College represents life’s pinnacle of all things over-the-top and sensationalized. During these blessedly drunk years, you could basically get away with anything (and we were vehemently encouraged to test our limits, because #YOLO): wearing see-through leggings to Psych 101, eating nothing but graham crackers, Kraft mac ‘n cheese, and Smirnoff for a month, and oh yeah, putting together outrageous Halloween costumes that make you cringe when you think back on them. You may have always been broke in college, and you may have been scholastically commissioned to produce four essays by Monday morning, but you always, always had time to put together a costume or two for Halloween weekend. Because you did not truly live until you either outdid everyone on Halloween, or at least embarrassed yourself in the process.
I know I shamelessly used Halloween as an occasion to boast ideas I thought were clever (read: they weren’t, but whatever. Live and let die, amiright?). I threw puns and glitter and fake blood around with reckless abandon, filling my digital camera to the brim with enough ~*~Halloween Pics~*~ to overwhelm my Facebook page for days. Sadly, those days are long gone. But I still have the photographic remnants to remind me of some of those (awkward) triumphs. I knew I wasn't the only one with epic photos, so I asked friends and Bustle peeps if they, too, had some college Halloween gems to share (which they did, and some even contributed more recent photos, which were so insane and on point, I had to include them as well). Here are 21 costumes that are so cringeworthy, it's kind of awesome. We're guilty of wearing 'em, and chances are you are too.
1. Dead prom queen
This was me (in the middle) at a party during my sophomore year. The fake blood eventually turned crusty, and it just looked like I had gaping sores all over my body, which was infinitely sexy. Lesson: invest in quality fake blood.
Everyone, give snaps to my friend Ariel Hall, who dressed up as the then-trending Octomom.
3. Cat Burglar
When you really didn't know what to do in college, you dressed up as a cat. Right? Right. Add a few stripes, and suddenly you're a burglar, too. Genius. Also included in this photo: random shirtless guy dressed as a space cowboy, because god bless college.
4. Sailor Moon
This is brilliant Bustle writer Emma Lord dressed up as the endearingly fierce Sailor Moon, aka the best anime character to have ever come to cultural fruition.
5. Morton Bath Salts Girl
To pay homage to one of the scariest times in history (aka when people were snorting bath salts and basically turning into flesh-eating zombies), I dressed up as the hybrid Morton Girl/Bath Salts Zombie.
6. Beatrix Kiddo and Gogo
Bustle writer Kat George and her boyfriend KILLING Halloween (uh, literally?) by dressing up as Beatrix Kiddo and Gogo from Kill Bill: Volume I.
7. Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder
And then sometimes, adorable couples are adorable. Belinda Roddie and her girlfriend Arden Kilzer are Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder. Way to out-do our love, guys.
8. The Hella Movement
So, San Diego collectively went through a We Want To Be NorCal phase, and I wanted to portray that very important cultural obsession. So I went as "Hella." Not my most eloquent moment.
9. Sammi from Jersey Shore
Bustle's fashion and beauty editor Kara McGrath (right) totally embodies Sammi's righteous, Jersey-licious swagger.
10. The Wizard of Oz
Kara and her college crew also decided to re-appropriate The Wizard of Oz and totally feminize Dorothy's bro-crew. Thus making it way more awesome.
11. Sexy Quail Man
Samantha Escobar, beauty editor at The Gloss and my former roommate in college, was the sexy side to Quail Man. Or shall we reappropriate it to Quail Lady? Hell yes. Quail Lady it most certainly is.
Because sometimes the easiest and best way to do Halloween is to dress up like a giant, human bunny. Thanks, Sarah Wright!
13. Amy Winehouse
Bustle writer Almie Rose dressed up as Amy Winehouse. Realistic Amy Winehouse tattoos and beehive hair included because obviously.
14. Lindsay Weir
Almie was also Lindsay Weir one year, in glorious efforts to pay pertinent tribute to Freaks and Geeks.
15. Contestant from Legends of the Hidden Temple
Bustle social media editor Hayley Saltzman went as a ruthless and totally gung-ho contestant from Legends of the Hidden Temple. This makes us feel all the nostalgic Nickelodean childhood feels. Also, grownup-size babies.
16. The Police
Because you can only get away with dressing up like a cop in college. Another collegiate gem from Hayley.
17. Bonnie and Clyde
Me and my fiancee as a ruthless, bank-robbing couple. (The cigarettes are totally ornamental. Don't smoke. It's bad for you.)
Bustle lifestyle editor Kathryn Kattalia as a nonchalant, casual cowgirl sporting a perfectly mint sweater like any REAL cowgirl would. Also a pirate, because it's college. Duh.
19. A Kite
I bet you never thought of dressing up as a kite. Way to win all the brilliant minimalism awards, lady.
My friend Amy was also Rafiki from The Lion King. Girl makes one cute baboon.
21. A Pizza Slice
And I will leave you with my friend Jeffrey Lesan, who had the most pivotal costume of all: a pizza. Take that Internet. Take that and cherish it forever.
Images: Gina Vaynshteyn, Ariel Hall, Emma Lord, Belinda Roddie, Kat George, Kara McGrath, Hayley Saltzman, Kathryn Kattalia/Facebook; Almie Rose, Jeffrey Lesan/Instagram; Amy Bauerschlag; Samantha Escobar; Sarah Wright