Wednesday, March 21, 2018

'Stranger Things,' Ryan Lochte, Trump: 2016 pop culture Halloween costumes

Not everyone is a fan of 2016.

We've lost beloved rock stars, watched a trashed gas-station bathroom become the biggest story of the Olympics and lived through creepy clown hysteria. Smartphones exploded. Brangelina broke up. We had to keep hearing about Hulk Hogan's sex tape. And we haven't even mentioned the election yet.

But there is a bright side: it's a banner year for Halloween costume inspiration. We've mined the lowlights and the highlights of the past 10 months to create this list.



615carebare on YouTube

YouTube channel 615carebare demonstrates how to recreate the Snapchat puppy filter in real life.

The costume: Snapchat's puppy filter IRL

Why? If there was one social media app you reluctantly began using this year, it was Snapchat.

How? Recreate the puppy face filter with a printer and some decent quality photo paper. Searching the Internet for "Snapchat puppy filter overlay" will give you what you need to print. Cut out the ears and nose and attach them with liquid latex or spirit gum. The tongue can be attached to your bottom lip, or, for a less annoying night, tape it to a stick and hold it up to your face as needed (YouTube channel 615carebear has a good tutorial).

Bonus points: Have your friends dress as the Snapchat flower crown filter (available from several Etsy stores) and the rainbow puke filter (use body paint starting at the mouth and running down the front of their shirt).

Other meme costumes (if these don't ring a bell with you, get to Google):

Angel Harambe: Gorilla suit, halo, wings.

Arthur's balled fist: Yellow sweater, light blue jeans and your own hand.

Petty Sky Jackson: Blue dress and a condescending facial expression.

Crying Michael Jordan: Print it out, hold it over your face.

Chewbacca mom: Chewbacca mask, seatbelt, crazy laugh.

Damn, Daniel: White Vans, an enthusiastic friend with a phone.





Beyonce from her "Lemonade" music video special.

The costume? Beyoncé's Lemonade

Why? Because Lemonade wasn't an album, it was a cultural event.

How? Go as a group. For Beyoncé, wear a yellow dress and black lace-up wedges or pumps. Carry a baseball bat. For Jay-Z, wear a fresh Yankees cap, a black T-shirt and Timberland boots. Make a diamond sign with your hands and look apologetic. For "Becky with the good hair," wear a fabulous wig and a name tag reading "Becky." Carry a phone, in case Jay wants to call you. Bring along your pre-schooler in a "Blue Ivy Taught Me" T-shirt ($21,

Bonus points: If you're Beyoncé, have a friend follow you with a fan so your hair is constantly blowing in the breeze.

Other music costumes:

Hamilton: As a group, be Hamilton, Burr, Jefferson and Washington. Have Cabinet rap battles. Carry a Constitution and argue about it.

Drake's Views cover: Shearling-lined coat, pensive facial expression, sit on various things and let your legs dangle.

Sia: Wig that covers the eyes.



R.I.P. 2016

Associated Press file

David Bowie during the Thin White Duke era.

The costume: Ziggy Stardust David Bowie meets Thin White Duke David Bowie

Why? Because we lost an icon this year, and we've all secretly wanted to dress up like Bowie since January (and pretty much our whole lives).

How? For Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, use red hair color or wear a wig. Cover your face and eyebrows in light makeup. Accentuate the cheeks/jaw with blush, wear red lipstick, and paint a gold circle on the forehead. Wear literally anything tight, colorful, revealing or weird (think platform boots, red overalls and a scarf). For Thin White Duke-era Bowie, slick your hair back, wear a crisp white dress shirt, black vest and pants and carry an unlit cigarette in your mouth. Both looks require one blue eye, so buy a pair of costume contacts and split them.

Bonus points: If it's a male-female couple, have the male partner dress as the androgynous Ziggy and the female partner dress as the masculine Duke.

Other in memoriam costumes:

Prince: Purple pants, puffy pirate shirt, perfectly drawn-on facial hair.

Alan Rickman: Go with Professor Snape.

Gene Wilder: Go with Willy Wonka

Arnold Palmer: Sweater, golf club, glass of tea/lemonade.

Muhammad Ali: Shorts, boxing gloves.

Nancy Reagan: Suit with shoulder pads.





The character Eleven from the Netflix series "Stranger Things."

The Costume: Eleven from Stranger Things

Why? Because she's the best character from one of the year's best TV shows, and it works for an adult or a kid. See our cover model, Eleanor Zayas, 1, for a perfect example.

How? Wear a pink dress, a blue jacket and a super-blonde wig while carrying a box of Eggos. Or, if you're on a budget, all you'll need is a hospital gown, some fake blood for your nostril and hair clippers to shave your head.

Bonus points: Go as Joyce Byers' (the mom played by Winona Ryder) house, instead. Paint the alphabet on your shirt and wrap yourself in Christmas lights. Carry a landline phone with a cord, if you can find one.

Other TV costumes:

Marcia Clark and Chris Darden from The People v. O.J. Simpson: Poodle-ish wig. A wide, colorful necktie. Black glove in a resealable plastic bag.

Hodor from Game of Thrones: Brown cloak, carry a box of "Bran" cereal on your back.

Negan from Walking Dead: Leather jacket, baseball bat wrapped in tin foil "barbed wire."

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's Kimmy: Yellow sweater, backpack, Keds. For Titus, bald cap, silk robe, bottle of pinot noir.

Poussey from Orange is the New Black: Grey sweatshirt, red name tag, khaki pants, short hair.




Associated Press file

Ryan Lochte in the pool at the Olympics in Rio.

The costume: Olympic swimmers, beloved and, well, less beloved.

Why? Because a Summer Olympics-themed costume only works every four years.

How? To be Michael Phelps, wear a swim cap, goggles, USA flag swimming trunks and a ridiculous amount of gold medals around your neck. Maybe carry a Subway sandwich. To be Ryan Lochte, do pretty much the same thing, except with fewer medals, bleached blonde hair, and swap the sandwich for a toilet seat, to symbolize that poor gas station bathroom in Rio.

Bonus points: Have your friend come as Matt Lauer. Apologize to him throughout the night.

Other sports costumes:

"Final 5" women's gymnastics team: More medals. Wink like Laurie Hernandez.

Ronda Rousey: After her shocking loss.

Laremy Tunsil: Dolphins jersey, gas mask.

That 29-year-old high school basketball player in Canada: Basketball jersey, grey hair, cane.

Tim Tebow: Gators jersey, eye black, New York Mets cap, baseball bat.



Associated Press file

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will be popular costume fodder this year.

The costume: The election from hell

Why? Because regardless of who you support, Gallup polling shows Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the most unlikable candidates their parties have ever fielded.

How? For Hillary, you'll need a pastel pantsuit and a BlackBerry. Carry your beer in a "More like Chillary Clinton, amirite?" koozie ($10 on Clinton's website), and bring along an email server (the empty case from a desktop computer tower will suffice). Act casual, like it's a secret. For Trump, a dark suit with a Donald Trump-brand red tie and some orangey bronzer or makeup. Get a set of Tiny Hands ($12 at Urban Outfitters) and a Make America Great Again hat ($25 on Trump's website).

Bonus points: Give a nod to radio host Alex Jones suggesting Clinton is literally a demon by wearing devil horns and occasionally sniffing yourself to check for sulphur. The demon look works for Trump, too.

Other politics costumes:

Barack Obama: "Hope" pin, Hawaiian shirt, umbrella drink. Tell people you're ready for a long vacation.

Bernie Sanders: Carry a TV showing the debate. Look sad. Ask people for $27.

Marco Rubio: Carry a football to throw at children.

Ted Cruz: Make it a combo costume and be the Zodiac Killer, too.

Ken Bone. Red sweater, mustache. Be lovable, but with Internet secrets.



Associated Press file

McDonald's is scaling back on the use of Ronald McDonald after a series of clown threats.

The costume: Unemployed Ronald McDonald

Why? Because America has reached peak creepy clown hysteria, causing McDonald's to scale back its use of the iconic spokesclown.

How? Red wig, white face paint, red and yellow jumpsuit featuring the golden arches. Carry a bindle (one of those hobo knapsacks on a stick), but have the sack be a McDonald's bag. Wear a sign that says "will work for Big Macs."

Other clown costumes:

Krusty the Clown: The Simpsons recently aired its 600th episode.

Bozo: Timeless classic.

Pennywise from It: Total nightmare fuel.

Twisty from American Horror Story: Even worse nightmare fuel.

The Joker: The Jared Leto version. Write "damaged" on your forehead.



Times files

Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker made national headlines from St. Petersburg.

The costume: Hulk Hogan bodyslams Gawker

Why? Because Hogan is literally Tampa Bay's biggest celebrity and the trial that ended with him winning a massive judgement against Gawker happened in St. Petersburg.

How? To go as court-ready Hogan, wear a black suit jacket, black T-shirt, a silver rosary and your best formal (black) bandanna, plus some Oakley sunglasses. Glue on a blonde goatee. Carry a duffel bag overflowing with $140 million in fake cash.

Bonus points: Have your friend dress as Gawker, then put them in a headlock all night.

Other locally-themed costumes:

Billy Fuccillo: Stand by a Kia, yell "yuuuge." Interrupt Caroline.

St. Petersburg's demolished "cheese grater" building: Wear cheese graters, use makeup for bruises and a black eye.

Tampa Bay sewage: Paint yourself blue, glue fish, garbage and poop emojis all over your body.

St. Petersburg SHINE mural: Print out a pic of a mural, paint your body in colors to match it.

Amy Schumer's mythical Tampa reader: Wear an I <3 Tampa shirt. Read a copy of her book.

Charlie Crist. Carry as many fans with you as humanly possible.



Associated Press file

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was recalled due to a battery issue that causes it to explode.

The costume: An exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Why? Because Samsung had to recall its flagship smartphone due to its tendency to catch fire and we need at least one inanimate object on this list.

How? Create a wearable sandwich board; there are several tutorials on how available online. Paint Samsung on the back and smartphone icons on front. Attach orange cardboard flames, wear one of those Guy Fieri-style flame shirts and a flame wig (there are several kinds available on Amazon).

Bonus points: Attach a fog machine to intermittently shoot smoke out of your costume. Ban yourself from airline flights.

Other costumes from the news:

Pokemon Go couple: One pokemon, one trainer to throw Pokeballs at them.

Brexit couple: Shirts reading "England" and "Europe," break up all night.

Brangelina: Divorce papers, surround yourself with children.

That lady with the shark attached to her arm: How crazy was that?

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