Judging by the social media fallout of the first weekend in this year’s Unending Halloween Season Of Doom And Dismay (cough, Julianne Hough, uncough) avoiding cringe-worthy costumes is more difficult than it looks, so here’s a flowchart I just threw together. It is not comprehensive, but I hope it helps!

chart of costumes

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences."