Tapping into the year's hot topics is one way to make your Halloween scary good—that is, as long as the story isn’t so new that you have to explain it to everyone, or so old that you have to remind your fellow revelers that it even happened. If you're still looking for inspiration, below are a few Halloween costumes that let the news be their muse.

1. CECIL'S REVENGE


Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer hit a nerve last summer when he shot Cecil, a beloved lion who lived on a wildlife preserve in Zimbabwe. PETA responded by conjuring up a Halloween costume depicting Cecil attacking Palmer. The Cecil’s Revenge costume costs $140, with proceeds going to PETA projects. You can recreate this on your own, of course, with a white lab coat, gloves, dentist tools, and a plush lion drawing fake blood. 

2. PIZZA RAT

Vine celebrity Marlo Meekins outfitted her dog with a homemade pizza rat costume as an homage to the pizza-carrying rat recently filmed on the New York City subway stairs. And it only took Yandy, a lingerie-company-turned-costume-shop, two days after the viral video debuted to put a "sexy" spin on the 'za-obsessed rodent.

3. GIORGIO A. TSOUKALOS

24bits, Imgur

Ancient Aliens producer Giorgio A. Tsoukalos'  belief in aliens and his even wilder hair earned him internet notoriety—and inspired a costume that redditor 24bits spotted at Dragon Con. The crucial elements for embodying The History Channel star are the hair, the sign (in impact font), and the pose. The alien print pants are a just a bonus.

4. LEFT SHARK

Terry Robinson via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0

Katy Perry’s halftime show at the 2015 Super Bowl was, by all accounts, pretty jawsome—thanks largely to one of her backup dancers, a bored-looking shark on the audience's left. It didn't take long for competing groups to transform the stage outfit into a Halloween costume. Since the U.S. Trademark Office declined to award a trademark on a Left Shark costume, you can get this costume from any number of vendors. Or make your own. The costume pictured here was seen at Dragon Con 2015.

5. DEEPDREAM MAKEUP

Jennifer Culp

Writer and makeup artist Jennifer Culp designed a Halloween look based on Google’s DeepDream technology, which produces nightmarish images by finding and enhancing any hint of pareidolia in an existing image. Culp imitated DeepDream images you’ve seen by adding eyes—plenty of them—all over her face and neck. Check out her tutorial to duplicate the look for yourself. And if you think this image is disturbing, Culp then ran a picture of her finished face through the DeepDream algorithm. You’ll have to go to the tutorial to see that.

6. HALLOWEEN WHOPPER AND GREEN POOP

Burger King introduced a special edition Whopper for Halloween with a black bun. And though some claim the burger tastes much better than it looks, it will likely also turn your poop very green. That terrifying concept is perfect for an October 31 disguise. HalloweenCostumes.com didn’t have time to manufacture a mass-produced costume, but they have instructions for modifying the accessories they regularly stock to make a Green Poop ensemble. In search of the perfect couples' costume? Make your partner dress up as the offending fast food item. (They sell a Burger King costume, too.)

7. NETFLIX AND CHILL

vrpowell, Imgur

A chilling costume doesn't have to take a lot of effort. Tinder user Vincent Powell turned “Netflix and chill” into something you can wear. To mimic the effect, simply throw on your best red t-shirt and jeans, tape a printed-out Netflix logo to your chest and haul around a bag of ice.

8. Donald Trump

Look like a billion bucks with just a business suit and a blondish toupee—or by sporting Yandy's Donna T. Rumpshaker (above) ensemble. Don't forget the flag pin, heavy bronzer, and the "Make America Great" hat.

9. The Dress

It was the outfit seen 'round the world after Mashable posted about a dress that appeared to be white and gold to some people and black and blue to others. The optical illusion had people arguing for weeks and launched a thousand jokes. Unfortunately, the original frock (dubbed “The Dress” in honor of the viral post) by Roman Originals is sold out. But you can slip into Yandy's costume version, which won't force you to choose sides.