Citizens of the United States will soon celebrate Halloween — a holiday that melds American ambition, the country’s unquenchable thirst for ephemeral humor, and the thrill of putting on a costume.
And nothing is more American than taking something great and tarting it up.
It’s what we do to ice cream when we turn it into a flavor orgy featuring marshmallows, walnuts, and cookies that didn’t try hard enough. It’s what we did to the movie industry, which is now more blockbuster-oriented than ever. It's what we do to cars and boats. It’s what Lady Gaga has done to country music.
We tend to take the same approach to Halloween. As children, we could observe the holiday by dressing up as anything we wanted to be, no matter how simple or esoteric. But as adults, some of us view Halloween as an opportunity to signal our own ingenuity and intelligence, via costumes couched in pop culture and current events.
Some adult humans also use the opportunity to be "sexy" versions of everyday things, like mature versions of parakeets and grapes.
"Halloween is the one day a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything else about it," the immortal line from Mean Girls goes. And as Racked points out, there are more and more skin-bearing options for men to show off too.
And costume makers are more than willing to play along. It seems like every big headline of the year has a "sexy," overpriced spandex-and-polyester monstrosity to match.
The results often fall somewhere near the intersection of hilarious and sad. It takes a special stroke of genius to make a Finding Nemo character sexy — and, yes, at least one company has tried — but the thought of someone shuffling home in a bad Prince costume, or staggering from bar to bar looking like a feral Pikachu, isn’t exactly uplifting.
Below are seven of this year’s silliest attempts to commemorate the strangeness of 2016 in Halloween costume form.
1) Pokémon Go becomes a mobile game phenomenon
For brief moment there, Pokémon Go seemed unstoppable. The game hit 100 million downloads in August, people were out and about capturing Snorlaxes and Squirtles, and the spirit even moved some players to cheat at the game, hack it, and risk permanent bans.
What better way to nod to this phenomenon than by sexing up Pikachu?
2) Finding Dory is the highest-grossing movie of the year
Did you know that Finding Dory beat Captain America: Civil War at the US box office this year? It’s a great sequel about finding home, making friends, and believing in the best of the world. It also features a grumpy octopus, Pixar’s typically stunning animation, and Ellen DeGeneres reprising her Finding Nemo role as an adorable blue fish with short-term memory loss.
This costume tries to celebrate all that by imagining Dory going to the club.
3) Star Wars is perpetually popular, but in 2016 it went Rogue
It takes a special effort to make Stormtroopers look sexy (Rogue One: a Star Wars Story, which comes out in December, will take them to the beach). And by "special effort," I mean that the thought process here was clearly, "Hey, what if we made the armor look like a garter belt and gave the chest plate some boobs?"
4) Harambe the gorilla will never truly die
Harambe was a gorilla who was killed in May after a small child jumped into his pen. Harambe was a gorilla who inspired a meme that will never stop. And in some ways, Harambe will always be a reminder that all of us will die some day, but if we’re particularly special, a gorgeous woman might want to wear our skin to a party.
5) Ken Bone becomes America’s sexiest undecided voter
Obviously, when we look back at the 2016 presidential election, what we’ll really remember is that the most intriguing thing about Ken Bone was his cleavage.
6) The world mourns Prince with this purple pain
In 2016, the world said goodbye to two musical legends: Prince and David Bowie. They touched and inspired millions of people with their music. But somewhere in the music afterlife, you know Bowie, in full Ziggy Stardust regalia, is totally making fun of Prince for this "Adult Purple Pop Star" costume.
7) Donald Trump wants to "make America great again"
The image above depicts 2015’s fabled "Donna T. Rumpshaker" costume, which has actually been around since shortly after Donald Trump announced his plan to run for president. It’s still going strong this year, riding on the momentum of the Republican presidential nominee.
There are also more timely Trump costumes, like the following nightmare factory that imagines Trump as a taco, in response to his demeaning characterizations of Mexicans and one of his supporters’ suggestion that a Hillary Clinton win would mean "taco trucks on every corner":
Bonus: the Kim Kardashian robbery costume that’s already off the market
Of all the costumes on this list, only one has inspired so much outrage that its manufacturer stopped selling it. That "distinction" goes to Costumeish’s Kim Kardashian "robbery" costume lampooning Kardashian’s gunpoint robbery in Paris, where she was bound and gagged by a team of men. Unsurprisingly, the costume immediately spurred controversy, because it’s a tacky failure of a joke about a violent crime.
Further, while the crux of a costume is a bathrobe, it doesn’t even look like a comfortable one. Be better than this costume this Halloween. Even if it means dressing up as a sexy Pikachu.