Halloween costume parties are my favorite parties of the year, because I am a pragmatist. The entire point of a party is to talk to new people, always an awkward endeavor. But on Halloween, the task becomes much easier; everyone is wearing a conversation piece. Of course, if you are already in a relationship, you don't have to bother yourself with such elaborate schemes. You can go as a "crappy t-shirt owner" and you've still got someone to go home with when the evening is over. Or just ditch the party altogether and rent a horror flick and eat pumpkin pie. Here's a Halloween-themed activity, why don't you just go to Hell?

For the rest of us, I present ten steps to the perfect Halloween costume:

  1. High concept but not immediately evident: If you are a robot, and you look like a robot, there's really not much to talk about. "Robot, eh?" "Yup. I'm a robot. Meep-Boink." "Bye." The ideal costume creates a sense of mystery. The more convoluted the costume, the longer the conversation. The desire to know what you are supposed to be should be strong enough to overcome the great void that separates all people. Why not try some eyeliner?
  2. Be extremely good looking: Last year, I had the perfect costume: a mirror. People asked me what I was, and I'd just tell them what they were. Get it? It was witty, fun, easy to make (Ingredients: one mirror) and led straight into great conversation. Plus it attracted all the vain and self-absorbed people, who are, by their very nature, more cool. But the costume revealed its limitations five minutes later, when my brand new friends were stolen away by two gorgeous German men wearing Hefty Synch Sacks. "It is, how you say... postmodern." That was the night I learned that in order to attract people at Halloween parties, you should be extremely good looking.
  3. Don't wear a mask: Wear some antenna or a funny hat. Put on some makeup if you must. But never wear a costume that includes a mask. There's a saying "the face is the window to the soul." It's also the part of your body you use for such party-related essentials as drinking, talking and vomiting. Don't cover it up. (If you arenít extremely good looking then go ahead, wear a mask.)
  4. No Cowboys: All the other lame dudes at the party will be dressed as cowboys, just like they did every year since they were eight. Even the most slaved-over, handmade, authentic down-home cowboy costume is lame. Don't do it.
  5. Prostitutes are okay: The prostitute costume is just as hackneyed and lame as the cowboy costume. Nevertheless, it's somehow fine by me, ladies.
  6. Your costume should work with you, not against you: You may have labored for hours to create the perfect facsimile of the Kool Aid Man and, when partygoers are chanting, "hey Kool Aid" ad naseaum you'll think you're the life of the party. For a time. But fast forward three hours and you're bumping into walls, completely incapable of drinking or urinating and sweating like a pig in a prison of your own design. Remember, "kool" as he may be, the Kool Aid Man never gets laid.*
  7. No Ghosts: Every year, millions of Americans think they have an easy solution to the costume party dilemma; they throw a white sheet over their head, cut out some eyeholes and... Bingo, they're a ghost. DON'T DO IT. People go to parties to have fun, not to be terrified out of their goddamn minds. Ghosts are some serious shit. They're fucking scary and you could seriously give someone a heart attack. It just isnít worth the risk.
  8. Be cool: Just because you dressed like a pirate doesn't mean you have to say things like "Get me an ale, me matey, or ye be walkin' the plank." If you do, no one will like you. Don't act like your costume. Just be cool.
  9. No backwards baseball caps: This is sound advice 365 days a year.

* This is doubly true of Mayor McCheese

There you go. Now you will have the perfect Halloween.

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