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Solve Your Halloween Costume Woes At... The 99 Cent Store!
Matt - 10/02/00

In honor of our forthcoming Halloween Month, which is pretty much like every other month, only it gives us an excuse to turn everything orange...I've done some research on the most important aspect of the holiday: your costume.

Halloween costumes have long been a subject of much stress. There's just so many things you need to figure out before making that all-important final decision. Is your costume dated? Will someone else likely have it? Will it fit? These are all important things to consider, but the fact is, sadly, unless you're prepared to spend a good chunk of cash for the costume of your dreams, chances are you're not going to end up looking exactly like Austin Powers or Pikachu. It's another one of those mysteries of the universe -- we'll never figure out how costume companies get away with charging us three times more for costumes than regular clothes while costumes are generally made from material 50 times cheaper and with about 364 times less replay value.

My advice? Skip the expensive costumes. Let's face it, you're going to get all dressed up and fantasize about all your friends fawning over you when you make your debut in the new garb. Does that ever really happen? Nah, everybody's going to be too preoccupied making sure their scars look right and making sure they're drunk. Nobody really cares what you're wearing. Unless you're stuck in one of those relationships where your partner demands corresponding outfits. PS - if that happens to you this year, that's a good sign that you need to break up. Immediately.

Besides, for the money you spend on a costume, you could by something far more useful. Think of how many fireballs a hundred bucks equates to. A lifetime supply! So tell me - what would you rather have? A slightly boosted sense of esteem in a room full of people wearing monkey suits, or the ability to claim that you'll never run out of atomic fireballs? The choice here is pretty obvious.

But don't fret - there is a solution. There's a way for you to sneak through the entrance specifications of your local Halloween party. You can have a costume without spending a ton of money on it. If you're wondering where the answer to this problem lies, just ask yourself where the answer to all of life's problems lie. Simple enough, huh? Of course, I'm talking about the 99 cent store.

I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier. 99 cent stores have forever been the key to solving every problem life can throw at you. Let's say, for example, somebody really need a set of non-working packaged double-A batteries. 99 cent store! Curious to see what a Pepsi can looked like in 1986? 99 cent store! Not enough Virgin Mary nightlights illuminating your hallways at night? You get the point.

The idea here is simple. You want in all the socialite Halloween parties. But you don't want to spend a hundred bucks or more to do it. I mean, come on, it might be the only time of year when someone telling you you look just like Yoda can be a compliment, but is the money really worth one night of being really frustrated everytime you try to eat a pretzel? Nah, and it's time to explore the solutions.

I took a trip to the local 99 cent store and - with only ten bucks - picked up more costumes and accessories than I've owned for every previous Halloween of my entire life. This is the perfect crime. doesn't have to be a good costume. As long as you're wearing something you usually wouldn't, no Halloween party bouncer will have a thing on you. Let's take a look...

Choice A: 'Supreme Mega Monster'

This particular 99 cent store sold a whole slew of really shitty masks, and chances are good that yours will too. Much like the people who marry you in Vegas, the mask is pretty non-denominational...I'm not sure what the fuck it's supposed to be. And that causes a problem - because you have to have a title for your costume. You can't walk into a party and announce yourself as 'something or another', people are going to call your bluff and start yelling that you're not really wearing a costume. Titles are essential. But don't worry, the name doesn't have to be very good. I titled this costume 'Supreme Mega Monster', mainly because while there's no way I'm going to win any contests with this one, at least I can take salvage in the fact that my costume's name is by far the most awe-inspiring.

A few other tips: if you go to a party wearing a flannel shirt, you can always just call yourself a bum or a mechanic. Wearing jeans? Gap model. Wearing anything? Nudist colony protestor. See, there's a million ways to avoid the 'costume required' clause. You just gotta use your brain a little bit.

Choice B: 'Super-Angel'

This is the one I'd personally pick as my number one choice. Minimal effort, non-obtrusive, and still, not without it's fair share of class. The 99 cent store had dozens of different versions of headgear like this - everything from martian eyes to lightning bolts. I chose the angel halo because it's lightweight and fluffy, but there's plenty of other reasons to warrant choosing it. For instance, in my case, if I walked into a party wearing this, chances are good that everybody will be too busy discussing how many dicks I'm sucking rather than debating whether it's a true costume or not.

Catching on? Good. Listen, I've been there. There's been times when I've labored on the costume issue too. I remember, a few years back, spending two Halloween parties dressed like a killer Santa Claus. Full face make-up, Santa suit, everything. Aside from the fact that I couldn't see or move, I wasn't allowed to sit on or near anyone's furniture because I was leaving a trail of white face paint wherever I went. And, when all was said and done, nobody at the party really wanted to talk to a guy dressed like that anyway. On top of this, it took five days to get the nail polish off. The point is...there is no point. Don't torture yourself...stick to the halos and simple masks. Think of it this way... Let's say there's an emergency and you really need to head to the deli to get a Snapple. At least with my choices, you can remove your costume before entering. You won't have to be made fun of by everyone in the store. The plan works! Let's continue, there's some other options...

Choice C: 'Jailbait'

Pirateboy is a good choice for those of you who actually want to wear a full costume, but don't want to have to take out a second mortgage to buy one. Yes, the 99 cent store can solve that problem too.

Among an assortment of really shitty full costumes the store was offering, I desperately searched for the shittiest. And I think I succeeded with this one: the convict costume. If you looked up 'passe' in the Halloween dictionary, a picture of this costume would certainly accompany the definition. It's from a long line of really poor ideas for a costume that seem to survive forever. Convict, clown, vampire, it's all been done. You're not bringing anything new to the table. But at least it's only costing you a dollar.

The outfit itself is incredible...I'm having a hard time trying to figure out what this shirt's made of, but I'm pretty sure it's the same material used in making kites. The costume is clearly labelled for adults, but the hat wouldn't fit your head if you chopped half of it off. As an extra special bonus, it also includes a sticker with your very own prison identification number. What more could you ask for?

To be honest, if I was a costume nazi running a Halloween party, I'd find even the halo and shitty mask three times more acceptable than this one. It might be a full costume (if by full you mean no pants) ...but it still absolutely sucks. But, like I said - we're not shooting for quality. We just want to get you in and out of those monster parties with as little damage to your wallet and pride as possible. The 99 cent store can do the job.

Choice D: 'Tits of Metal!'

You know, just in case any guys out there wanted to use Halloween as a front to quench their innate desires to have giant, pointy tits. There's only one day a year you can have 'em without being interrogated, and with the 99 cent store's help, you won't even have to waste money better spent on black panties to accomplish the goal.

Choice E: 'Freddie Crewger'

Halloween's best example of direct copyright infringement without punishment are those hockey masks. If you think for a second anyone believes you're buying that to be a goalie and not Jason, think again. So while Jason's getting ripped off pretty hard, Freddy Krueger's not without his patent clause demons either.

Freddy's knifehand is one of Halloween's hottest items, whether it bears the Nightmare on Elm Street logo or not. Now, seeing as how my Freddy hand came from a store that sells Cheeze Doodles called 'CHEESE FOODS', there's no official logos here either. But the fun doesn't stop there - this had got to be the worst costume accessory I've ever seen. I can't even call it 'cheap' because I refuse to believe these cost anything to make. For example, each of the knive-fingers seem to have a mind of their own, as they've decided it'd be best to go off in totally different directions. Secondly, if you touch it, the plastic paint will rub off all over your hands. Thirdly, the glove part is altogether an atrocity in handwear - there's no real clear cut way to decipher between the thumb and pinkie fingers, nor is there any good way to puppet the knives even if you do.

But! It is a costume. It's an extremely lame one, yes. But it is a legitimate costume. If anyone asks why you're not wearing a mask or a hat, just tell them you're Freddy if he were to disguise himself. If they argue with you about it, tell them someone egged their car. And while they go look, pay someone five bucks to actually go do it. Hey, you've got some cash to spare. Your costume only cost you a dollar!

And now, for the ultimate cheapest excuse for a costume, I present to you the sheer majesty that is...

The Monster Tie!

BAZAM. It takes no effort to wear this thing - the most hideous rubber tie of all time - and it only costs 99 cents! What's more? The fucking thing lights up, essentially making it the worst example of electronics in history. It would've helped it the tie had displayed even a modicum of creativity - all it has is a prune face guy with 'RIP The Monster' written under it. If you wear this one to a costume-only party, you're taking the phrase 'damn the man' to a whole new level. As an aside, the thing is so poorly produced that the battery pack on the back hangs freely, unattached to the tie. I also find it interesting that it takes two AA batteries to run two little Christmas lights. Oh well. One dollar.

In closing, I hope you all learned an important lesson from this article. There's no reason to be frightened off by Halloween parties that require you to arrive in-costume. There's ways to beat the game. Just check out your local 99 cent store. Hey, even if you don't find a costume, it's entirely possible that you'll leave with a brand new set of corn-on-the-cob holders...shaped like corn-on-the-cob!!!

- Matt
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