A red and white striped shirt with a matching hat, a pair of blue pants, brown shoes, black-framed glasses and a walking stick.
At 5 years old, my mom sent me out on Halloween night dressed as described above. Yes, it was a pre-packaged costume from the store, yet I was the only kid in the neighborhood with a creatively unique costume.
Of course, I was Waldo, from the popular Where’s Waldo? book series.
But being unique was just luck. Anyone can go to the seasonal Halloween Adventure store and pick out a Grim Reaper robe or a naughty nurse getup. You’re in college now. Let’s get imaginative.
Get your inspiration from the year that has been 2007. Celebrities and the like have provided many opportunities for you to express your personality through theirs, and it’s time to embrace them with open arms.
However, there are things to avoid. The obvious place to start is paparazzi queen Britney Spears. The revealing catholic school girl has been done, so do a different take. Besides, it’ll be around 60 degrees Halloween night, and I don’t want you to catch cold.
This year’s Britney is actually much simpler. Put on 3-inch boots that make you walk awkwardly. An oversized T-shirt and a shorter-than-short skirt complete the dress. Underwear is optional, of course. Now, either shave your head or find a bleach-blonde wig that doesn’t quite look right. Finish the guise by carrying a baby doll by its leg, and nothing more.
Sticking with the troubled young Hollywood theme, how about Paris Hilton in a bright orange jumpsuit? Just reuse your wig from Britney. Finish by smearing eye makeup down your face, and put handcuffs around one wrist. Adding a pet Chihuahua truly conveys the Paris persona.
For a pop culture spin, go as Miss Teen USA South Carolina. Wear the typical beauty queen gown, but put the phrase “U.S. American” on the sash. Make sure you carry a clearly labeled map of “the Iraq” with you at all times.
Presidents are overdone, even George W. Bush. The only man able to achieve him is comedian and impressionist Frank Caliendo. If you want to challenge yourself this Halloween, dress up as Caliendo impersonating either Robert De Niro or John Madden.
Again, don’t do Bush. If you don’t do it well, people will think you were lazy.
Be careful when you enter the television world. If you want to pull off a character, it needs to be someone easily recognizable.
Take me, for example. I bought glasses from the dollar store, got a short-sleeved button-down shirt, and parted my hair down the middle. Add a few pens, a stapler and some Jell-O, and I’m Dwight Schrute from The Office.
Or, it could be as simple as getting salmon-colored scrubs, a white coat, hip eyeglasses and a red wing. You’re Dr. Addison Montgomery from Private Practice. A stethoscope and a picture of McDreamy ripped in half complete the look.
You should be starting to realize that props are a crucial part of the overall costume.
Let’s bring this back to Temple. We have a few celebrities of our own who could earn you high points in creativity. But be prepared – you’ll need more patience for these getups than you would waiting for the Anderson Hall elevators.
For the guys, you’ll need to neatly dishevel your hair with a slight part to the left. You have two options with clothing – either a collared shirt with a tie, slacks and belt, or mesh shorts with a non-matching T-shirt. Add a thick brown mustache and a basketball under your arm, and you’re men’s basketball coach Fran Dunphy.
And for the girls, you need a solid-colored pantsuit. The heavier the material, the better – perhaps wool or polyester. A local thrift store could help. Add a bold-colored scarf, and find a wig a la Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. You’ve just transformed yourself into Temple President Ann Weaver Hart.
Be unique this Halloween, and don’t be afraid to cross the line. Go as Ellen DeGeneres with a dog by her side. Try out the infamous “ponyhawk” made famous by American Idol’s Sanjaya.
Just don’t blow it so no one recognizes your costume. If this happens, claim you are Lindsay Lohan in her mugshot, regardless of how you look. Since there are many, you’re bound to resemble at least one.
Chris Stover can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.