Topical Costumes for Halloween 2011

Last year I did a list of topical Halloween costumes for 2010 and apparently people took kindly to it, as I’ve been getting a fair number requests for a new 2011 edition. I am nothing if not selectively pandering, so it’s on.

Here are 11 topical and pop culture costumes for Halloween 2011. I’ve tried to come up with ways to help put a twist on them, since I’d say all of them at least tiptoe into Obvious Land.

  1. The crew from the Royal Wedding – This one works best as a group costume, and everyone can do it for relatively cheap. The pretty, classy friend who lives in a fairytale world can wear an elegant dress as Kate… the friend without much of a personality can wear the “wacky” Beatrice hat… the slutty friend can be Pippa… and the awkward guy who’s rolling with you (because he’s secretly in love with one of you even though you only think of him as a friend and that will never change but he’s definitely willing to stay sober and drive) can be William.

    Also, zombies are big these days, so perhaps consider going as the zombie Royal Wedding crew.

  2. Mark Zuckerberg – Since The Social Network came out after last Halloween there wasn’t a big rush of this last year. You’ll want to wear a Gap sweater and shower sandals. One big benefit: Extremely comfortable. Another big benefit: This is a particularly good costume if you’ve got a bit of the pervert bug — you can barge in on women using the bathroom and blame it on them not adequately establishing their desire for privacy.

    Also, zombies are big these days, so perhaps consider going as the zombie Mark Zuckerberg.

  3. Harold Camping – Everyone loves a guy who’s bad at predicting the apocalypse. You need a crazy old man wig and a sandwich board to wear that reads: “The World is Ending! The Rapture is Nigh!”… then lists a bunch of dates crossed out.
    So far, this guy has predicted the end of the world for May 21, 1988; September 6, 1994; May 21, 2011; and October 21, 2011. Assuming the fourth time isn’t the charm and we do get to have Halloween, all four of those should be crossed out. Throw a fifth one on there, not crossed out, in speculation of his next doomsday prediction.

    Also, zombies are big these days, so perhaps consider going as the zombie Harold Camping. (Perhaps as a horseman of his own apocalypse?)

  4. Natalie Portman from Black Swan – This is another movie from last year that no one’s gotten to do yet for Halloween. In many ways it’s an ideal costume — the leotard says “I’m a bit sexy” but the facepaint says “I’m mysterious and scary.” Plus, in both cases, it’s going to go over more universally than your Queen Amadala costume.

    Also, zombies are big these days, so perhaps consider going as the zombie Natalie Portman from Black Swan.

  5. Katniss from Hunger Games – Carry a bow and arrow, wear a mockingjay pin, toss a little dirt on your face, wear tight earth-toned clothes, and put your hair in a braid. That’s all it takes to be Katniss.

    If you like this one, I strongly suggest wearing it now… the first Hunger Gamesmovie comes out next year which will make this the go-to costume for the”tough chick who still maintains a raw sex appeal” for at least the next decade. The only downside of wearing it this year: It will not be a good way to meet guys, if that’s your initiative. Guys (other than — ugh — ones like me) haven’t read these books, so they’ll think you’re dressed up as a Lord of the Rings character or maybe Hippie Link.

    Also, zombies are big these days, so perhaps consider going as the zombie Katniss Everdeen.

  6. Charlie Sheen – According to the Internet, the Charlie Sheen mask is the best-selling mask so far this year… so if you want to go as Charlie Sheen, you’ll need to figure out a way to make your costume unique-ish. Try wearing glasses and an Indians hat for the Major League version of Charlie… a not-so-stylish bowling-type of short for theTwo-and-a-Half Men version of Charlie… or in a garbageman’s outfit for the Men at Work/potential future Charlie. Also, zombies are big these days, so perhaps consider going as the zombie Charlie Sheen.
  7. Nicki Minaj – It’s perfect — you can just recycle your colorful Katy Perry wig from last year. And if you had to use stuffing to achieve those signature Katy Perry breasts, just move those down south to enhance your signature Nicki Minaj buttocks.

    Also, zombies are big these days, so perhaps consider going as the zombie Nicki Minaj.

  8. Insurance company mascots – Somehow, we’ve entered an era where insurance companies are the only ones who are still introducing reliably good commercial characters. The Energizer Bunny and My Buddy/Kid Sister are rolling around in their graves.

    Either solo or as a group you can go as Flo from Progressive, the Geico cavemen/gecko, a like-a-good-neighbor-State-Farm-is-there insurance agent genie, the Aflac duck or possibly even Dennis Haysbert.

    (And if you do go as Dennis Haysbert and bump into someone dressed as Charlie Sheen, have a Major League reunion or feel the wrath of diehard Indians fans everywhere. There are dozens of us! Dozens!)

    Also, zombies are big these days, so perhaps consider going as the zombie insurance company mascots.

  9. Zombie Steve Jobs / Zombie Amy Winehouse / Zombie Al Davis – You’re just a black turtleneck, beehive hairdo, or Raiders windbreaker and pair of BluBlocker sunglasses away from being mildly edgy!
    Also, dressing up as living people is big these days, so perhaps consider going as the non-zombie Steve Jobs, Amy Winehouse or Al Davis.

Five Cool Things Steve Jobs Left Us (That Weren’t Gadgets or Computers)

Steve Jobs, John Mayer

If all Steve Jobs was was the sum of his iPods, iPads and iPhones, then that’d be a lot.

But the legacy of the Apple cofounder, who died yesterday at age 56, goes beyond innovative gadgets and computers.

Here are five other pop-culture gifts he gave us:

1. Woody and BuzzWhen Jobs bought George Lucas‘ computer-graphics division in 1986, Pixar was born, and the path to a pair of Toy Story friends (not to mention some great Randy Newman songs) was laid.

2. The Digitalized BeatlesFor so long, the band’s powers-that-be resisted having their catalog officially available as MP-anythings. Then, finally, in 2010, iTunes sealed the deal, and “Yesterday” became part of today.

3. Carrie Bradshaw’s PowerBook: Sure, it crashed in the 2001 episode, “My Motherboard, My Self,” but mostly it provided its unattached owner with constant companionship—and arguably gave Sex and the City its fifth star.

4. Commercials That Were GoodThe 1984 Super Bowl spot. The dancing-silhouette iTunes promo. The long-running “I’m a Mac/I’m a PC” campaign. With the exception of the showy 1984 clip, titled “1984,” the ads reflected Jobs’ streamline aesthetic; without exception, they reflected Jobs’ knack for user-friendly experiences.

5. A Meditation on Mortality; an Action Plan for Life“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life,” Jobs said in his 2005 Stanford commencement address. “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”