Wrap your body in aluminum foil, spray on a pint of your most noxious cologne and go as a limburger cheese; pose as Anne Boleyn (minus her head, of course); dress up like the Chrysler Building or a Pez dispenser.

Halloween is one of the few days of the year where even the most stuffy lawyers, bankers and grandmothers let their fantasies go crazy, and often adults can let their fantasies fly more than junior trick-or-treaters.

There are always lots of gatherings around Oct. 31 requesting that guests come in costume. Unfortunately, however, there are plenty of Halloween Scrooges -- those people who year after year think it's just wonderful to be invited to a masquerade party and plan to dig up some sort of a gypsy or ghost outfit to wear. But when it comes time for the event, they panic and come as themselves.

This is not in the true spirit of Halloween and may a witch put a pox on their house.

Many children start planning "what I will be for Halloween" as soon as they go back to school in September.

Artistic Dance Fashions (4915 cordell ave., Bethesda) and Stein's Theatrical and Dance Supply (1180 n. Highland St., Arlington) -- which both convert into Halloween emporiums this time of year -- report that Muppets characters Miss Piggy (for whom they sell such accessories as as masks, falls and boas) and Kermit are edging out hands down last year's Star War's favorites.

Masquerade events are by no means limited to Halloween; they're apt to pop up quite often in places like Paris and New York all through the year, especially, of course, around New Year's Eve and Mardi Gras. Last year's Beaux Arts masquerade ball at the Corcoran, benefiting its School of Art, drew over 1,000 guests in wild array, so they're having another one Nov. 30. Students and others already are at work on costumes like a film cassette, a six-pack of beer, and a fire extinguisher paired with a flaming trash can. So if your costume is a big hit on Halloween, you may want to make a play for the ball's grand prize.

Although All Hallows Eve is only two weeks away, there's still plenty of time to track down some unusual Halloween garb.

The attic or basement may be a good place to start, but there's often not enough for a complete outfit. Thrift stores or vintage-clothing stores can be a gold mine for authentic and one-of-a-kind costume ideas. And you can't beat the prices. (plus when you're done, you can re-donate the items.)

Goodwill Industries (which has seven stores in the metropolitan area) is well supplied for Halloween, according to public relations director Molly Haines.

"For starters, we have tables of linens and beddings for anything that needs sheets like ghosts, witches or what-have-you. We have racks of sequinned and brocade gowns for princesses and angels, tons of hugh glittery baubles and costume jewelry, a big supply of wigs -- short curly ones like the Marx brothers or long Charlie's Angels numbers -- and '50's looks like bobby sox, flared skirts and scarves."

Geraldine's (4105 Wisconsin Ave Nw., No. 106) used-clothing store every year converts into a Halloween costume center. Owner Geraldine Ricketts reports that this year there will be lots of Scarlet O'Hara's (above) and Groucho Marx's running around, if her costume requests are any indication.

People can come in and buy or rent the costumes that I put together from used clothes or make up their own," she says. Her other suggestions include strapless prom dresses, punk-black jackets with chains and pinstripe gangster suits. Prices range from about $10- $45 for either buying or renting an outfit (and again, anything you buy is re-consignable to her, so long as it comes back in good condition).

If you choose to go to a traditional costume store (of which there aree plenty in the Yellow Pages) you don't have to come out as a predictable clown or gorilla.

At Fantasy Costumes (610 Franklin St., Alexandria). owner Joy Nelson has a stock of 5,000 costumes and has in the past created a centipede, using garden hoses and pants hangers, an Anne Boleyn-minus-her-head and Muppets with pink tutus. Average rentals there are $5/ $225, with the average between $35 and $45.

Dream Wizards (congressional South Shopping Center, 84 Halpine Court, Rockville) may sound like a store for bedding, but it has a fascinating collection of fantasy and magic. It's a place for the serious masquerader, with such things as a make-up division for special effects like scars or warts, and "cobweb guns" to spurt liquid-latex "webs" all over your costume or house. "If someone wants to be a wizard or magician (left), we can turn them on to magic tricks like how to shoot flames from their fingertips," says co-owner Mark c tricks like how to shoot flames from their fingertips," says co-owner Mark Chorvinsky.

Or if you're looking for a simple get-up, wear your regular street clothing with a big mask. Al's Magic Shop (1115 H st. Nw) already has had to to re-order the Conehead mask (below, $42.50), and they report that the perennial Carter and Nixon masks are selling like Snickers bars (the Arafat mask is also doing well).

But because they bombed last Halloween, Al's has dropped at least three political masks: Lyndon Johnson, Pierre Trudeau, and Teddy Kennedy.