Halloween. It’s a time of year that evolves with age from the acceptance of taking candy from strangers, to awkward middle-school denial of participation, back to acceptance of taking candy from strangers, except this time the candy may or may not be laced with drugs. It is likely that if you’re a girl, you’re dressed as a “slutty – insert otherwise normal occupation/animal here.” But the crazy thing is, everybody’s doing it, and it’s the one time you’re allowed to go wild and blame it on a “holiday.”

During college the most popular way to dress is as something sexy or funny. For the ladies, the traditional lingerie with animal ears is always a favorite, however, if near nudity is not your style, you too can participate in the festivities with a little creativity. Guys have it much easier, though. They just toss on a clever hat with regular clothing, and they’re set to go.

If you’re not down to drop lots of cash on a factory-made costume, head to a nearby vintage or secondhand store. Sometimes you can pull together an original costume just by browsing the racks of other people’s junk in their attic (Hey, they say one man’s trash is another one’s treasure … and I’m not talking about sloppy seconds here either.). Eighties and ’90s looks are easy to pull off at these stores, as well as other bohemian looks.

If you’re lucky, you might even find some awesome accessories (hats, gloves, jewelry) that can complete a look with stuff you already had in your closet. For example, find a sparkly glove, a fedora, your prom tux, and you could rule the party as the late, great, Prince of Pop.

Other costume ideas: cartoon characters, political statements (I can see Alaska from here!), athletes, celebrities, animals, inanimate objects (I’ve seen someone be a lamp before … “I love lamp?”) and, of course, the classic costumes of witch, princess, fairy, ghost, random guy with cape.

Another cool way to be a hit at a party and meet people is to have a costume that makes people interact with you. Examples: A glow stick (white shirt with lots of glow sticks attached to you. You can give them out as the night progresses.); Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates (write the saying on your shirt and have lots of candy on hand for people who tell you their favorite Gump quotes); Facebook (Use a cardboard box with dry erase paper and have people write on your “wall,” tag people, friend request others, update your status – “blank has the best costume ever”) or engage in poke wars, be a farmer on Farmville or gang member in Mafia Wars.

If you’re going to go out with a group of friends or with your significant other, your costume choices tilt favorably toward more creativity. For groups, dig back to your childhood roots and think of teams like Captain Planet and the Planeteers. A superhero clan like this would be so simple to make. Find that buff friend who loves walking around nearly naked and present him with a pair of Speedos, a cut-off shirt and blue body paint. Find a screen printing Web site like customink.com (serves Los Angeles with free shipping; 866-715-2276) to print the planet shape onto five T-shirts. Head to your closet or someone else’s (or a thrift sore) and pull out ’90s cargo vests, shorts and high tops to complete the look. Walk into parties power punching the air and shout phrases like “Let our powers combine!” If your costume is a big enough hit (and it will be), you can “combine powers” with a sexy single – wink, wink. Remember, “The power is yours!”

Other group costume ideas: Cinderella and her ugly stepsisters (perfect for females with all male coworkers); “Gilligan’s Island” (the Professor and Mary Ann … here on Gilligan’s Isle!); Spice Girls; “South Park” characters (make sure someone kills Kenny by the end of the night!); “The Jetsons;” the Peanuts gang (someone please be the teacher that only says “womp, womp, womp, womp”); Men in Black with aliens; Willie Wonka and Oompa Loompas (I’ve seen it done before, and it was amazing.).

Couple costume ideas: bunny and carrot; Tweedledee and Tweedledum; peace and quiet (a hippie and a mime); Sugar Daddy and Sugar Baby (You can take it either way – the actual candy or the legal version of pimp/ho.); baker and a “bun in the oven” (super adorable if you’re actually preggers); Lady and the Tramp (You decide who’s who.); Norman Bates and his mother; Thing 1 and Thing 2; The Princess and the Pea (The pea just wears a green shirt with a “P” on it. Excellent if you’re boring.).

Now that you’ve got some ideas, here are some places to check for materials.

Hollywood Toys & Costumes

6600 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles; (866) 232-1829;


This store has the word Hollywood in it, which means it must be good. Here you get just about anything costume related that you can think of. Bonus: It’s a cool way to spend an afternoon looking through all the fun stuff they offer.

Robinson Beautilities

12320 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles (310) 398-5757; robinsonbeautilities.com

If you want something legit (I’m talking costume originals from movies), this place has it. Many costumes are also for rent, and their makeup and wigs are straight from the professionals.

Agent Provocateur

7961 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles (323) 653-0229; agentprovocateur.com

If you’re into the serious stuff, this place is a worldwide provider of designer lingerie. Only the classy stuff for classy costumes.

Trashy Lingerie

402 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood (310) 652-4543; trashy.com

Ladies, if you do decide to go with a sexy costume, this lingerie store doesn’t mess around. They even have a “trashy costumes” and “trashy bargains” section on their Web site so everyone can afford to be trashy for Halloween. (Another costume idea: Be “trash-y” and deck yourself up as trash with bunny ears or something and poke fun at girls who wear the look.)

If you have time to spend on a ridiculously awesome and unique costume, browsing through these vintage stores will provide many hit-or-miss items to mix and match. Good luck!


325 N. San Fernando Road, Burbank (818) 842-4900

7428 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles (323) 653-3028

1338 4th St., Santa Monica (310) 395-2620

12144 Ventura Blvd., Studio City (818) 980-8800; wastelandclothing.com

-Ozzie Dots

4637 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles (323) 663-2867; ozziedots.com


1800 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz (323) 669-8464; myspace.com/squaresvillevintage

For more traditional costumes, themed supplies, party gear and more, these Halloween stores will fit your fancy.

-Halloween Club

7107 E. Telegraph Rd., Montebello (323) 726-2226; halloweenclub.com

-Halloween Town

2921 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank (818) 848-3644; halloweentownstore.com