©Peanuts Worldwide, LLC
Treats! Treats for the taking! For those bold or cunning enough to pry them loose from the hands of their bearers, the spoils are endless. There is no sound like that made when rummaging through a full bag of pilfered, miscellaneous candy. It sounds like electric rain.
The pillow sheds its skin like a fluffy, soiled snake, and spins off the balcony and into the night, making no sound as it falls to earth in an Arby's parking lot. The pillowcase is no longer a stage on which dreams play, but a bag into which dreams are deposited. There will be no sleeping tonight. The morning light seems impossible from this vantage, as far away as the rumored estate across town where they hand out King-Size Kit-Kats. Inside my mask, my hot, recycled breath gives my lungs a fullness that feels like courage, and the only sound I can hear is that of my own pounding heart, thrumming the words "free treats" over and over, faster and faster.
Halloween is a miracle. A MIRACLE. However, as it was forged by the hand of man rather than that of the divine, it is technically a conditional miracle: you'll need a costume. If you're anything like me, the idea of spending any amount of money or effort acquiring one of these feels foolish and wasteful, as there's very little utility to a "Sexy Frankenstein" costume for the rest of the year, unless you get invited to a lot of baptisms. So you find yourself pressed against your window, watching the rain deflate your pillow in the yellow light of the parking lot, concluding yet again that your enthusiasm for treats has led you to act in haste. As a possum toddles over to your pillow and begins yanking towards the sewer, you know there's no turning back now, and it's time to turn your attention towards this year's options for a Last-Minute Costume.
Initially, the bed seems like the ripest tree: with the pillow now appropriated as a marsupial's birthing chamber, the sheets could be harvested for ghost-skin, the comforter for, uh, maybe some kind of fat ghost costume? No, no. Think harder! The window for free candy is only open for so long, and it's already sliding closed. If you miss it, you'll need those sheets to make a noose for yourself!
I've managed to survive over 30 Halloweens through a mixture of panic and luck. This year, I decided to figure out my costume early, meaning during the mid-morning of October 31st instead of waiting until 7:30 tonight. As I'd already left my bedroom for the day, I had to scan my current surroundings for ideas. Thankfully, in my line of work, ideas are what keep the lights on (our standard contract with creators allows us to use any and all lightbulbs that appear over their heads in moments of inspiration).
And so, dear reader, here are some options for you to explore to make your own comics-themed Last Minute Costume. Just be sure to brand yourself with a copyright symbol on an area of exposed skin to ensure you stay on the right side of the law. I suggest using a heated, bent coat hanger on the top of whichever hand you don't use to write.
© PAWS, Inc.
Concept: Maybe you've heard of him? He's a fat cat with fattitude and cattitude and a rad badness that makes even Heathcliff swoon. His milkshake brings all the boys to the yard!
What You'll Need: Spray-on tanner, black magic marker, coffee mug and a defined ranking order for days of the week.
How to Assemble: Throw on a white undershirt and light-colored boxers, hop in the shower, slather yourself in the cheapest spray-tanner you can find for maximum orangeness, then add Garfield's signature markings with as permanent a black felt-tip marker as you can acquire legally. If you keep your bathroom door closed, the fumes of the tanner and marker might also lead you to believe you are in fact literally a cat. Bring the mug along for verisimilitude.
Concept: The lighter side of the proletariat.
What You'll Need: Day job, glasses, white short-sleeve button-down shirt, red and black striped tie, oversized black sweatpants and black shoes.
How to Assemble: Put on clothes. Go to work. Search workplace for candy dishes on coworkers' desks, empty into oversized pants (cuffed at bottom with elastic to contain the added weight). Remain droll throughout to minimize suspicion.
CALVIN & HOBBES:
© Bill Watterson
Concept: Your favorite comic.
What You'll Need: Bleach, hair gel, red and black striped shirt, khaki board shorts, bengal tiger.
How to Assemble: Bleach and style hair in the classic "forward spiked" style, then dress as usual, careful to let hair dry sufficiently before putting on shirt to keep it safe from accidental bleaching. Once in costume, gently coax bengal tiger out of the back of your car, where you've kept it pinned since smashing through the retaining wall of your local zoo's jungle habitat. If you've tranquilized the tiger prior to transport, you may find him sluggish and difficult to move, in which case you should rebrand your costume to accommodate this "real life Hobbes" aspect, when Hobbes appears as a mere stuffed animal. The tiger will likely come around in a few hours, whereupon you can transition into the "Calvin returning home from school" costume, when Hobbes tackles the crap out of him and begins to violently maul his face and neck (see below).
© Bill Watterson
© Ziggy and Friends, Inc.
Concept: A simple, gentle strip about a man without pants.
What You'll Need: Solid-colored T-shirt, jar of bees, disposable razor.
How to Assemble: After slipping into the T-shirt (the color is up to you, but it should be tailored for modesty, as it will be the only article of clothing you'll wear), shave off all body hair with disposable razor, then violently shake jar of bees for one minute. Unscrew the jar's cap, place nose into jar's opening, then think about delicious candy while the bees do their work on your nose. With any luck, you're not deathly allergic to bee stings, but are just allergic enough for hilarious swelling to ensue!
Concept: A big dog who thinks he's people and the people who somehow accept this with affable resignation rather than mounting fury.
What You'll Need: Sugar cubes, goggles, giant femur bone, red nylon leash, brown spraypaint, quarter horse.
How to Assemble: Go to your barn and fetch your horse. If you do not have a barn, simply unhitch your horse from whichever tree to which you've lashed him for overnight grazing. Feed your horse a handful of sugar cubes to distract him, gently place goggles over his eyes (horse goggles can be found at most gas stations), then thoroughly coat him with brown spraypaint (the preferred shade is Krylon's "Big Huge Dog Brown"). Once completed, remove goggles and replace bridle with red nylon leash, then head out for a great night, leading him along. Carry the giant femur bone because Marmaduke loves bones, and your horse might need some correction if he's spooked by the red packaging of a Fun-Sized Skittles bag.
© Darby Conley
Concept: A dog and a cat do some stuff with this guy they know.
What You'll Need: A dog and a cat, this guy you know, a calendar.
How to Assemble: Group the dog, cat and guy into a room, then wait seven weeks. Your friends with candy from 2011 will cover for you. Once you're well past deadline, do a lap around your block, then return home and wait for next year.
OVER THE HEDGE:
© M Fry & T Lewis
Concept: Woodland creatures crack wise and ponder the big questions in the shadow of suburbia.
What You'll Need: A raccoon, a squirrel, a turtle, a burlap sack, bait, rubber gloves.
How to Assemble: Trick raccoon and squirrel into burlap sack (Important: SEPARATELY) with bait. Pick up turtle by side of highway, greeting him with "Hey, little guy!" because turtles don't mean any harm, and you're glad to see him. Gather animals in apartment, placing raccoon in bathtub, squirrel in kitchen cabinet, and the turtle wherever you wish, as he's not going anywhere. Begin negotiations with raccoon in order to establish trust, and see if he'll lend a hand getting the squirrel to agree to your inter-species pact in exchange for some yummy garbage. Once pact is forged, seal the deal with a handshake, after putting rubber gloves on both yourself and the raccoon to protect each party from germs. Let raccoon have some time alone with the squirrel in the cabinet, establishing beforehand that he'll give the cabinet door two quick knocks when they're ready to come out for trick-or-treating. Go find your turtle buddy, fill him in on what he's missed, then sit and enjoy his company. If everything goes well, the animals will gather candy from your neighbors on their own throughtout the year, even if your neighbors aren't home or lock their doors to keep the animals out!
Note: this process may take some time, so try and capture animals in mid-September.
I hope you've found something appealing among these suggestions, or if not, some inspiration. If you've found neither, we've nothing left to say to one another. See you out there, everyone! Boo!