●Newsweek. Dress as a ghost and if anyone asks, murmur sadly about the “transition to digital.”
●Poorly restored Jesus fresco. (This one is a popular choice, but it’s a great idea. Here’s how to do it right.)
●Miley Cyrus’s style evolution. Show up as a fully clothed tween. Leave as a pantsless Draco Malfoy.
●Joe Biden + Paul Ryan make a great couples costume, if you are a couple with serious problems. Have one of the pair constantly chuckle and express disbelief and the other drink constantly from a giant water bottle and blink less often than they should.
●Inevitable bacon shortage. This is everyone’s worst nightmare. Dress as bacon. Insist, midway through the party, that you don’t feel so good and maybe, just maybe, no one will ever see you again.
●Clint Eastwood and Invisible Obama. This is a great couples costume if you are a couple of one. All you need is a chair and dozens of people so excited to see a celebrity who is not Jon Voigt that they say yes to everything you propose.
●Honey Boo Boo. For bonus scares, dress up as someone who finds the TV show to be an offensive caricature. Then you can have the following interaction.
“Hey! I’m Honey Boo Boo!”
“Hey! I’m someone who finds the show to be exploitative and reprehensible!”
(Silence, angry stares.)
●Own a string instrument? Dress up as the string soloist for “Call Me Maybe.”
●Undecided voter. I have no idea how to dress up as one of these because I don’t know who they are, what they look like, what they want, or anything about them. Neither does anyone else. Just dress as a unicorn.
●Binder full of women makes a great group costume. If you can’t gin up a group in time, just go as a loose leaf. A loose leaf is just like a regular leaf, but sexier. This also fills the unstated requirement of women’s costumes that they be sexy. Bring reinforcements in case you fall out. For added sexiness, bring sheet protectors.
●iPhone 5. Be cool and alarmingly skinny, but not quite as cool as everyone was hoping.
●Short dress and cat ears. When people ask “Are you a Sexy cat?” respond, “No! I’m a woman who is conforming to societal expectations of what her costume should look like.” As they blink at you, disoriented, add, “It’s a commentary.”
●Swing state. Dress in purple. Show up with one candidate, leave with another. Demand constant attention.
●Arlen Spectre. (Too soon?)
●Female anatomy, according to Todd Akin. Dress as an angry squiggle that eats anything that threatens it. Constantly approach men demanding that they regulate you.
●Paul Ryan Lochte. Just be this picture.
●The London Olympics. Keep having logistical problems with the costume up until the last minute, but manage to pull everything together. When you see the Beijing Olympics across the room, refuse to compliment them on how put-together they are. Mutter something about how “that level of coordination is impossible under a representative system of government.”
●Kate Middleton’s topless pictures. Print out a large image of Kate Middleton, tastefully dressed, then cut the top of the picture off with scissors. This costume disappoints everyone.
●Lance Armstrong. I know this costume was great a few years ago, but maybe avoid it this year. Same with your Joe Paterno statue costume.
●Romney son. If you are a white male from a certain demographic, this doesn’t even require you to dress up, although you should probably not wear sweatpants.
●Someone apologizing for America. This is a very easy costume to throw together, and it is TERRIFYING! Alternative couples version: bring a friend dressed as America. Apologize on her behalf, even when you are not certain that what just happened with the punch was her fault.
●Tagg Romney. More specific variant of Romney Son. If you see Invisible Obama, threaten to throw a punch at him.
●Mayan apocalypse. For this costume, create a lot of hype about your arrival at the party. Then don’t show up. Next year, go as the Inevitable Yellowstone Volcano Eruption and do the same thing.
●Higgs boson. Dress up as God and carry a sign that says “Not To Scale.” Whenever anyone asks what exactly it is you do, stall and throw copies of the Science Times at them. If they persist, say, “It sounds like you’re trying to make something out of nothing. Only I can do that.”
●The 47 percent. You can be a veteran or a retiree, but what is most important is that you did not bring anything to the party. Wander around telling everyone how adamantly opposed to Mitt Romney you are. If anyone says anything about you, videotape it.
●Fact-checker. Give everyone’s statements truth ratings with whimsical names like Pinocchios and 30 Shades of Fact. Notice how their willingness to cite you and consider you reliable varies depending on your opinion of their most recent remark.
●The financial cliff. This is a good costume for people who like to lurk in the corner of parties, looking ominous and saying nothing, coming ever closer while the others bicker over minutiae.
●Higgs bosom. Like the Higgs boson, but sexier. Alternatively, create something out of nothing, using padding.
●That woman you see on the subway reading 50 Shades of Grey. This figure haunts everyone’s nightmares. Midway through, glance up and smile slowly at the man holding onto the pole.