Tonight’s the night party animals, and if you're like us, right about now you're freaking out about what to wear, where to get it, and how much to spend. In these tough economic times, who's got the dough to drop on elaborate costumes? Not too many of us. (Anyway, even the pricier ones always look cheap don’t they?) Save the headache of that last minute trip to Hollywood Toys & Costumes, and read on for quick, cute, comfortable and even clever ideas that require no more than digging through you're own closet or a jaunt to the drugstore, and see pics of the rockin' get-ups we snapped at Steel Panther (aka Metal Skool) at the Key Club this past Monday night and around Hollywood last week for inspiration.

Rainbow Brite. The '80s cartoon character is super easy for us gals with an already vibrant wardrobe. This hottie (shot at the Key Club) obviously bought hers, but you can make yours by wearing your most colorful dress, rainbow socks (on your legs and arms), anything with stars or glitter and ribbons in every color (do one or two big ponytails to complete the look). Bonus: this one’s a big hit in the streets of WeHo!

Jungle girl/Cave Woman- Most of us have a leopard-print thing or two in the closet. Slip it on (or cut it up if willing), glue fake leaves on yourself like this babe or tie a bone in your hair (which should be really messy). For the Cave girl, make a “no Geico” sign to carry in solidarity to your “man.”

American Apparel Hipster Model- Don a headband, tube socks, AA tee, AA shorts and AA hoodie, neon Raybans (buy the fakes downtown for a couple bucks) and a couple of old club wristbands (bonus if they’re from The Echo or any club downtown) and ironic bling. Carry around a Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Ipod Commercial- Dress in all black, body hugging clothing (leggings and tight long-sleeve tee with gloves for example), wear a black wig or hat, and put black make-up to cover your face and any exposed skin. Carry around an iPod (with ear buds in of course) and dance your ass off all night.

Buckethead- We snapped this shot at the Guitar Hero World Tour launch party thinking it was the actual shredder. But “Buckethead” was listed nowhere on the press release we received after the event (if he’d been there, it definitely would have been). We were fooled. Which gave us a great idea for you dudes. Go to KFC and buy a bucket o’ chix, throw on a trench coat and carry around the Guitar Hero axe all night. Talk about finger lickin’…

Secret Service Man/Hassidic Jew/Blues Brother- More for you fellas! That suit you bought for your cousin’s wedding need not gather any more dust. Wear your cell ear piece for the Service Man, a hat with fake beard (like these guys from the band Petty Cash at the Key Club) for the Jew and black Raybans and/or blue body paint for the bros.

Star-Puckers- Amy Winehouse was soooo last year. Britney’s a bore now that’s she like, not insane. If you’re gonna do a starlet, these two are much fresher: Ugly Betty- Glasses, tacky, unflattering and mismatched clothing, and dark bangs (if you don’t own a wig like this, it’s not quite as easy, but ask around. Somebody always has this basic style). Katy Perry- Pin-up style duds; dark wig, carry around cherry Chapstick and kiss lots of girls.

Sarah Palin- THE most unoriginal Halloween get-up a gal can do this year. Though a lot of guys find it sexy (at the Steel Panther show, it literally got bigger screams than all the rock sluts and blonde babes combined), to most of us its just plain scary, and we’d be weary of rocking this look for fear of it appearing an endorsement. If you must do the up-do/glasses/pantsuit pitbull-with-lipstick look, at least make a statement: carry around a charred (classic literature) book, a high school geography book, a drill or gun n’ bloodied stuffed animal. (And don’t forget to dress your date up like a plumber. Have him carry a 6 pack and of course, wear a “Joe” nametag. Speaking of couples…

It Takes Two- For the fellas: Mac and PC guy (one guys dresses nerdy, the other grungy), and for the ladies: Lindsay and Samantha (one girly in a blonde wig and leggings, the other butchy, carrying headphones).

Need more? Feel free to steal from Jackie Beat’s brilliant idea list (Carrie, Tippi, Shelly and Frehley are all classics!)

(Read the full report from Panther’s Halloween bash in next week’s Nightranger. Coverage from the Best Buy G.H. bash (and other corporate soirees including Fallout 3, T-Mobile, plus the opening of club Versus downtown) is in this week’s column and slideshow).

Happy Halloween !!!

LA Weekly