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Costume crunch

There's still time to throw something together

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If you haven't started constructing your Halloween persona, it's not too late. Whether you go for the full-blown latex and polyester pre-fab, or make your own from whatever you can find in your basement, Halloween is your big chance to indulge your desire to be someone else. From Joe Paterno to zombies to Charlie Sheen to head-to-toe skin suits, the choice is yours. We talked to a few local costume creators to get some inspiration. 

First, the overwhelming winner for 2011 Celebrity Costume of the Year appears to be, well, Charlie Sheen. The folks at the Spirit Store say it's easy - don a bowling shirt, shorts and a fedora. Maybe some Locs. Make your own bottle of tiger blood if you want bonus points. Also from the experts: Penn State Football Coach Joe Paterno is popular this year. I don't know why.

If you're looking for a cheap and easy local celebrity, the Weekly Volcano‘s Mark Lindquist mask is an obvious win.

At Northwest Costume on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue, pirates are still at the top of many lists. Owner Mary Johnson says the classic pirate costume can be as simple or elaborate as desired. Slap on an eye-patch and some smudged, worn, frilly clothing, practice your Billy Idol lip curl and you're good to go.

"Pirates are big now," says Johnson. "Every time there's a pirate movie, you have about four years of pirates."

Johnson suggests favorites like the flapper girl, Victorian damsel and Vegas showgirl for the ladies, among other staples. 

"Venitian masquerade costumes are big," says Johnson. "It can be anything from a ball gown to a beaded gown. Then you put a mask with it, and you're ready."

In the same retro vein, folks at the Spirit Store say Swiss Miss and Oktoberfest costumes are a nice way to celebrate two holidays at once. Many Halloween retailers offer pre-fab Swiss Miss costumes bearing the name "Miss Gretchen," which is super creepy for some reason.

Also in the super-creepy category is the Skin Suit: a head-to-toe latex suit that comes in various colors, with a breathable, transparent face panel. Think Blue Man Group, naked, with no orifices. Yeah. Creepy. 

Zombies are another no-brainer (get it?) this year. It's an easy costume to pull off, says Johnson, but requires a little make up and destruction of clothing.

Getting creative, Libertine Tacoma owner Christy Reedy is taking the Victorian retro thing seriously and wrapping it around a zombie costume, resulting in a full-blown Mad Hatter Zombie. Reedy raided her costume closet and pulled out some lace and fluffy tutus, a red, furry bolero-style coat (think Elmo pelt, she says) and paired them with white patent leather lace up go-go boots, crazy stockings and plenty of makeup.

"It was inspired by the fact that I already own a super fantastic top hat and a really amazing red furry coat," says Reedy. "Plus, I just love the fun factor that an open interpretation of the Mad Hatter offers to a zombie costume."

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