The great Halloween costume quandary

// Tacoma Weekly’s Ernest Jasmin offers some helpful hints

  • Tacoma Goodwill's Jeff Ressler, Sheri Ables, Desiree Mayer and Christine Murphy put together Duck Dynasty looks for Halloween using items found at the 38th Street store. Key accessories: Beef jerky and sweet tea. (Photo By Ernest Jasmin)

  • Sally Cardone as Miley Cyrus.

We're in the home stretch to Halloween; and – assuming you're not just cutting holes in a sheet or dressing up as a sexy (fill in the blank) – you may still be struggling to come up with a killer costume idea.

One of the keys is being topical without being completely obvious. A costume that cleverly pokes fun at some element of pop culture in 2013 can make you the life of the party, or even pay your bar tab if you win a contest or two. But have the same idea as a hundred other people and, at best, you'll just blend into the crowd. At worst, you'll be annoying. Remember all those Psys doing the “Gangnam Style” horse dance last year? All the Honey Boo Boos and Banes doing bad impressions of Tom Hardy talking through a C-Pap? Don't be those guys.

As a public service, here are a few costumes that are sure to be played out this year, along with edgier variations that will help you stand out.

Don't go as Miley Cyrus from that annoying MTV VMA performance. We know, you bought the foam finger, and think it'll be hilarious (especially if you are a dude). But running around half naked means you'll not only freeze your “twerker” off, you won't have anywhere to keep the mace you'll need as you attract the attention of every drunk creepster in your vicinity. Plus, sticking your tongue out like a squashed gecko is not a good look.

Instead be one of those weird, plushy teddy bears she had backing her up. Sulk or burst into tears every time you run into a Miley, a la Bobby Moynihan's “we shouldn't be doing this!” outburst on “Saturday Night Live.” The down side: People may just think you're a “furry.” And while we're on the VMAs …

Don't go as Robin Thicke. Seriously, stop encouraging these people. Besides, wearing his striped VMA suit will just make it look like you were going for Beetlejuice and were too lazy to finish the makeup.

Instead be the ghost of Marvin Gaye, the guy Thicke says he absolutely did not rip off for his smash hit, “Blurred Lines” (wink, wink). Or go as the Gaye estate lawyer and serve Thicke clones with papers whenever you run into them. Down side: No one under 30 will get the joke.

Don't be Walter White or Jesse Pinkman. Sure, it'll be tempting to take on our favorite anti-hero from “Breaking Bad.” Just throw on a black hat and shades and start slinging baggies of crushed, blue lollipops, like Heisenberg. But you'll be a dime a dozen (unless, of course, you're bold enough to attempt Walt from episode one and party in your tightie- whities. Just throwing that idea out there).

Instead go as Gus Fring or Hector “Tio” Salamanca, two of the scariest dudes on the show before the Nazis showed up and we realized just how bad Walt was breakin'. A dapper suit, specs and enough zombie make up for half your face should do it for ol' Gus. Tio is trickier, unless you have surgical tubing, a service bell and a wheelchair handy. Meditate on the Oklahoma City Thunder and Super Bowl XL as you get your twitchy scowl.

Don't be Katniss Everdeen from “Hunger Games.” We agree, Jennifer Lawrence is pretty badass. But, with “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” about to set the box office on fire, expect a few fan girls to show up at the party with their long bows.

Instead be Effie Trinket. Seriously, how was the District 12 escort's freaky, future chic not a hit last Halloween? Possible down side: People may think you're Lady Gaga, which is soooo 2010.

Don't be the guy in last year's Barack Obama mask. Not only was this a cliché last year, with the presidential election going on you're telling everyone you were too lazy to drive to the Halloween store for a second time.

Instead be Ted Cruz. This one's easy. All it takes is a dark suit, a copy of “Horton Hears a Who” and the ability to spout incoherent Tea Party nonsense while keeping a straight face. Down side: You may get throat punched by a federal employee if too convincing.

Based on the sale of 1,500 costumes, from Oct. 1-13, Goodwill Tacoma has determined these to be the most popular costumes among children and adults:


  1. Animals (10.5 percent)

  2. Princess (6.7 percent)

  3. Fairy (traditional) (6 percent)

  4. Angel (5.4 percent)

  5. Ninja (5.2 percent)

  6. Vampire (4.3 percent)

  7. Tinkerbell fairy (3.8 percent)

  8. Witch (scary) (3.3 percent)

  9. Witch (hip) (3.1 percent)

  10. Police officer (2.9 percent)


  1. Fairy (traditional) (4.8 percent)

  2. Witch (sexy) (4.7 percent)

  3. Vamp (4.2 percent)

  4. Hick (3.8 percent)

  5. Witch (scary) (3.7 percent)

  6. Zombie (3.5 percent)

  7. Cheerleader (3.4 percent)

  8. Devil (sexy) (3.4 percent)

  9. Vampire (3.1 percent)

  10. Army brat, flapper, go-go girl, sexy nurse, soldier (tie, 2.3 percent)

Here are five places to show of your awesome costume idea:

Reaper Ride V (Oct. 26, Broken Spoke, 1014 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma): Bring your bike, a valid I.D. and beer money to take part in Tacoma Mob Riders' monthly pedal-powered pub crawl, which is twice as fun with everyone dressed like zombies, sexy vampires and stuff. It kicks off at 7 p.m. before taking off for destinations unknown. Look up Tacoma Mob Riders on Facebook for further details.

Country Halloween pre-funk (Oct. 26, Steel Creek, 1114 Broadway, Tacoma): Seattle station KKWF-FM (100.7, The Wolf) will be on hand to give away $500 in prize money to the best individual and best couple costumes. There is no cover charge;

High-decibel Halloween (Oct. 31, Acme Tavern, 1310 Tacoma Ave., S., Tacoma): Cody Foster Army (CFA), Joe Buck Yourself and Viva Le Vox will rock the Acme, with music starting at 8 p.m., earplugs optional but recommended. Cover is $5; Acme Tavern on Facebook for updates.

Halloween Beasties (Oct. 31, Jazzbones, 3803 Sixth Ave., Tacoma): Beastie Boys tribute band Grand Royal will headline with Switch and Wiggles providing support. Cover is $5 in costume, $7 without, and Jazzbones is giving away $500 in prizes;

KZOK's Night of the Singing Dead (8 p.m., Oct. 31, Emerald Queen Casino, 2024 E. 29th St., Tacoma): The Beatniks and Magic Bus will provide the tunes. KZOK-FM (102.5) morning host Danny Bonaduce will be rocking his Thor outfit; and you could win $1,000 for your killer costume idea. The fun starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $25;


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