Halloween is just two weeks away, so it’s time to start piecing together a costume if you haven’t already. While topical costumes can be great, every year sees a few ideas that become so popular that they’re cliché. Remember how just about every girl went as Sarah Palin in 2008? And do you remember how incredibly lame that was? If you want to make sure you’re not arriving at a party wearing the same costume as everyone else, here’s some ideas to avoid:


With the international popularity of “Gangnam Style,” one of the most viewed clips in the history of YouTube, it’s a good bet that more than a fair few college students will be donning a powder-blue tux and ray bans this year after memorizing the Korean pop star’s iconic dance. So unless you’ve absolutely mastered the moves, it’s probably best to move on to another idea.

McKayla Maroney

After winning a silver medal in this Summer’s olympics, the 16 year-old gymnast achieved meme status when a picture of her sporting a rather unimpressed-looking smirk went viral. As a result, this Halloween will probably have quite a few unimaginative women dressing in a leotard, while taking two or three hundred facebook photos mimicking Maroney’s infamous facial expression to drive the point home. Trust me, you can do better than that.

Sesame Street Characters

Following Mitt Romney’s attack on PBS and Sesame Street in the first presidential debate, we can expect quite a few people wearing Big Bird outfits while carrying vaguely political pan-handling signs. In fact, I’m expecting this to be the most popular costume of the year, with varying degrees of success in pulling it off. While a group of Sesame Street characters made to look homeless could be potentially great, anything less than a complete reconstruction or rental of a Big Bird costume is going to fall flat; i.e. an all yellow outfit and a hat made to look like a duck-bill isn’t gonna cut it.


Much like the deluge of Heath Ledger-style Joker costumes seen in 2008 as a response to The Dark Knight, just about every teenaged boy in the country has at this point contemplated cobbling together a rough approximation of the The Dark Knight Rises villain’s mask. It should go without saying that you will likely fail in this effort. Plus, the mask will only get in the way of drinking, anyways.

Any Avenger

While Joss Whedon’s The Avengers boasts more potential costume ideas than any other movie this year, bear in mind that every single one of the Avengers has had their own movie in the last few years, meaning that you’re essentially tapping a well that’s been dry since 2011, at the latest. As much as it pains me to say, you’d come off as slightly more creative going as Bane than Nick Fury.

Doctor Who

Granted, I love the British sci-fi series quite a bit, but what nerd at this point hasn’t seen someone dressed up as David Tennant’s or Matt Smith’s iterations of the last Time Lord at this point? Same goes for dressing up as the TARDIS as part of a group costume. A Dalek costume, however, would be pretty damn impressive.

Lady Gaga or Nicki Minaj

Yes, they’re getting lumped together as two sides of the same bad costume coin. Why? Because their shtick, and the costume idea behind it, is essentially the same: weird outfit + blonde/pink wig. Not only are both costumes so unoriginal that you’re likely to spot at least one of each at any given Halloween party over the last few years, but the amount of time and effort required to make either would be astronomically high to avoid it looking terrible. Definitely not worth it.

Clint Eastwood and the Obama Chair

To be honest, I kinda like this idea. But for the same reason as the Big Bird outfit, this attempt at timely satire is likely going to be pretty ubiquitous in a Halloween a week before a presidential election. That aside, this costume requires you carry around a chair at all times in order to avoid being just a crazy guy in a suit.