We love Halloween, but we also realize that some readers lack the free time or emotional investment to build a lifesize Power Loader from Aliens. Here are 20 costumes that you can whip up by Halloween weekend.
NOTE 1: Some of these costumes are more conceptual than material and thereby require a bit of dramatic flair. Also, know that a few of these costumes will annoy the hell out of everyone in a 3-foot radius. You've been warned, so don't blame us if your loved ones shun you until Halloween 2011.
NOTE 2: Here's that Power Loader costume if you're feeling intrepid.
1.) Rowdy Roddy Piper from They Live
This one's easy. Get a flannel shirt, a pocket full of bubble gum, a cheap pair of wayfarers. It's important that you insult the appearance of everyone around you and lose your shit around billboards. The truly devoted will carry around a second pair of sunglasses to foist upon friends.
2.) Dr. Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap
In Quantum Leap, Dr. Beckett "leaps" into the bodies of people throughout history — just dress in your everyday duds and pretend he's taken over your body! This costume requires zero preparation, but you must act confused and yell at Al every 10 minutes. You'll know you're doing it right if your friends mistake your costume for a bad trip.
3.) Apollo from Star Trek
If your friends are already going as the Enterprise crew, toss on a toga and go as the lovelorn Greek god from "Who Mourns for Adonais?" Don't do this if you've already agreed to go as Kirk.
4.) Your own evil twin
Dress normally and spirit gum a goatee to your face. If you already have a goatee, shave it off.
5.) Bizarro You
Put on pancake makeup, draw some creases on your face, and speak Bizarro the entire evening. Bonus points if you wish revelers a "Sad Arbor Day!"
6.) Dr. Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park
Wear all black, don horn-rims, and prattle on about chaos theory ad nauseam. Bonus points for artfully exposed chest hair.
7.) The Bombastic Bag-Man
Spider-Man was once famously stuck at the Baxter Building without a costume, so Johnny Storm supplied Spidey with one of the Four's speed suits, stuck a brown bag on his head, and taped a "Kick Me" sign to his back. All you need are blue pajamas, a grocery bag, a paper plate Fantastic Four logo, and a high threshold for pain.
8.) A recycled Cyberman or Cyberwoman
Low-budget robots are always fun and cheap (think silver spray paint, garbage cans and tin foil), and Instructables user Jalie has some photos of a homemade Cyberman costume.
9.) The Fourth Doctor
Unleash your inner Tom Baker by raiding your neighborhood Goodwill. You may not find a sweet scarf, but chances are there'll be a coat, wide-brimmed hat, and stylish cravat lying around. Layer, Time Lord, layer!
10.) Cardboard Dalek
Instructables user Jambot has some visual aids that will teach you to exterminate with found materials.
11.) Jubilee from the X-Men
A rain slicker, jorts, dishwashing gloves, cheapo sunglasses, and a couple Roman candles should suffice. You can even be topical and throw in a pair of vampire fangs (yes, Jubilee is a vampire in the comics these days).
12.) Spider Jerusalem
Shave your head, throw on a black suit jacket and dress pants, and tattoo your body with a Sharpie. If you don't have time to make Spider's live-shades, just throw on a pair of reflective sunglasses — pretend his Maker wasn't on drugs. Remember to smoke, drink, and yell.
[Photo via Boing Boing]
13.) Human Centipede
All you need is two friends, some white rags, and a willingness to be a social pariah. Flickr user ArloRamz, whose H.C. costume won $1000, has some aspirational (asspirational?) photos.
14.) The Rocketeer
On Instructables, Mod Mischief has a guide explaining how to make a handsome jetpack out of recyclables.
15.) Snake Plissken from Escape From New York
Eyepatch, black tank top, camouflage pants, draw a cobra on your stomach and arm with a Sharpie, and get a crappy wristwatch to be your death timer. Long hair helps, and everyone loves a Snakina Plissken.
16.) Arthur Frayn from Zardoz
In Zardoz, Arthur Frayn (a.k.a. the titular god) draws a goatee on his face and dresses like the Flying Nun. A blue bathrobe, blue head wrap, and Sharpie should do you fine. Also, memorize this hilarious speech.
17.) The Yip Yips
Everybody loves/was scarred by these chatty extraterrestrial Muppets. Here's Sliny's guide from Instructables, but you can pull this off with blankets and tennis balls.
18.) Duct tape Batman
It may take a couple hours and whole lot of duct tape, but you can punch out this homemade Batman helmet by Friday if you've got the gumption. Here's Seamster's guide.
19.) The Log Lady from Twin Peaks
Glasses, overcoat, piece of wood, cryptic mutterings, voila!
20.) The "Sweded" excuse
If you make a costume and it's an unsalvageable train wreck, just tell everyone it's a Sweded costume à la Be Kind Rewind. Ditto goes for any costume you spent five minutes on. Who cares if your Terminator outfit is a smudge of silver greasepaint and a high school JV water polo jacket? It's Sweded!