Halloween is that special time of year where adults and children alike dress up in their scariest, funniest and most creative outfits to celebrate ghoulish figures. It is a holiday of pure entertainment and fun, one that always promises to be a good time—that is, if you avoid a costume fail. Have no fear though, we have a few quick suggestions that will help you get the maximum amount of fun out of your trick-or-treat season.

1. Scantily clad clothing: Look we get it, “Halloween is the one time of the year when a girl [or a guy] can dress like a total slut and no other girls [or guys] can say anything about it.” We’re right there with you: let your freak flag fly high. However, given Halloween is typically towards the middle of fall—early winter, depending on where you’re located—weather conditions may not be suited for you to bare all. And let’s face it, a hunched over, shivering, unnaturally blue “sexy” nurse is not a look anyone can pull off. Consider doubling up on flesh colored leggings, taking a jacket with you, or trying a costume that covers up more skin than not. That way you do not have to end your festivities early due to discomfort or hypothermia.

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2. Excessive face paint: Costume fails go way beyond the costume itself. Odds are that if you’re over the age of twenty-one, in college, or just into partying, then you’re going to be celebrating this year’s Halloween at some kind of event or establishment. Here’s the thing though: if you’re decked out in layer after layer of face paint and prosthetics, then how is the bouncer supposed to recognize your photo ID? He’s not. Take some sage advice: less is more. Do not ruin your evening by not being able to turn-up with your friends because you just had to look completely and totally demented. Masks are much easier to remove and can be fiddled with to offer some wonderful results.

3. Speaking of prosthetics: wings, capes, crowns, and other decorations are the perfect accessories to take any costume over the top. However, if you cannot walk through a door comfortably or with reasonable ease, then you should probably consider something smaller and more manageable. You do not want to be that person who has to finagle their way around every corner, carelessly bumping into other individuals while risking damage to your costume and theirs. Plus, it’s just basic common sense that if you’re going to put in the effort to create a masterpiece, you probably want it to survive one night of fun.

4. Costumes that appropriate other cultures: This one goes hand in hand with our next suggestion. Over the past couple of years, a great deal of minorities have banded together and voiced their concerns with culturally insensitive costumes that further negative stereotypes. This doesn’t mean you cannot dress as a culturally significant figure; however do so with caution and sincerity. Ask yourself: am I representing this figure in a way that is offensive or derogatory to someone who identifies with said figure?

5. And last but most certainly not least: black face. Don’t do it, enough said. Let’s all agree that this one should never again be utilized. V

by Brandon Sheldrake