Tips for a fun last-minute Halloween

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Katie Gile

It’s All Hallows Eve and your plan to give candy to the neighborhood kids – or hog it all and pretend nobody’s home — fell through courtesy of a socialite friend or two.

They have a Halloween party to go to and while your “plus-one” status is mandatory, your closet is absent of a killer costume. Worse still, you lack the funds to grab a rental. But never fear! Your social life and wallet are safe with these cheap and easy costume ideas.

The Duds

While even superstores like Walmart and Target have a severely picked-over selection by now, your own basics can make for a simple, easy costume!

•     If you wear makeup, chances are you’ve had a near Oompa Loompa moment. So, scrounge together all the unused bronzer you can find and do yourself up like someone on Jersey Shore. Throw on a party dress, tease your hair into the signature Snooki pouf and add a baby bump for good measure.

•    If you own a suit (or even a blazer and some dark jeans) and a pair of dark sunglasses, suit up and Oppa Gangnam Style!

•    Again, if you or anyone you know owns a suit or a tux, pick up a martini glass, rock a Blue Steel gaze and become James Bond.

•    If all else fails, this Halloween comes right before a delightfully public Presidential election and everybody with a microphone has something to say. Memorize your favorite line, propaganda or otherwise, and get political.

•    Don a floor length dress, let loose your dark hair, pretend you can act, and walk around looking expressionless yet constipated. Bam. There you have Kristen Stewart’s Snow White (and everything else).

The Flicks

If you’re completely and utterly spent from a weekend of football-infused cocktail partying, blow out the Jack-o-lantern and cloister yourself away from the masses for a night of spooky cinemania.

Whether you’re giddy for gross-out flicks or frantic for a mind-freak, the wide variety of Halloween movies has something for everyone. To help you spend your Halloween surrounded by popcorn and squishy couch cushions, here’s a quick list of the best flicks to keep you company and get you through the night.

·         Halloween (Carpenter 1978)
This one goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. The tale of a psychotic, mask-wearing murderer stalking a babysitter may seem played out. And by today’s standards, it is. But there’s something to be said for the originals. There’s a reason this film is played every fall on cable, that the Michael Myers costume is still a tough one for stores to hang onto throughout the season, and why the movie itself has been quoted and referenced in many a self-conscious horror film like Scream. It’s a classic.

·         Exorcist (Friedkin 1973)
Think it’s just about a girl who spews out pea soup as her head does a 360? Guess again. This Oscar-winning horror classic continues to haunt generations of movie-goers. Linda Blair’s performance as the possessed Regan MacNeil made her a household name and spawned a legion of demonic sequels – not necessarily of equal quality. Enjoy the first and prepare to have a creepy dream, or twelve.

·         A Nightmare on Elm Street (Craven 1984)
Before Freddy started crackin’ wise and tossing out a bevy of bungling one-liners, he was the terrifying knife-handed killer of Elm Street. If you don’t mind dated special effects and want a tried-and-true screamer that will get your pulse pounding, watch Freddy creep his way into the dreams of unsuspecting teens. If nothing else, you get to see a young Johnny Depp swallowed by a bed. Just don’t fall asleep.

·         Psycho (Hitchcock 1960)
Hitchcock was dubbed the Master of Suspense. He wasn’t known for guts and gore, but instead, played with the minds of his audience. This film, not the 1998 remake with Vince Vaughn, is a fantastic, psychological trip. Don’t underestimate its creep-out factor just because it’s old school. This one’s chilling.

·         The Strangers (Bertino 2008)
If you’re staying home alone, watching this movie is like a game of “Chicken.” This is one to watch with company or welcome a breakdown. Invite some friends over and scream together at this unsettlingly frightening flick. I just wouldn’t try that sleeping thing later. Rock yourself in a ball on the floor until daybreak. It’ll be … OK.

·         The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Hooper 1974)
Substitute its modern remake if you must, but this ‘70s slasher was all kinds of gnarly. If thrillers don’t do it for you and only good, old-fashioned gore is your game, pop this baby in your player and prepare to be grossed out. The super-red slasher blood is splattered everywhere in this classic that introduced us to Leatherface and the creepiest chainsaw-wielding clan ever. It’ll turn your stomach and leave you wretching. Fine holiday fun.

·         The Ring (Verbinski 2002)
The malevolent spirit of a girl long since drowned comes from the well and kills in seven days, all via an evil video tape. Sounds lame on paper, and on paper, it is. But once you’ve watched it, The Ring sticks with you. If there were ever a way to make Americans fear entertainment, this is it.

·         Hocus Pocus (Ortega 1992)
OK, you caught me. It’s not a scary movie. But it IS a great movie, starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy. This Disney favorite plays every Halloween and is even hailed by some sources like as the greatest Halloween movie of all time. It’s hilarious, child-safe creepy and even includes Bette Midler’s show-tunes rendition of “I Put a Spell on You.”

·         Halloweentown (Dunham 1998)
Again, this Disney Channel original is only child-safe scary. If it’s nostalgia, family-friendly doses of teen attitude and the chance to see Debbie Reynolds play an eccentric enchantress you want in a Halloween night-in, you can’t get much better than this ‘90s favorite!