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Halloween is coming up, and as Cracked's resident costuming expert, I thought this would be a suitable time to relay some tips on how to pick a costume that best conceals your wretched body from your peers.

But first, some assumptions. I'm assuming that you are an adult and wish for a costume to conceal your wretched body while doing adult things. If you're a kid, go away.

Also note that by "adult things," I don't mean sexy sex things, which would necessitate taking parts of your costume off, exposing your wretched body. No, I just mean regular, day-to-day adult things that you might do at a party. Eating, talking, drinking -- adult things like that.

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Doing your taxes.

Also relevant: I'm not a girl. And although most of the tips below will still apply to the fair gender, I'm not going to be as familiar with the unique challenges of concealing their (lovely) wretched bodies. For example, I have little advice to offer on how to best face the challenge of selecting a costume from an industry that knows only one adjective.

So, you know, best of luck with that particular minefield, ladies. Though I don't think you'll go too far wrong dressing up as that sexiest of female pop culture figures, Ms. Pac-Man.

Now then, on to the dope costuming tips.

Keep Your Mouth Free

The mouth is the window to the stomach. And the lungs, and the bladder. Also, it helps you spew jokes. Basically, you need your mouth free to do about half of the adult activities you planned for this party, and a couple adult activities you might hope to engage in after the party.

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This, and also playing the oboe.

Any costume that involves a mask or helmet or elaborate makeup around the mouth should be avoided. If you have to take half your costume off to enjoy yourself at a party, what's even the point? No one wants to see a clown with gin-smeared makeup or the back half of a horse cruising girls while trying to explain that he's actually a centaur.

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"She's not buying it, Steve. Get back in formation."

Seriously. Save yourself some hassle in the design phase to better enjoy your gin and chuckle-dealing later.

Play Your Own Race, Please

This shouldn't need to be said, but man, if saying it stops even one person from "hilariously" dressing up as a race that isn't their own, it'll be worth it. No matter what your intention, no matter how hilarious your joke, no matter how respectful your interpretation of that particular race's cultural garb, you are making a huge mistake.

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"Trevor! What have we told you about being problematic!"

Your general goal with picking a costume is to amuse and delight the people around you -- not start conversations that begin with accusations. And because the list of verbs you're unintentionally (maybe intentionally) committing include "mocking," "trivializing," "bastardizing," "insulting," and "hate-mongering," you're not going to be too popular.

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If you can't monger acceptance, don't monger anything at all.

Also, if you're wearing one of these costumes ironically, no, no you're not. People won't be impressed or amused, and you will be forever known in their eyes as "that jackass," or worse, as "that jackass someone set on fire."

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No Pun Costumes

If you're ever foolish enough to look in the "humor" section of a costume store, you'll see a lot of these. Party Animal, and Deviled Egg, and French Toast, and stuff like that.

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Oh, yes, Monkey Business; well done, you.

But the worst of these are homemade, slapped together by someone with a third-grade sense of humor and five minutes of free time. Someone puts on an apron and carries around an iron to become an Iron Chef or glues a carrot to their fucking head to become a Carrot Top. If your costume is designed to be stared at for precisely three seconds longer than it takes to get awkward before someone asks you, "Sorry, what are you supposed to be?" then you're on the wrong track.

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Put down your little shovel and Burger King crown, and toss your stupid joke in the garbage where it belongs.

I don't actually despise puns, even if I don't make heavy use of them in my own comedic masterpieces. They have their place, I think. But that place is getting on and off the stage as fast as fucking possible. If a pun is funny -- and lots aren't -- then they're funny for a very short time. Using one as the premise of a costume that you're going to wear around a party for a couple hours is insane.

People Respect Effort

Let's restate our goal here. We're not trying to dress up as someone else to pull off a daring heist or infiltrate a coven. We're doing this to impress our friends, co-workers, and various people we might want to sleep with. And what impresses people more than anything else is effort. Whether it's full theatrical makeup, an elaborate papier-mache codpiece, or an actual functioning lightsaber, if your costume looks like it took a ton of effort to assemble, that will make people applaud and admire you.

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If your lightsaber is a replica, they will spit on and scorn you.

Remember how parties work. It's all about talking to people, and your costume and the effort you put into it will serve as an incredibly effective conversation starter. Where you go from there, conversation-wise, will depend on your own natural charm and the amount of welding fumes you inhaled while assembling said costume, but you'll at least be off to a head start when compared with the guy who spent $12 on a costume that looks like it's worth exactly $12.

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"Yarrrr, I had a busy week."

Also, sometimes it's just fun putting a ton of effort into something. It's nice to give a damn sometimes. And, critically, people who give a damn about something, even if it's turning themselves into a liquid-filled Kool-Aid Man suit, look cooler. Effort is sexy.

But if you don't have time for effort ...

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An Adult In A Child's Costume Is Always Hilarious

... then just pour yourself into a child's costume.

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Remove the child first.

Note that I don't mean an adult-sized costume of a child, which are real and horrific. No, I'm referring to a costume, meant and sized for children, worn by an adult via a system of modifications and artful squeezing.

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An adult wearing a child's costume keys on a lot of human emotions. Horror, obviously -- a visual expression of terror wrought from polyester and padding. Also, humor. There is a universal comedy inherent in seeing a large thing put in a small container.

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Which is why seeing a single clown in a car is so upsetting.

You can then amplify the comedy/horror angle you're working by taking on the aspect of a child and saying typical childish things like, "Trick or treat," or, "Give me some motherfucking candy," or, "Our bodies are vessels. Soon will come the Great Decanting."

Now that will start some conversations.

Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and has ended lots of conversations too. His first novel, Severance, is incredible and available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Apex Books. Join him on Facebook or Twitter.

Another tip for what not to wear on Halloween: Don't go as a sexy still-in-the-box Barbie doll, as seen in 26 Sexy Halloween Costumes That Shouldn't Exist. See what else to avoid in 8 Racist Halloween Costumes People Apparently Still Wear.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch Cody sing a slutty song in Slutty Halloween Costumes: A Carefully Worded Tribute, and watch other videos you won't see on the site!

Also follow us on Facebook, and tell us in the comments section of any article what costume you'll be wearing. Any article you want. We'll listen.

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