There are exactly 37 days left until Halloween dawns, which means you have that long to conjure up with a killer costume for yourself. And while that might seem like all the time in the world, don't put things off, bub, especially since some else might just snatch up the particular mask or outfit you desperately need to complete whatever ensemble you eventually decide upon.
If you need some assistance in figuring out what to wear, we've consulted with the staff at some of the Valley's best mom-and-pop Halloween emporiums - including Easley's, Bubbles of Joy in Mesa, and the Mardi Gras Costume Shop in Scottsdale - for some advice on what the most popular hottest and trendiest costumes this year, which includes plenty of colorful characters from blockbuster films, TV shows, and pop culture.
9. Ted Since you'll likely be filling your Halloween weekend with a variety of drinking and bawdy shenanigans, might as well sport a life-sized teddy bear costume and go as the lewd and crude titular character from Ted.
8. Magic Mike Although few men can honestly posses Tatum Channing's rock hard abs (and are more likely to resemble the late Chris Farley in that infamous Chippendale's sketch from Saturday Night Live), that's not gonna stop guys from busting out a bowtie-and-slacks ensemble like the male exotic dancers from this hit flick. But please refrain from stuffing singles down their pants unless they truly deserve it.
7. Presidential Candidates Halloween comes less than a week before our nation elects its next president, so expect to witness many cats wearing latex masks depicting the POTUS or Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Whether you choose to play it straight and wear a suit or go for such wacky variations as Pimp Obama or Romney in his magic underwear is up to you.
6. Breaking Bad There's probably no more fitting costume for fans of the popular AMC series starring Brian Cranston than the yellow hazmat suits that Walter White and Jesse Pinkman wear while cooking up a batch of Blue Sky. Although the Halloween gurus at Easley's, Mardi Gras, and Bubbles of Joy don't stock either the suit or breathing masks, you can pick both up from local laboratory supply companies, or off the Internet, for around $100 bucks.
5. Hunger Games Halloween affairs might resemble either the bloody killing fields of Panem or a ritzy ball in the Capitol this year as numerous fans of both the best-selling movie and blockbuster teen novel whip up their best impression of Katniss Everdeen. If you choose to her leather-clad outfit worn during the games itself, it would behoove you to utilize a toy bow-and-arrow set, however, lest you'd like to accidentally take out another partygoers' eye.
4. Nicki Minaj Pop stars always make for good Halloween costuming fodder, which is why we've lost count at the number of freaky-looking Lady Gagas we've watched trotting around the Ghost Ball in Scottsdale in recent years. It's likely to be the case in 2012, in addition to the number of ladies (and, sadly, gentlemen) who will dress like the equally bizarre Top 40 queen. If you're striving for true authenticity, however, then don't forget to reproduce Minaj's infamous bootylicious posterior via a strategically placed pillow.
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3. Bane Employees at both Bubbles of Joy and Easley's told Jackalope Ranch that the gnarly-looking mask worn by the monstrous villain of The Dark Knight Rises have been selling like hotcakes thus far. Once you find one, however, the rest of Bane's ensemble shouldn't be too tough to pull off, just shave your head (or buy a bald cap), find a black tank top, and score some camo pants from the local army surplus. Muscles are optional, as is his Darth Vader-meets-Sean Connery growl.
2. Honey Boo Boo Although dressing like an adult version the seven-year-old star of this über-popular TLC reality show might be a wee bit strange-looking, we won't be surprised to see a few females donning Honey Boo Boo's pink taffeta dress and tiara at various Halloween parties and events. In fact, we're expect that some will don white trash wardrobe (and even fake pot bellies) in order to recreate the entire Thompson clan. Just be sure not to jack up your leg like Honey Bear.
1. The Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes kicked some major ass this summer, both on the silver screen and in the box office. It seems like pretty much everyone saw the flick, which has earned more than $622 million in ticket sales, which makes it a safe bet that plenty of people will be sporting the outfits of the Captain America, Thor, Black Widow this year. Much like Honey Boo Boo and Magic Mike, it makes for a great group costume, even if your Iron Man power suit is made from cardboard.