It's safe to assume that every schmuck with a pair of khakis and a tasteless sense of humor has entertained the idea of stepping out this Halloween dressed as recently deceased infomercial king Billy Mays. Slightly more surprising is the endorsement the idea is getting from the pitchman's progeny.
On his website, Mays' son, Billy III, is sponsoring a "Hallow-clean Contest" to reward this holiday's best likeness of his father. The rules are pretty simple: You just have to submit a photo of your getup and "be tasteful"—though, according to Billy III, "zombies ARE permitted," which is not troubling at all (especially to this guy, who totally already went there). The grand prize is one of the final autographed pictures of Mays, Season One of the Discovery Channel's Pitchmen on DVD, some Oxi-Clean and Mighty Putty, and the thrill of knowing you trivialized this particular tragedy with true panache.
Halloween has inspired far cruder displays (this comes to mind). Here, our awards for the most tasteless costumes of all time:
-(1994) Retailers can't keep the O.J. Simpson mask in stock. Classier than a Nicole Brown costume, but still . . .
-(2006) Comedian Bill Maher attends a party dressed as deceased Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin—complete with a stingray barb in his chest. The question "Could Bill Maher get any douchier?" is finally answered.
-(2006) A frat boy gets inspired by JonBenét Ramsey. Hell's first Platinum member is enrolled.
-(2008) A British policeman marks the seventh anniversary of 9/11 by dressing as Osama bin Laden. No offense intended, of course.
-(2009) The Bernie Madoff mask: this year's biggest disgrace. Just kidding—they're hilarious.