" after a man chewed off someone's face after getting high on bath salts. Here's the thing: that guy who got his face bit off was an actual human being. Not to mention we're just tired of people dressing up as zombies for Halloween. That goes for you too, vampires.
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__James Bond
__ We're fans of James Bond. We like sharp suits. We too are excited that Skyfall is coming out on November 8. We, however, are smart enough to know that we do not look like Daniel Craig, Pierce Brosnan or '60s-era Sean Connery. Have you ever seen a cheesy guy in a suit say "Shaken, not stirred" while cocking one eyebrow? Yeah, don't be that guy.
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—Keith Wagstaff is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn. Follow him @kwagstaff.
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