If you’re like me and haven’t glanced at a calendar in a while, you may be stunned to discover that today Halloween.
It’s okay. Just take a moment to let that sink in.
For many of us, Halloween is that strange annual event on which it is not only normal to dress in costumes, it’s expected. If you can’t attend conventions, Halloween is a great chance to let your cosplay skills shine and to impress all your non-geeky friends. If you’re a regular con-goer, however, this isn’t really the time to pull out the big guns.
It’s also a great time to tool around the internets looking for costume tips, inspiration, and other resources for your next con, since this is the one time of year that the average person gives a flying fuck about costumes. Just replace the word “Halloween” with “con” and you’ve got a cosplay guide.
The Daily Candy has a flipbook of super easy and fairly clever DIY costumes, an inordinate number of which involve flannel.
Just as lazy and exponentially more geeky are io9's “20 Zero Effort High Concept Costumes Guaranteed to Alienate your friends”. Personally, I’d love to see someone dressed as the monolith from 2001.
For those who are both lazy and demure, Jezebel has “Eight Alternatives to the ‘Sexy’ Halloween Costume”, as well as “The Last Minute Half-Assed Guide to Halloween Costumes”.
Unfortunately, Halloween is also the time when evil, cheap, tacky costumes come scuttling out of the dark, wretched sweat houses in which they were created to lurk on supermarket shelves, waiting to spring out upon unsuspecting shoppers. We must know this evil, fellow cosplayers, that we may wage war against it.
Another horror to watch out for is tacky pet costumes. As with human costumes, there are fine lines between adorable, clever, and just plain dumb. Exhibit A: The Tompkins Square Dog Parade. Occupy Wall St. Dog, FTW.
Exhibit B: Pure awesome.
Sometimes, the best costumes are born out of fusing things that have absolutely nothing to do with each other, as with this example from Chris Hardwick.
For further costume inspiration (or just an excuse to waste half an hour), The Mary Sue has links to galleries from NYCC, with some beyond cool costumes, and Adult Swim has video from the NYCC Venture Bros. costume contest, which is always entertaining.
If you’re still trying to decide what cons to hit next year, LA Weekly has a point-by-point comparision between San Diego Comic-Con and Dragon*Con, which hits some points that we didn’t address and also declares D*C the best place for cosplay.
Finally, whether you’re scrambling to prepare for Halloween or planning your wardrobe for the con, it’s important to remember that some costumes are just not okay. Now, I’m not talking about the follies of spandex and skimpy outfits; feel free to display as much of your physique as your personal confidence and region-specific weather will allow. I’m talking about costumes that, consciously or not, reveal your “inner racism”. Remember, fellow cosplayers: don’t be a dick.