I suspect people love Halloween because one day out of the year they get to be somebody they're not, or live out someone's — or something's — life far removed from their own.
In recent years, it was the dolled-up Amy Winehouses and Jokers from "The Dark Knight" that we'd see at every Halloween party. This year, we'll probably see our share of red-jacketed Kings of Pop, Octo-moms, Kate Gosselins (I read that Kate-wigs are all the Halloween rage this year), and Bella Swans and vampires straight out of Stephanie Meyer's romance novels.
Then there's your staples, too: ghosts, ghouls, bloody brides, witches, and swiss-cheese sandwiches.
All amateurs, I say.
Though I shouldn't be one to speak so fast. My Halloween costumes haven't broken much mold, and I can't think of anything this year that gets me excited.
In fact, I don't think I've donned a Halloween costume since my college days, way back in 2007 when no one Twittered or blogged more than once a day. That last costume was pretty clever though. With a pink, Northface fleece, Lindsey Lohan-like sun-specs, fur boots and bumped-up hair — before they invented the infamous Bump-Its! — I hit the campus streets of Iowa City, hoping to make a mockery of the well-to-do sorority girls who replicated the look every day. (All in good jest, of course.)
My friends and I got some great laughs out of it — and fooled the rest of the partiers who asked me why I wasn't dressed up. But looking back on the events is kind of unsettling. If the psychology of Halloween costumes is all about what your choice of costume reveals about you and your personality, then was my inner desire to be a "Northface girl," complete with a pair of Eskimo boots?
Too close to the truth, my friends, too close.
So what to do this year? Money's always an issue, and so is time. And if you're a grown-up without kids, there isn't much reason to dress up unless you have a party to go to. (Good thing I've got somewhere to go now ...)
Chances are you're a procrastinator like me, and haven't thought of anything either. The World Wide Web isn't much help, either — check out some of these ideas I ran across online (and embellished some myself), if you're as perplexed as I am:
* Swine Flu — You could carry a blanket around with you, a box of tissues and a name tag that says: "Hello! My name is H1N1." (I say, for those who want to go the extra mile, go out and buy yourself a Snuggie, too.)
* Nick Nolte's infamous mug shot — Hawaiian shirt, dirty hair, you get the picture.
* Chick magnet — You can glue Barbies to your clothes. (Pretty amateur, if you ask me.)
* Lady Gaga: According to several sources, Lady Ga Ga is this year's hot ticket. Believe it or not, I ran across a "How to Make Lady Gaga's Bubble Dress" at www.ehow.com. (I guess you could wear any of her outlandish outfits — just make sure you completely hide your face with big sunglasses and don't wear pants, and you're set.)
* The VIP Section — So you wrap yourself in red ropes and carry a clip board around? (Choose this costume, and you're guaranteed to be kept out of several parties.)
* A Teabagger — What you'll need: bags of tea, a funny protest sign, and a chant that either calls the president a Muslim or a Socialist. (OK, looking promising ...)
* The Bailout — Don your fanciest suit, a bucket with which to collect money from your friends and exhibit no shame.
The bailout, eh? Greed on Wall Street is definitely the scariest thing I've ever seen ... folks, I think we have ourselves a winner!
Staff writer Shajia Ahmad can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.