Halloween is coming up fast, and if you think dressing up is just for kids, think again. We have an economy to stimulate, people! Fear not, there are readily available costumes for our demographic.
Video games are a great place to look for inspiration — and for their distributors to earn mega royalties. You might be tempted to go for an obscure character in your favorite Dreamcast title that no one will ever recognize, and really, go to town, but more mainstream costumes can be had from the big party stores for less than $50.
It’s hard to imagine that a little Finnish software company expected its game about shooting wingless birds out of a slingshot would take over the world, but once it did, boy did they take advantage of merchandising opportunities. You can buy stuffed plush versions of the characters/munitions and a card game with plastic structures to build, and now you can dress as one of the Angry Birds or their pig nemesis.
The full-body costumes aren’t very flattering on anybody, and since the birds are basically circles with their faces toward the bottom, your own face sticks out the forehead. If that really bothers you, you can go for a “mask” instead, so your face looks out the bird’s beak.
Prefer something more old-school? Thirty bucks gets you a perfectly serviceable Mario Brothers costume, which, being from a video game, is allowed to look a little cartoony. A bit more money adds white gloves and an inflatable belly, because ha ha, Italians and/or plumbers are fat. There’s a Princess Peach (you know, the princess that’s always in another castle) if you’re a chick, unless you prefer the “Adult Perky Plumber,” which is a miniskirted version of either Mario or Luigi, complete with mustache necklace (???) but NOT Nintendo’s blessing.
Don’t want to spend your hard-earned cash on a single-use costume? I hear ya. A simple red shirt and blue overalls get you halfway to Mario, and a little craftiness with a red cap and fake mustache pretty much completes the look. Substitute green for red if for some reason you prefer Luigi. Weirdo.
To put together an outfit from pieces that you or your weird uncles might already have lying around, there’s no better choice than the Doctor. This time traveler of Doctor Who fame has always dressed a bit flamboyantly, but the basic costume elements are common enough that you might not have to spend a cent.
Attention to detail will earn you serious geek cred. Got a giant scarf lying around? Fourth Doctor. Umbrella and terrible sweater vest? Seventh Doctor. The more recent incarnations are even more accessible; skinny pants and sport coat with a bow tie get you a long way toward a complete Eleventh Doctor outfit, and a simple black leather jacket makes you the Ninth if you already have short hair and big ears. The BBC America blog Anglophenia put together an exhaustive guide this summer. Each one is just a blog post, so Google “how to dress like the [n]th doctor” and you should get your preferred result right on top.
Of course, you could always go as a standard IT dork, with uneven stubble, thick glasses and an allegedly clever T-shirt from ThinkGeek, but that’s a bit stereotypical, don’t you think?