Click to viewThe coolest holiday of them all is almost upon us, and we've done our best to prepare you. We've made a handful of costume suggestions. We asked your fellow readers to share their get-ups with you. And today, we offer you one of our most valuable services: what not to wear on the big day, should you choose to pay homage to a superhero or villain. Scorn, ridicule, embarrassment-all will elude you if you follow our seven simple rules of thumb. Avoid dressing up as recent characters played by tragically departed actors. Remember when Brandon Lee suddenly died from an awful gun mishap while filming 1994's The Crow, and then everybody decided they had to dress up as his character for Halloween? It's like déjà vu all over again this year with the premature death of poor Heath Ledger. Aye, we know we'll get a lot of flack for this one-but we challenge you to not be yet another imitator in a throng of Ledger-inspired Jokers.
For the love of god, don't get nude or semi-nude. The Hulk, Dr. Manhattan, Fat Cobra, The Silver Surfer, Witchblade, Red Sonja. Each seems like a good idea, what with the economy on the slump and those outfits not demanding much expensive clothing. But save it for Comic-Con, will ya? You're among civilians now. And you may as well be nude or semi-nude if you're wearing spandex. We're talking to you, pot-bellied Spider-Man! Unless you're playing one-half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo-their attire a deadpanned parody of ill-fitting poly-blends and comic-book machismo-it's best to keep your special little holiday package to yourself.
Death to anything disco. There are way too many '70s-ish offenders to name, so we'll single out just two: Dazzler and Hypno Huster. C'mon, do you really want to look like an extra from Xanadu? Wings: powerful accessory, logistical nightmare. They're majestic and dramatic. You'll also whack every person you walk by, Hawkman/girl. So if you want to be known as that knucklehead with no spatial awareness…on second thought, we'd enjoy seeing you negotiate your way through a doorway. Rescinded!
Just because a costume sounds awesome in theory, doesn't mean you won't look like a douchebag wearing it. Haitian mysic Brother Voodoo looks like a badass, muscular high priest. Which is cool and everything-until someone accuses you of being racist. As for Preacher's Arseface? Few possess the charisma to get away with impersonating an unsuccessfully suicidal Kurt Cobain fan. The funny-looking MODOK, however, is all kinds of right. Stay clear of any wardrobe that an American Gladiator/wrestler could theoretically don. We're talkin' Booster Gold, The Falcon, Power Man, and Vartox (whoa there, Tom Selleck, no need to show off the bear chest!). Granted, there can be a fine line of distinction, but this will make a world of difference. We have faith in you. Dr. Manhattan art by Dave Gibbons, courtesy DC Comics; Dazzler courtesy Marvel