Phony spider webs have long been a Halloween staple -- the cheapest, easiest way to make your home appear more "in season." As you can tell from the above photo, I've never quite mastered the art. I know it's possible to make these webs look like the real deal, but for whatever reason, my magic touch only lends them a guise of "loose cotton all over the wall." Or wait, are these things made from polyester? I threw away the package before learning the truth, but my salvation is knowing that nobody reading gives a crap about what the webs are made of.

I'm going to start this over.

Phony spider webs have long been a Halloween staple, arriving in the States during the 1830s as "extra pillow stuffing packets," imported from Britain. With our ancestry tormented by pillows with poorly defined seams, the packets provided extra stuffing for the poor souls who just couldn't get rest with those terribly made pillows. Eventually, of course, companies began crafting pillows of a better quality, eliminating the need for Britain's stuffing packets. Our superiors feared repercussions if a long standing trade agreement was to be ended, and decided to just keep on going with it, never telling Britain that our pillows were perfectly fine without them. For years, these packets were simply handed out and ultimately thrown away, because in a country filled with so many perfect pillows, who needed extra stuffing? Finally, a young inventor named "Dreanaviorashun Dreanaviorashun" compensated for his stupid matching first and last names with a solution to the problem: come Halloween, everyone would stretch out the pillow stuffing, affix it to trees and walls, and celebrate the holiday with the proper motif. Everything I've just said is bullshit, but I still like it better than the original paragraph.

So yeah, the point is, phony spider webs are terrific and nobody should be without a pack come this October. Whether you use 'em to dress up the patio or spots other than the patio, these webs are one of the oldest and truest ways to make Halloween actually feel like Halloween. Plus, they're a great costume for anyone in a fix...

Please, like you've never done this before.

Two seconds in, and I'm already showing signs of looking like someone else. I could either be an old president or an English judge. Neither costume was what I was really aiming for, so my fast descent into the pitiful world of idiots covered in fake webs raced on. As a side note, I found the webs at least partly skin-irritant. Still, if you're willing to deal with a few unsightly blotches, this junk is four hundreds times easier to remove than any variety of Halloween "face paint" or another otherwise gloppy get-up.

In truth, I only wanted to look like a corpse left alone for so long that spiders had taken up residency. Yeah, it's been done before, but the only costumes that haven't are the totally undesirable ones -- I dunno, outfits based on Tim Robbins' character from "Antitrust," things like that. Besides, sometimes it's nice to wear a costume outside that others will assuredly share. Like, if I'm walking down the street in my web/corpse outfit, and I run into someone else in their web/corpse outfit, the two of us have this incredible ice breaker. We're two peas in a pod, slapping five, each insisting that the other was "da man."

Phony spider web kits differ, and mine was one of the more involved. It came prepackaged with an assortment of rubber spiders, some of which much too large and heavy to actually hang from the webs. To compensate, those spiders had the ability to glow under blacklight. Wish I had a blacklight, Great Pumpkin. The other, smaller spiders were just like the infamous spider-rings we've all worn and chewed on, only replacing the finger loop with a little clip to hang from the webs. With that, here's the finished product. Me. A spider and web infested corpse.

I haven't felt this freaky since that weird dream I had about being on the set with Star Jones for her Payless Shoes commercials. When I woke up, my pillow was black.

That's right, folks. Two bucks will grant you access to any costume-mandatory parties you've been invited to. The webs are criminally hard to remove -- you'll get off a huge lump of it with no problems at all, but then there's these rebellious strands that stay on your face for weeks, mocking you at every turn. I've learned to accept this downside as a minor inconvenience outweighed by such an inexpensive, shitty-but-passable costume. You may disagree, but hey, you can always hang the stuff up on the patio instead, like you're supposed to. It's money well spent from all angles. Even 180 angles, and those are always a tough sell.