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Seven Terrible L.A. Halloween Costumes (With Suggested Improvements)

Yes. Yes it is.
Yes. Yes it is.

OMFG! Halloween starts this weekend! Even though CVS put out the candy and the knickknacks right after Labor Day, you still waited 'til the last minute to get a costume, didn't you? Only recent temperate climate transplants that have been waiting for the palm trees to change color (they don't) before they recognize that it's fall can be let off the hook for procrastinating (but not for their poor understanding of science). You've all had plenty of time -- so what do you do? Where do you go?

We spoke to three awesome costume shops, Ozzie Dots in Los Feliz, The Costume Shoppe in Glendale, and Robinson Beautilities in Culver City (and a bunch more terrible ones) to get an idea of what Angelenos were wearing this year on All Hallows Eve. In all honesty, Halloween doesn't end for most people in this town, so we thought that we might hear some great ideas and some fantastic costumes.

Turns out, as Christian from Robinson Beautilities informed us, "There's a lot of superheroes...always lots of pirates, and lots of recent movie characters...like Drive and Black Swan." Even the folks at the Costume Shoppe said that it has been a pretty conservative year full of "cowboys, indians, pirates...that sort of thing." Seems somewhat banal for Hollyweird, doesn't it? What about the oddballs, the weirdos, and the downright awful train-wreck costumes?

We may have to ride out the weekend to get the full spectrum, but we took a completely unscientific survey of costume salespeople to get an idea of the absolute worst ideas they've seen so far...here are seven (with suggested improvements):

7. "This is My Costume" T-Shirt

Yes, these t-shirts are still for sale and people still buy them. The worst part about all of it is that people are buying them well before the last minute. On purpose. With conviction.

Better Alternative: Just stay at home. You're probably "that guy" everywhere you go and it would be better for everyone if you just stayed in, ok? There's going to be some great movies on TV...some of which might actually give you a good idea for next year.

Hi, I'm terrible!
Hi, I'm terrible!

6. Sexy Free Sprit Costume (or, Anything from the pre-packaged Sexy Section).

This requires little explanation. The unoriginality and the shamelessness do NOT cancel each other out. This isn't even a step up from the Sexy Cat you were last year, or the Sexy Cop you did the year before that. This is just Halloween at its worst.

Suggested Alternative: How about a Sexy Crushed Spirit? Or anything that reminds you of the myriad of strides women's rights have taken in the past 200 years...but, y'know...sexier? How's about a downtrodden 1900s Suffragette or a 1840s Lowell Mill Girl? Bonus points if you go all black and white (including makeup).

Exploited 19th century labor is totes hawt.
Exploited 19th century labor is totes hawt.
Wikimedia Commons.
What? It's just a hairy guy with a mustache...getting his zipper fixed...
What? It's just a hairy guy with a mustache...getting his zipper fixed...

5. 1970s Porn Star

This is the worst of the "I'm going to have to kind of explain my costume," genre. When I asked the purveyor of this costume how the costumee was going to pull this one off, he shrugged, "I have no idea, he was buying lots of fake gold chains." I asked, "No chest hair." "Nope." "No mustache, even?" "None."

Suggested Alternative: A 2070s Porn Star. Robinson Beautilities doesn't seem to be selling a lot of space or futuristic costumes this year...so how 'bout adding a little creativity to the mix there, eh?

Seven Terrible L.A. Halloween Costumes (With Suggested Improvements)
Christie Bishop

4. Anthropomorphic McDonald's McRib

Sure, it's time-sensitive and, if pulled-off correctly, it might, possibly, may be something kind of cool. But, in reality, it's just going to end up causing a ton of mobility issues and you'll spend half your night knocking over other people's drinks. On top of that, people will probably curse you out for sparking the desire to actually eat one, which no one really wants to do...but will anyways. You get the idea.

Suggested Alternative: An Oinkster Pastrami Sandwich. Locally made with house-cured pastrami. If you're going to be a giant, anthropomorphic, unhealthy meatwich for Halloween, you might as well go local and go delicious.

Seven Terrible L.A. Halloween Costumes (With Suggested Improvements)

3. Fried Black Swan and Waffles.

We're not sure at first if this is just vaguely racist or what the deal is here. The purveyor of this costume's accessories hinted as such: "Oh, yeah...they said they were going for a kind of ghetto thing." The same shop had some folks just going as a "Black Swan", playing on the pun of "ghetto" ballet dancers. Blackface has been out since before the Civil Rights Era and modern permutations (i.e. white college kids' Pimps and Ho's parties) were never in.

Suggested Alternative: Not being racist. You can do that at almost any costume shop anywhere.

Seven Terrible L.A. Halloween Costumes (With Suggested Improvements)
Wikimedia Commons.

2. Zombie Amy Winehouse.

Somehow combines "A Bit Too Soon" with "Sexy/Not Sexy" and "Let's Just Zombify Everything."

Suggested Alternative: Zombified Vampire Gaddafi in a Pan Am Stewardess Outfit with a Stark Family Banner and a Tommy Gun...because...fuck it. Ozzie Dots will gladly help you throw this one together.

If you must, please pick a more relevant tasteless joke.
If you must, please pick a more relevant tasteless joke.

1. JonBenét Ramsey

Poor taste and Halloween are becoming more frequent bedfellows, fine. But timing is awfully important. Even that one guy who falsely claimed to be Ramsey's killer a few years back (remember him?) exceeded the story's shelf-life by a decade. At this point, why not just go as Monica Lewinsky or Chandra Levy?

Suggested Alternative: Bobby Franks, who was killed by Leopold and Loeb in 1924. And why not toss some period magic in there? The Costume Shoppe in Glendale can hook you up with some pantaloons, an old-timey shirt, and other accouterments...the possibilities are endless.

Thanks to the frantically busy folks at Ozzie Dots, The Costume Shop, and Robinson's Beautilities who took the time to talk to us.

Follow @PaulTBradley and @LAWeeklyArts on Twitter.


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