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amazon / rebecca o'connell

12 Pop Culture Costumes You Can Put Together Yourself

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amazon / rebecca o'connell

This year, skip the Halloween store—and the generic costume. Instead of pulling something pre-made out of a plastic bag, shop around and concoct the perfect outfit. Here are some timely costumes to try this Halloween.


Let’s get the most obvious option out of the way. There will probably be a lot of people slinging baseball bats this year—but popularity is also the sign of a good costume, so if you want to go the Quinn route, we’re here to help. We recommend a baseball tee, hot pants, fishnet leggings, a baseball bat, and lots of red and blue hair dye. You can take the look a step further with a Puddin’ necklace and Joker jacket.


Sure, you can pick up a Ghostbusters suit at the store, but we know you’re looking for something a little less obvious. Consider being Erin when she’s off duty. You just need an MIT sweatshirt, jeans, and rain boots.


If you don’t want to sacrifice style when dressing up this Halloween, you might as well be the beloved toothless jokester from the new hit Netflix show, Stranger Things. All you need is a tri-color hat, green graphic tee, brown corduroy pants, and a denim jacket. The exact plaid-lined jacket Dustin wears might be hard to find, but you can always mix a navy jacket with a red plaid shirt.


For another take on Stranger Things, dial it up to Eleven by buying a long sleeved pink dress, navy jacket, athletic socks, and a blonde wig (optional). Telekinetic powers sold separately.


Social media mavens can cover a lot of bases with this costume, which can be either the dog emoji or the dog filter in Snapchat—and it's relatively easy to pull off. Just grab some face paint and some brown or piebald ears.


Getting the perfect Judy look will be a total snap. Basically all you need to do is combine two costumes—a police officer and a bunny. Instead of hopping over to the nearest costume store, look online for these things: a light blue turtleneck, a navy vest, blue leggings, a police badge, bunny feet, and ears.


We don't blame you for envying Pablo Escobar's impressive sweater game in the second season of Netflix’s show Narcos. Thankfully, it won’t be hard to steal this drug lord’s look for Halloween, especially if you have a mustache. All you need is a white button down, khakis, and of course, Pablo's amazing handcuff knot sweater.



Princess Carolyn has had a tough year this season, but that doesn’t mean she won’t land on her feet (she is, after all, a cat). Celebrate the former agent’s new job as a manager by dressing up as Amy Sedaris’s character this Halloween. Pick up a yellow cardigan, teal dress, triangle necklace, red pumps, pink wig, and cat ears.


Netflix's The Get Down has great characters, catchy music, and stylish outfits. Get the main character's retro look with a navy polo shirt, a navy cable sweater vest and brown bell-bottom pants.



You can be pretty much any character from Netflix’s show, Orange is the New Black, with the help of a pair of tan scrubs. Couple that with a pair of black boots and it’s simply a matter of styling your hair. Some inmates also like to wear a shirt underneath their scrubs, so pick your character and look into that before you buy.


Obsessed with Pokemon Go? Prepare to rock the easiest couple costume of all time. You can pick up a Pikachu or Charmander onesie and immediately transform into a Pokemon. Then, just have a similarly Pokemon Go-obsessed friend or significant other follow you around with their phone out.


Ilana has so many insanely fun outfits that it seems criminal to just choose one. In one episode, Abbi dresses up like Ilana in an elaborate co-op con job. Since this costume can also be Abbi as Ilana, it seems like the most fun costume choice. To perfect this look, you need a leather fanny pack, tie-dye leggings, mesh crop top, and Ilana’s signature bralette. Bonus points if you also get her hot dog phone case.

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How Urban Legends Like 'The Licked Hand' Are Born
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If you compare the scary stories you heard as a kid with those of your friends—even those who grew up across the country from you—you’ll probably hear some familiar tales. Maybe you tried to summon Bloody Mary by chanting her name in front of the mirror three times in a dark bathroom. Maybe you learned never to wonder what’s under a woman’s neck ribbon. Maybe you heard the one about the girl who feels her dog lick her hand in the middle of the night, only to wake up to find him hanging dead from the shower nozzle, the words “humans can lick too” written on the wall in the dog’s blood.

These ubiquitous, spooky folk tales exist everywhere, and a lot of them take surprisingly similar forms. How does a single story like the one often called “Humans Can Lick Too” or "The Licked Hand" make its way into every slumber party in America? Thrillist recently investigated the question with a few experts, finding that most of these stories have very deep roots.

In the case of The Licked Hand, its origins go back more than a century. In the 1990s, Snopes found that a similar motif dates back to an Englishman’s diary entry from 1871. In it, the diary keeper, Dearman Birchall, retold a story he heard at a party of a man whose wife woke him up in the middle of the night, urging him to go investigate what sounded like burglars in their home. He told his wife that it was only the dog, reaching out his hand. He felt the dog lick his hand … but in the morning, all his valuables were gone: He had clearly been robbed.

A similar theme shows up in the short story “The Diary of Mr. Poynter,” published in 1919 by M.R. James. In it, a character dozes off in an armchair, and thinks that he is petting his dog. It turns out, it’s some kind of hairy human figure that he flees from. The story seems to have evolved from there into its presently popular form, picking up steam in the 1960s. As with any folk tale, its exact form changes depending on the teller: sometimes the main character is an old lady, other times it’s a young girl.

You’ll probably hear these stories in the context of happening to a “friend of a friend,” making you more likely to believe the tale. It practically happened to someone you know! Kind of! The setting, too, is probably somewhere nearby. It might be in your neighborhood, or down by the local railroad tracks.

Thrillist spoke to Dr. Joseph Stubbersfield, a researcher in the UK who studies urban legends, who says the kind of stories that spread widely contain both social information and emotional resonance. Meaning they contain a message—you never know who’s lurking in your house—and are evocative.

If something is super scary or gross, you want to share it. Stories tend to warn against something: A study of English-language urban legends circulating online found that most warned listeners about the hazards of life (poisonous plants, dangerous animals, dangerous humans) rather than any kind of opportunities. We like to warn each other of the dangers that could be lurking around every corner, which makes sense considering our proven propensity to focus on and learn from negative information. And yes, that means telling each other to watch out for who’s licking our hands in the middle of the night.

Just something to keep in mind as you eagerly await Jezebel’s annual scary story contest.

[h/t Thrillist]

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Live Smarter
How to Make Sure Your Child’s Halloween Costume is Safe
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For kids, Halloween is a time to let their imaginations run wild and offers them chance to inhabit some of their favorite characters. For parents, it’s a time to make sure their children don’t gorge on candy and that costumes don’t pose any unnecessary dangers. Owing to poor production quality or design, some outfits and masks hold the potential for tripping, skin irritation, or—very rarely—becoming a fire hazard, ABC News reports.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are a few ways to mitigate those risks. When shopping for costumes, look for nylon or polyester materials or tags that indicate the material is flame-resistant. Flimsy fabrics, particularly in outfits with long sleeves or big skirts, might brush up against candles and ignite.

Mobility is another concern: If a costume has a long skirt, it shouldn’t interfere with walking. Masks shouldn’t significantly obstruct vision and should provide ample ventilation; kids should be advised to lift them up when crossing streets to make sure they can see crossing traffic. For trick-or-treating after dark, reflective stripes on treat bags can help visibility for passing motorists.

Kids who get together to try on one another’s costumes pose a less serious, though potentially troublesome, hazard: head lice, which can be passed from sharing masks and costumes. If your child plans on exchanging disguises, sealing the costumes in plastic bags for 48 hours or drying them on high heat for 45 minutes should kill any pests.

[h/t ABC News]


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