Are you getting excited for Halloween? I sure am! There's something so reliably charming about the autumn colors, the flickering candles, and the children on parade. And, of course, the costumes — do you know what you'll be dressing up as yet? It's important to have some kind of game-plan going in, unless you end up with some fourth-rate pseudo-costume (my old roommate once donned a dark green sweatshirt and sunglasses and claimed he was "undercover Luigi"), or worse yet, something mind-numbingly offensive. But, never fear! Maybe some Halloween costume ideas inspired by 2014 news stories will help, letting everyone around you know that you're a well-informed member of the community, and that you have the seasonal spirit, to boot.
To be absolutely clear, there are some big stipulations you should always consider when whipping up a costume that plays on current events, whether political or pop cultural: Is it sexist? Is it ableist? Is it racist? (Yes, incredulous white people, wearing blackface on Halloween is still racist.) If you have to think twice about those questions for more than a few seconds, it might be good to shelve that idea for the time being. After all, your costume can tap into major events from 2014 without offending anyone — besides a little good-natured needling, perhaps. In fact, it's easy and lazy to offend — to have a truly fun, unique idea requires more imagination.
1. Book Tour Hillary Clinton!
This one is pretty straightforward. Want to look like America's favorite book-touring former Secretary of State who could also maybe be the first woman in the White House? If you wanted to be authentic about it, it would probably will cost you quite a bit of cash — Hillary's pantsuit chic likely doesn't come cheap.
But even if you cut some corners on the style, you'll still need to shell out some money for a copy of Hard Choices, preferably the hardcover edition. You're on a book tour, after all! So if anybody asks you about that other thing, the thing everybody's actually interested in, just smile politely and ask them who they want the book signed to.
Great for kids, too!
2. Cocktail Party Ebola-Panic Rand Paul!
By now you've probably seen those gross Ebola biohazard costumes some people have been wearing (or, worse yet, the sexy Ebola nurse). Well, if you're looking for a Halloween costume that links to the undeniably massive Ebola story, and you'd rather not look like a real jerk, here's an idea — go to your Halloween party as Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, and loudly demand to everyone around that you must stay three feet away from them at all times, true to Paul's irresponsible, panic-stoking form. It's a pretty simple costume, too! Just find a standard dark suit, red tie, a scraggly hairpiece, and a fervent passion for free-market economics.
Of course, if you want it quick and easy, you can always just invest in a Rand Paul mask instead.
3. Outer Space Sex Geckos!
Remember these guys? They got a ton of media attention over the summer, by virtue of their uniquely... amorous objectives during their space mission, designed to monitor the effects of zero gravity on reproduction. But sadly, they never made it home — they died in space after their Russian overseers lost contact with their satellite for a couple of days, cementing their place in all of our hearts. So go out and memorialize them properly. It won't take much — there's plenty of gecko costumes available for purchase.
4. Do-It-Yourself Baby Groot!
Did you see Guardians of the Galaxy earlier this year? Hopefully, otherwise this won't make a lick of sense. Admittedly, this one is a little less newsy than the others, but in case you haven't noticed, Baby Groot is a pretty big deal at Bustle HQ. In fact, back in August, Ana Colón detailed how to make a quick and slick Baby Groot costume out of materials you can find laying around almost anywhere. See how good it looks? Check it out!
5. Evolutionist Pope Francis!
A pope of the Catholic Church throwing his weight behind Darwin and the Big Bang? Yes indeed, it's true — it happened just this Tuesday, as a matter of fact. Speaking to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Pope Francis endorsed the science of evolution (although guided by God, naturally), and insisted that God is not a "magician." So why not throw on some papal whites and go for a stroll, Bible in one hand, and The Origin of Species in the other? For bonus points, stick a Jesus fish over one breast, and a Darwin fish over the other.
6. Trained Russian Combat Dolphin!
To be fair, calling them Russian dolphins might stir a little controversy amongst your Ukrainian friends, so be mindful — after Russia's annexation of Crimea in the summer, the Russian military quickly seized one of the most unique resources the city of Sevastopol had: trained combat dolphins.
One of only two programs used to train dolphins for military purposes in the world, along with the United States Navy Marine Mammal Program in San Diego, you'll be able to walk out in your costume confident that you're a member of an elite, scant few. As with the geckos, there's no shortage of dolphin costumes on offer — just order a Russian flag patch and stitch it to the chest, and you're in business.
7. Member of #GamerGate!
Okay, so this one is really simple, and anybody can do it. Just dress up as, you know, whatever — a sinister looking clown, a doctor, a politician, a personal injury lawyer, a ravenous werewolf, whatever — and then when someone asks you about your costume, just utter those immortal seven words: "Actually, it's about ethics in games journalism."