Note: Because we are a website devoted to television, we are contractually obligated to post an annual "TV-Inspired Halloween Costumes" story. But lots of sites do this, and many of them overlap with the same five costume ideas. So I decided to approach this assignment from left field...
As fun as Halloween is, it's also a huge pain thanks to the amount of preparation needed. Thanksgiving is easy—show up hungry (or swing by Boston Market before your guests arrive). Not ready for Valentine's Day? No problem: Simply dump your significant other the day before! And for Christmas, I have only two words: gift cards. But when it comes to Halloween, you simply can't go out looking like a dweeb, 'cause if you do, you won't get any candy (or the adult equivalent, which shan't be mentioned here).
Halloween is now less than a week away. If you're stuck for costume ideas, you could do what everyone else is doing and get tips from other sites on how to dress up as Sue Sylvester from Glee. But Halloween is all about getting as much attention as possible, and who wants to share the spotlight by dressing up like everyone else? Here are some ideas that will set you apart from the crowd and allow you to interact with the folks who followed the herd.
Everyone else will be Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead, so you should be...
Shane Walsh from The Walking Dead!
Why you shouldn't be Rick Grimes: Everyone and their moms are going to be Rick Grimes for Halloween this year. It's a simple costume, it's zombie-related, and it even has some nerd cred. But in addition to it being overplayed, here's another reason dressing as Grimes is a bad idea: He kind of sucks. Seriously, for an ensemble drama where the characters aren't even the strong point, Rick isn't one of the show's better characters.
How to be Shane: Instead, dress up as the best character from the show who isn't dead and eating horse entrails—Rick's best bud and Eskimo brother, Shane! The costume is pretty much the same (minus the Ranger Bob hat, plus a plain T-shirt), but you get a free pass to engage in otherwise inexcusable behavior because you can just say you're "getting into character" when you hit on every "I'm Rick Grimes" guy's hot date as soon as he goes to the bathroom. "I thought you were dead" is the most bulletproof excuse/defense ever. Use it frequently.
Everyone else will be a character from Glee, so you should be...
Glee creator Ryan Murphy!
Why you shouldn't be a Glee kid: Ugh! Even if it was still 2009, this would be a bad choice. Not only are the show's best days behind it, but we all know the cast has its share of divas. Okay, I'm mostly talking about Lea Michele, but since I don't care for her I've irrationally projected hatred onto all of them, even though Kevin McHale seems like an alright guy.
How to be Mr. Murphy: Prove that you're fully on-board the backlash bandwagon by dressing up as the person who hates the Glee cast more than anyone else on the planet: Glee creator Ryan Murphy. Not only will you have the honor of dressing as one of TV's hottest showrunners, but you can totally be rude to anyone you want, especially anyone who dresses up as Rachel Berry. So go ahead and grab Sue Sylvester's megaphone out of her hand and blast her with a hot "You're Fired!" while telling some guy who's dressed as the drummer from Kings of Leon to not quit his day job.
Everyone else will be Dany from Game of Thrones, so you should be...
Filthy, Naked Dany from Game of Thrones!
Why you shouldn't be Normal Dany: Don't you hate it when you show up to a party and someone is wearing the same platinum wig and tattered burlap rags as you? Me too! That's probably what will happen if you go anywhere dressed as the Khaleesi this Halloween, as Dany costumes will surely be everywhere. And while you can't really blame people for wanting to be Dany because she's all sorts of rad and GoT rules, you can still one-up them!
How to be Filthy, Naked Dany: While other fans waver or whether to be Demure Pre-Khal Dany or Post-Khal Warrior Princess Dany, go all out and dress up (or down?) as the Dany we all remember from the incredible final scene of Season 1: Dirty, naked, all-powerful Dany. It's easy. Just cover yourself in fireplace ash and duct-tape a few iguanas to your private parts! Also, if you see any single Khal Drogos out there, you can just do the Dothraki mating dance (walking on all fours).
Everyone else will be a Reality Show Trainwreck, so you should be...
Mario Lopez, host of The CW's H8R!
Why you shouldn't be a Reality Show Trainwreck: There will always be a lot of Snookis, Kardashian sisters, and other worthless celebs at Halloween parties because the number-one rule of Halloween is that people aren't very creative. Except you—you are a genius! To combat others' odes to talentless hacks, you'll be a different talentless hack who orchestrates their ruin.
How to Be Mario Lopez: Grab some stick-on dimples (or borrow your friend's dimple gun) and put on some tight clothes, because you're going out as Mario Lopez, host of The CW's H8R! Every time you see someone dressed as a celebrity you hate, instigate fights by telling him that the muscly guy in the corner has been talking trash. As an added bonus, film everything and sell it to The CW, because apparently that network will buy anything.
Everyone else will be Charlie Sheen, so you should be...
The Naked, Screaming Hooker Charlie Sheen Locked in a Closet!
Why you shouldn't be Charlie Sheen: This is kind of obvious, but everyone's going to be Charlie Sheen this year. Everyone! Sure, there might be variations, like Zombie Charlie Sheen, Tiger Blood Charlie Sheen, Dead Two and a Half Men Charlie Harper-Sheen, or Sober Charlie Sheen. But with the inevitable amount of Charlie Sheen costumes out there, you may as well call next Monday Hallo-Sheen. Hey, I just came up with that myself!
How to be the Naked, Screaming Hooker Charlie Sheen Locked in a Closet: You know the story: Charlie once locked a porn star/hooker in his hotel closet. And the great thing about this costume is that you only need one item: a portable closet. We'll leave that bit to you (I recommend taking a chainsaw to your friend's apartment while he's out of town). Once you have that settled, just cut some holes out of the bottom for your legs, put on some stripper heels, find a Sheen, and scream! Note: this costume also doubles as South Park's version of Tom Cruise.
Got any other good TV Halloween costume ideas? Share 'em in the comments!
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom