In a costume quandary over who (or what) to dress as this Halloween? Obama and Romney too obvious? Best friend already called dibs on being the post-debate Big Bird or "binder full of women"?
With only a few days remaining to finalize your 2012 outfit, here's a few relatively cheap and easy ideas culled from the pop culture zeitgeist of the past 12 months. So get organized and get ready to trick or treat.
U.S. & World
Stories that affect your life across the U.S. and around the world.
Dead Lane Pryce from "Mad Men"
Fans of the retro drama set in the busy halls of a Madison Ave advertising agency were shocked when regular character Lane Pryce (actor Jared Harris) committed suicide at the end of season five. Those looking for a clever Halloween costume need only obtain a tweedy three-piece suit and tie (Pryce was very fond of waistcoats and cardigans don't forget); bookish, tortoiseshell eyeglasses; deathly pale makeup and a fake noose prop to wear around your neck. Not instantly recognizable, but fellow "Mad" aficionados will give serious props for your ghoulish take on this now iconic television character.
Ted from "Ted"
Audiences flocked to see Seth MacFarlane's mix of live-action and CGI starring Mark Wahlberg as a regular joe who must confront his potty-mouthed Teddy bear's slacker lifestyle. As a costume choice this one is too easy: Cuddly Teddy bear costume accessorized with a bottle of beer. Throw a few tasteless jokes and expletives around and you're done. Getting Mark Wahlberg as your wingman for the evening is entirely optional.
Swollen Lip Kris Jenner
During a vacation to the Dominican Republican (shown on the July 1 episode of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians"), mom Kris Jenner professed to having an allergic reaction to something that resulted in her top lip swelling to about five times its normal size. Speculation over whether it was actually a result of cosmetic surgery aside, it's a great Halloween costume and not instantly recognizable. To assemble the look you will need a pair of satin or sateen, man-style pajamas (Kris' had white and pink vertical stripes), a short black wig and a pair of oversize lips with the lower section removed.
Honey Boo Boo Child
These days it seems you can't turn on a television or computer without witnessing the down-home exploits of little 6-year-old pageant contestant Alana Thompson (Honey Boo Boo Child) and her extended family. After first appearing on "Toddlers & Tiaras," the talkative tot now has her own TLC series "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo." She's become a pop culture staple and will no doubt have legions emulating her look this Halloween.
For the costume you'll need a curly blond wig; short, (preferably pink) sequined pageant style dress; tiara and an excessive amount of makeup. Wander about striking slightly uncoordinated poses, generally act a little loopy and throw out catchphrases lines in a child-like voice such as "a dollar makes me holler" or "where's my go-go juice." Friends can dress as family members such as Mamma June or dad Mike ("Sugar Bear"), but make sure you don't forget a version of the most popular pig on TV: Glitzy must be in attendance!
Bane from "The Dark Knight Rises"
Perhaps not the most affecting criminal from the Batman oeuvre, Bane just happens to be the latest and one of the easiest for those looking for a quick costume fix in the days leading up to fright night. The full, deluxe costume can be snapped up online (it's currently $42 at the Warner Bros. merchandise site) or you can find the mask (the anchor for the whole look) at many physical and online retailers.
The men of "Magic Mike"
Alright dudes, this one is a no brainer: white wife beater/tank top, camouflage cargo pants, dog tags, army-issue cap, boots and you're done. Want to dress things up a little? The other group costume Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer et al rocked was the combo of black trousers, black waistcoat and black tie - all covered with a trench coat. No shirt required. Toned muscles and gymnast dance moves are a big help, so get going on those push-ups now.
The judges from "The Voice"
Television's number one talent show is perfect Halloween costume inspiration. But forget the contestants and just dress as the judges. Christina Aguilera: long platinum-blonde wig, skin-tight spandex dress, ruby-red lips (the more makeup the better, actually) and sky-high platform shoes. Blake Shelton: Simple dark-colored blazer, western-style shirt; jeans and cowboy boots. Add a lot of hair product and you are good to go. Adam Levine: Tight white T-shirt, skinny jeans, fake arm tattoos, beaten-up work boots, three-day stubble and a whole lot of too-cool-for-school-attitude. CeeLo Green: Grab a brightly-colored set of satin pajamas, a contrasting but still brightly colored pair of square eye glasses, white sneakers and accessorize with either a fake white Persian cat or fake pink cockatoo.
The ensemble superhero flick is currently the number one DVD in America and the film has now grossed more than $1.5 billion worldwide. Get ready to see a lot of Captain Americas, Hulks, Thors and Iron Men running around come the end of October. Most characters from this film require a little at-home ingenuity or, for those with the wherewithal, pick up one of the many ready-made costumes - especially if you are planning on donning the duds of the more sartorially out together members.
The London Olympics' Fab Five
The 2012 U.S. women's gymnastic team made headlines when they beat Russia by five points to win gold in the team finals at the 2012 Summer Olympics. For a group of girlfriends - or guy friends if you're going for laughs -, dressing as the fab five (Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, Gabby Douglas, Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney) is a simple and fun costume choice: obtain five matching leotards and adorn with as many sequins/rhinestones/sparkles as space will allow, then scrape your hair back and use a lot of hairspray to keep that hair-bun slick and tight. If the evening is chilly, don't forget a "team USA" jersey or sweatshirt to don after warm-ups. For the budding McKayla Maroneys, make sure to practice your "not impressed" face in advance.
The Boys of "Breaking Bad"
It's meth-cooking time! Feel the need to unleash your inner Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) or Walter White (Bryan Cranston)? One of the most popular television series (now in its final season) is also one of the easiest to emulate when it comes to Halloween. Yellow hazmat suits are cheap and easy to obtain,as are dual cartridge gas masks. Just don't hang around in basements or abandoned buildings in case somebody calls the cops.
STILL UNDECIDED? GO FOR SAFETY IN NUMBERS
Get your zombie on!
With the new season of "The Walking Dead" attracting a record number of cable viewers,it'll be no surprise that zombies will inherit the night come Oct. 31. So if you can't beat 'em, join 'em: Dirty, tatty clothing, deathly pale makeup (don't forget a few rotting sores) and a blank, lifeless expression all combine to make a great pedestrian of the after-life.