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A recent Internet search for "last-minute Halloween costumes" offered several variations - "Last-minute costumes for women/men/couples/kids/dogs" - and many subsequent web-page suggestions.
Apparently, I'm not the only one casting about for ideas.
While it's not the greatest testament to the majority's planning-in-advance skills, it's nice to know we're in good company. And because I understand us "creative procrastinators" so well, I offer the following advice: In a Halloween costume pinch, read the headlines, see what's trending on Twitter, and brainstorm from there. Ironic and timely costumes trump a pretty princess dress any day of the week. You might not have the ultimate "Game of Thrones" Khaleesi costume, but a costume that riffs on that state of the world will garner you pop-savvy points and at least a few laughs.
Allow me to proffer the following 10 ideas to get the creative juices flowing. If all else fails, zombify any old costume concept and you'll be instantly Walking-Dead-chic.
1. Classic, updated. Dracula is back, thanks to NBC's new version of Bram Stoker's story of Vlad the Impaler. The television series, titled "Dracula," stars the ever-fabulous Jonathan Rhys Meyers and premiered Friday. A Vlad-clad party guest will be classic and current! Note: This "Dracula" story is set in 1896; costume appropriately .
2. Denizens of Downton. English majors will love this one, and a new season of Downton starts Jan. 5. Post-Edwardian-era fashion isn't too tough to patch together, thanks to our region's ready supply of vintage clothing and Goodwill stores. Upstairs: Find some classic evening wear and start quibbling over salad forks and the demise of civilization at the hands of women's liberation (budding journalist Edith with a notepad, perhaps?); Downstairs: modify an old black suit or (non-sexy) maid's outfit, grab some white gloves, and channel Anna, Bates and Carson all night. DON'T get railroaded into party clean-up, though.
3. Walter White. One porkpie hat, plus one bald head or bald cap, and you're halfway there. Add neutral beige jacket, outdated glasses and bag of blue rock candy, and it's done. The series might be over, but the legend of Heisenberg will live on.
4. Healthcare.gov user. Sport the look of a new medical insurance costumer thusly: Put on some jammies and/or a bathrobe, grab a mug of coffee, and tuck a laptop or tablet under one arm and a load of paperwork under the other. Start complaining endlessly about long wait times, while failing to note that hundreds of thousands of users are trying to do the same thing simultaneously. Tuck cell phone in pocket and consult tech support with it periodically throughout the night.
5. For very confident couples: Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus. For him: Add some white stripes to an old black suit; add shades and lots of hair gel; start crooning about blurred lines of behavior.
For her: Keep it simple and wear a flesh-tone bodysuit; wrap hair in mini buns and add sports-fan foam finger (and keep it to yourself). Stick out tongue inexplicably.
6. For couples who like to keep it PG, float on. Find some basic space-man suits and try to look weightless, because astronauts are in again, thanks to "Gravity," Alfonso Cuarón's megahit film starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as a medical engineer and an astronaut marooned out in space. Simple and loaded with Oscar buzz.
7. For families: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George. Admit it: you love the royal couple and all their happy occasions. Any chic suit and matching chapeau will work for a Kate costume as long as she's got on pearls and an earnest-looking Wills and Baby George beside her. Now that Prince George has been christened, we have a fresh Kate look to modify into a costume; add a baby in a dress and you're nearly there.
Bonus: replicate the couple in their royal wedding finery; replace Baby George with a Pippa or a smartly clad Queen Elizabeth.
8. Grumpy Cat. First, spend at least 3 hours looking up "Grumpy Cat" and her associated meme-offshoots. For those pressed for time, knowyourmeme.com explains the popular and permanently unamused kitty like this: "Grumpy Cat is a nickname given to an angry-looking snowshoe cat that rose to fame online after its pictures were posted to Reddit in late September 2012."
This costume is great for the introverts who would love nothing more than to openly comment about how awful a given Halloween party really is.
And yep, Grumpy Cat masks are available online.
9. Honey Badger Don't Care. If you aren't aware of the "Crazy NastyAss Honey Badger" series of nature videos, check the out on YouTube. An explainer, per knowyourmeme.com: "The Honey Badger is a viral video featuring nature documentary footage with voiceover narration provided by (a user called) Randall, a self-proclaimed animal lover who has since launched a successful YouTube series of similar videos."
According to knowyourmeme.com, Honey Badger hit big in 2011, but the entire universe appears to be catching on this year, and the Internet is dying to sell you Honey Badger hats, tails, buttons, T-shirts, etc. And yes, there's a sexy Honey Badger costume out there, too.
Bonus round: A suggestion from an overly creative, overworked husband of mine: Double the meme value and create a "Here Comes Honey Badger" costume: add tiara, blond wig and tutu to Honey Badger gear and you're good to go.
10. Recycle alert! Remember when "V for Vendetta" sent everybody scurrying for cloaks and Guy Fawkes masks? It was cool then, and it'll be doubly cool now if you dust off that mask and don it again as a member of computer hacker syndicate Anonymous. You might want to change all your passwords right after the party, though.
Share your ideas in the comments section. Send photos if you dare! I'm on Twitter: @TheMDesk.