We all* love using October 31st as an excuse to play dress-up as our favorite film heroes and heroines, but there is a difference between classic characters (Ghostbusters, Holly Golightly, James Bond) and characters du jour. We are currently in The Era Of Frozen And Breaking Bad, but should Elsa and Walter White still be super popular five or ten years from now? Probably not.
The following five costumes are long past their cultural moments and yet remain stubbornly prevalent, making them less "throwback" and more "[yawn]." Please allow me to offer alternatives that, while perhaps unoriginal, aren't ubiquitous.
1. The Corpse Bride from The Corpse Bride
Literally any character in literally any Tim Burton film makes a guaranteed great costume, so why do we always see a hundred blue-faced brides shivering in the late-October night? My theory is that, Lord knows why, many American women own wedding-like lacy white dresses we are looking for an excuse to destroy. If this is the case for you, I suggest Cady's "ex-wife" costume from Mean Girls. It works on two levels: Your dumb friends will think you are an "ex-wife." Your cool friends will know you are Cady as an "ex-wife."
2. The Joker
This costume makes me uncomfortable. Why do so many people find it so fun to pretend to be a psychotic killer from a movie that came out years ago? Don't say it has nothing to do with Heath Ledger's death; humans are sickos. And don't say you're the Jared Leto or Jack Nicholson version; nobody believes you. This costume is either done well and is terrifying, or is done poorly and makes the wearer look like a child playing with mommy's makeup. Just be Beetlejuice.
3. Margot Tenenbaum
We get it, you're a special girl, but this is the Uggs-and-leggings of Halloween costumes. If you insist on looking insufferably vintage chic, throw on the last multi-colored nightmare you bought at Anthropologie (you know you have one) and be Amelie.
4. Jack Sparrow
The Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise ceased to be relevant ages ago. If you want to be a badass, be Han Solo. If you want to be a beloved Disney character, be Mr. Incredible. If you want to wear eyeliner, wear eyeliner. It's your life.
5. Nina in Black Swan
So your fancy outfit was too short and sparkly to turn it into a Corpse Bride ensemble, eh? Fear not, there are two beautiful, hard-working real-life women you can dress up as in a tutu or leotard: Misty Copeland and Michelle Kwan! (Note: If you happen to be Caucasian and are thinking, wow, those women are so inspiring! I think I'll change the pigment of my skin to look more like them, don't. That's racist. Just wear the outfit.)
6. Bonus! Marty McFly from Back To The Future
This costume has been steadily gaining popularity over the past few Halloweens, and it's not hard to see why: dope '80s reference, dope jacket-and-vest combo, and Michael J. Fox is a national treasure. And 2015, of course, is Back To The Future year. So, you know what? Be Marty. Everyone be Marty. Take your pictures. Get it out of your system. Because starting Halloween 2016, Marty McFly is on hiatus. If you're not over your nostalgia by then, you'll have to be Teen Wolf or Elliot from E.T. Make this the Halloween Of McFly. And then, stop.
*Unless you're one of those people who doesn't "do" Halloween, in which case, I pity you.