Halloween is coming, and that means many, many costuming mistakes will be made by normally sane adults. To help stop this scourge, each Thursday we will be offering tips and analysis of what to avoid, or possibly what to do. Check out past entries here and here.
If VH1 has taught us nothing else, it's shown that it's never too soon to be nostalgic. This Halloween, tap into the cultural era academics refer to as "the `90s" and impress friends with your knowledge of history. Rekindle their fond memories of last decade with your meticulously assembled, detail-rich costume. Or just piss people off with a tasteless O.J. get-up. Either way works.
Proudly honor the memory of JonBenet Ramsey, the tiny victim of the decade's most sensational unsolved murder, by donning a tiara and fancy sash. The slaying of the six-year-old beauty queen is still largely a mystery to investigators and her parents, with the latter even being initially linked to the slaying of their own daughter. The case helped spawn countless books and television shows, and even led to a screaming shrew like Nancy Grace having a valid career. But why plaster on copious amounts of draggish make-up and dodgy doll clothes when you can go as...ZomBenet Ramsey! With an insatiable taste for Lisa Frank stickers, beauty-pageant trophies, brains of the living and ice cream, this little undead cutie is sure to help you win any Halloween costume contest that comes your way. Hell, get a buddy to dress up as John Mark Karr, the batshit loonball who admitted to killing the child in 2006 only to have his confession dismissed as a hoax.
Heisman Trophy-winner, NFL record-setter, Hertz rental-pitcher -- it seemed like Orenthal James Simpson could do it all. But just when we thought we experienced the totality of his gifts, he reached deep into his bag of tricks and showed us a brand new side: Psychotic double-murderer. He had only meant to kill his ex-wife that night, but when he got to her Brentwood condo, what do you know -- waiter Ron Goldman was there! Voila -- a two-in-one! He was on such a roll that, had the entire defensive line of the 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers been outside Nicole's door that night, they would've met the same grizzly fate. To pull this one off, we expect you tote around a (fake, we guess) decapitated human head in one hand and wield a butcher knife in the other. And don't forget the Isotoners!
Back in the day, it used to take five people to do their jobs of a Britney or Miley. In late 1996 the world got all the more glitterier and mildly pornographic when the Spice Girls made their debut in England. Arriving at the end of the age of Brit-pop, the girls were a carefree and effervescent group of ready-made stars. (f you don't now have their single "Wannabe" rolling through your brain, you are a lifeless android, because that shit was hype.) There was Scary Spice, the feisty loud one, and Baby Spice, the innocent blonde doe-eyed one who loved baby-doll dresses. Sporty and Posh Spice were the yin and yang of the group, one jockish and the other vampy. That leaves Ginger Spice, the fiery, busty redhead who we had a torrid imaginary love affair with from 1997 to 1999. Thanks to her our ideas of femininity were forever tainted, stunting our emotional growth and leaving a trail of ruined socks. On second thought, no one dress up as Ginger Spice. You can put on a track suit and say "Oi!" all night, or impersonate David Beckham's wife, but dear God, please don't make us bear more heartache by donning a skintight Union Jack mini-skirt with dangerous looking hooker boots. Ok, you can if you want.
In 1994, followers of grunge rock lost their totem of isolation and pain when Nirvana lead singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain retired to the garage apartment and proceeded to become the world's most lamented slacker icon. His suicide that April didn't necessarily shock millions as much as it confirmed suspicions that he was in fact a tortured artist not long for this cruel world.
The question of how to dress as Cobain becomes one of personal taste. Do you fashion some kind of grisly and bloody head wrap to simulate the fatal self-inflicted wound, or do you simply wear his iconic denim and flannel get-up with a dirty blonde wig? Personally we think the best route would be to cut your losses and dress as a mixture of his widow Courtney Love and Cobain himself. No one would know the difference.
We haven't been throwing much out there for black Halloween revelers. Sure, it's fine for a black person to dress up as a white person, whereas the opposite makes us feel kind of uncomfortable. (If you don't understand why that is, you probably use terms like "reverse racism" without realized how fucking dumb that sounds.) But fellas, if you don't feel like going all pasty this year, consider gearing up as the man who took us on a fantastic voyage to a gangsta's paradise. Coolio's wild-ass hair and `90s hip-hop style won't be hard to put together for you middle-of-the-road types. But to go all out when making your entrance, you're going to need a trunk full of hot girls, some dudes, one dog, a white family and a couple mariachis. You're on your own there.
Heaven's Gate Cult Member
Every decade needs a good cult. The `60s had the Children of God, the `70s scored big time with Jonestown, the `80s saw...well, the Cult formed in 1983. The 1990s were especially fruitful, what with the Branch Davidians bringing cult warfare back to the headlines. But the smaller Heaven's Gate, whose members left their earthly vessels for the Mothership in 1997 at the behest of Ron Paul look-alike and erstwhile University of St. Thomas music instructor Marshall Applewhite, stuck out for an especially memorable reason: their wardrobe. Their choice of black shirts and sweatpants and brand new black-and-white Nikes came to define cult couture. So it's an easy, relatively cheap costume. And bonus points if you want to take the costume to its most authentic extreme by getting castrated, eating phenobarbital-laced pudding, and tying a plastic bag over your head. At your funeral, your friends will eulogize what was one of the best Halloween costumes they'd ever seen.
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We've already demonstrated the genius of a clever play on a famous name. If you're hesitant to dress as a little girl, though, consider reminding everyone how dope the `90s were by having some fun with terrorism. Timothy McGay hates the government, but he's down with exploding orange and black glitter "bombs." He thinks the federal fart-knockers who gank his money and restrict his gun rights are buggin', but he loves the way extra-long false eyelashes add a little je ne sais quoi to any costume. Tyranny is never in vogue -- as if! -- but black nail polish against prison-orange always looks tight.
The Madman of Milwaukee was like a living Halloween fright-fest. Behind his dorky, bespectacled, soft-spoken demeanor was a man who liked to spend his free time away from his job at the Ambrosia Chocolate Company by hitting the gay bars, bringing dudes back to his sweet bachelor pad, knocking them out, drilling holes in their skulls and pouring acid inside in order to create a harem of zombie slaves. Even by serial-killer standards, that's some spooky shit. You have a few choices here -- the lean, striped-oxford-shirt-wearing J.D. of his murder trial, or the chubby, orange-jumpsuited Thorazine case who eventually met his demise by a broomstick-wielding fellow prisoner. Or better yet, you and a friend can go as both!