Still not sure what you want to be for Halloween? Here are some timely ideas for grown-ups:
*The deficit. This is the perfect costume if you packed on some extra pounds this past year like, a few hundred. If you still weigh what you did in 2010, then it's the perfect costume to wear with a few friends. Drape yourselves under one big sheet like a lumpy ghost, and go around to kids saying, "Boo! You owe me $1,750 per person, or an average of $7,700 per family, and counting." If the kids have a basic grasp of macroeconomics, they will throw up their hands and run away screaming, allowing you to steal all the candy they have collected, which now is spilled on the sidewalk. You'll feel like the 1 percent!
*"Mad Men." Whatever you're wearing, add a girdle or a hat. Or both.
*BlackBerry outages. So maybe I put this in only because I own a BlackBerry and I have been hopping mad at it lately. But if you really DO want to go like an ever-less-cool, downward-spiraling, so-called "smart" phone's week of terrible service -- including text messages that could NOT get through -- simply paint a box black, step into it and go to sleep. Keep sleeping while everyone is yelling at you to wake up and do something. (Optional: Add a few buttons to look like keys that a person can keep pressing. Just make sure they don't do anything, either.)
*Safety witch. You'll need a long black dress, a pointy black hat and a protest sign. Stand outside your local school and protest bake sales, because obesity is a national problem and kids could get fat from the treats. Alternatively: In the same outfit, organize a march against the merry-go-round at the local playground, because children could get hurt on it.
Or, in the same outfit, go down the street chanting slogans against Halloween -- "Hey hey, ho ho, trick-or-treating has got to go!" -- because an innocent child could fill in the blank with anything terrible, e.g., trip over a costume, be allergic to face paint, be traumatized by the other kids' costumes. (Whatever you do, do NOT mention that there has NEVER been a case of a child's dying from a stranger's poisoned Halloween candy, according to University of Delaware sociologist Joel Best. Nor is there any evidence that sex crimes against children go up on Oct. 31.) Need another idea? Feel free to protest vaccines or baby formula.
*Paris Hilton. A good choice this year because the costumes are at a deep discount.
*Kim Kardashian. A good choice next year.
*Starbucks venti pumpkin spice latte. Dress in brown, and wear a white shower cap qua foam. Convince people you are worth the price of sponsoring a starving child in Haiti. Have fun!
*Your boss. This is only a good costume if you are younger, cuter and/or buffer than your boss and own something that looks just like something of his or hers (scarf, dress, tie, "Because I Said So" T-shirt). Wear the item to work, and make sure the boss hears you saying, "I guess you could call it hero worship." Wait by the phone for your promotion.
*Congress. No need for a costume. Just dump the contents of a garbage can over your head and ask people, "What do I remind you of?" They'll get it!