Superheroes have always been easy, fun choices for Halloween costumes. You get to dress up as the guy or girl you watched in cartoons as a kid, and usually the store-made costumes come with fake muscle padding that boosts your confidence—and that’s before alcohol!
Superhero vogue changes from year to year, so, for better or worse, let’s check out what’s on the table for spandex costumes this year.
Holy Embarrassing photo, batman! Note to the Caped Crusader (below) and The Green Lantern: When using Flickr, you may want to unclick the “creative commons” box if you don’t want to end up in a college newspaper.
Imagine the muffled snickers when everyone at the party realizes that you dressed up as the lamest Super Friend ever. Portland is a cynical town, but even so, no one is going to believe that you only talk to fish ironically. You could go as that crusty hobo Aquaman who has long hair and a big beard, but then everyone would confuse you for every white male in Portland over the age of 23.
Catwoman (Halle Berry version)
Ever get that feeling that because you won an Oscar you can do absolutely anything without even reading a script? If so, Halle Berry Catwoman is for you! Ten years down the line, people will still be writing about how memorably awful your costume was, and you’ll admit to yourself that you probably should have gone as Storm instead.
That confused, hazy expression of almost-recognition is the look of someone almost, sort of recalling that the guy who played Van Wilder was also a superhero once. A space cop with the power to create anything with his mind might sound cool, but trust me, don’t go through with it. You’ll regret being Green Lantern in the morning when you realize that you spent $250 million on a CGI suit and no one remembers who you were for Halloween.
Aside from a flaming skull and a motorcycle from hell causing a little bit of trouble in the practicality department, come on, you were already Ghost Rider a few years ago. Nobody liked it then, and nobody asked you to bring it back. Instead, consider going as Homeless Nicolas Cage. Don’t forget your cardboard sign that reads: “Will do National Treasure 3 for gambling money.”
As far as powerless Avengers go, Black Widow is on par with Hawkeye. It’s a real shame, but the token female of the year’s biggest movie was only as cool as the guy with the bow and arrow. The harsh truth: The moment you walk in the room, even your skintight lycra suit won’t distract everyone from waiting for you to leave and for the Hulk or Robert Downey Jr. to return.
The absolute classic, go-to superhero costume. You’re buff and mysterious; you always sort of have this frog in your throat, but no one cares because you’re as rich as Mitt Romney. You really can’t go wrong with Batman. As long as you don’t get the George Clooney suit with the bat-nipples, you’re golden.
Catwoman (any of them but Halle Berry)
Eartha Kitt, Michelle Pfieffer, Anne Hathaway—all have their own unique Catwoman looks, and none of the actresses that made them popular have sunk into direct-to-Netflix purgatory. Choose any version you like, just don’t be surprised if there are plenty of other girls dressed as sexy cats without the goofy night vision goggles.
Forget the fact that this outfit requires a tight corset, high-heeled boots and star-spangled underpants. You also get a sweet tiara, matching bracelets and the Lasso of Truth. The latter comes in handy when you are absolutely positive that you were the last one to buy toilet paper but your roommate denies it.
“Wait, who?” you ask. Squirrel Girl is an obscure Marvel Comics character that has kicked a surprising amount of ass over the years. And if you’re set as dressing up as some sort of cute furry critter for Halloween, it might as well be one that has whooped Doctor Doom.
Though technically not a superhero, Bane is still a valid choice, especially since this is probably the only year this costume will be cool. Hopefully you’re stacked enough that people will be focused on how totally rad your guns look in a tank top and not the fact that your accent is somehow German, Russian, Spanish and Iranian all at once.