As a lifelong Halloween enthusiast, I give a lot of thought to my costume every year and pay close attention the costume choices of others. This year (okay, today) I decided to put together a mishmash of my Halloween greatest hits, compiled from favorite costumes I've worn, costumes I've seen, costumes I've wanted to do but was too lazy/inept to put together, and one costume idea I found by trolling the Internet.

If this list can prevent just one woman from giving in and buying a Sexy Watermelon costume, the endeavor will have been worthwhile.

In no particular order:

Hysterical Beauty Pageant Winner/Homecoming Queen

A few years ago I joined in on a Halloween scavenger hunt in New York City, and a fellow participant came as a recently crowned Miss Something-or-other. It's a simple costume, but it requires some commitment and a vanity check. All you need is a long evening gown, a bouquet of roses, a tiara, and mascara-streaked tears running down your face. This particular girl took it to the next level, staying in character and fake sobbing most of the evening. She rightly won first prize in the costume competition. (I dressed as Lady Macbeth that year. I rented a thousand-pound dress from a Broadway costumer and painted the inside of my hands with red nail polish. Nobody got it).

Bianca Jagger

For someone like Bianca Jagger, you can break the cardinal costume rule of never dressing like a celebrity who is hotter than you are. Why? This rule can be bent when said celebrity is of a different generation than your own, unless it's Marilyn Monroe. Since I don't look anything at all like Bianca Jagger, I decided to get more specific and go as Bianca Jagger riding a white horse into Studio 54 on her 30th Birthday. To do this, you don't need an actual live horse. You can use something called a hobby horse, which is a long stick with a horse's head on the end of it.

However, for some reason, white hobby horses are very difficult to come by, so if you're interested, start looking for one yesterday. I eventually threw in the towel and got a brown hobby horse and spray painted it white. One person got it.

One Night Stand

Lots of people end up being one night stands on Halloween, even when it has nothing directly to do with their costumes. But one of best costumes I have ever seen was indeed a one night stand - as in one nightstand. A lot of work went into this one, and I'm not entirely sure how the guy did it. He basically built a table around himself, with material sturdy enough to keep upright a box of tissues, some condoms, and some other indicators of a nightstand. Surely there was plenty of crazy glue involved, and the guy didn't look particularly comfortable, but his costume sure was a hit. Not recommended for amateurs.

Solid Gold Dancer

This is inadvertently the sluttiest costume I've ever worn. It's also one of my favorites. I wasn't going for slutty or even particularly sexy, but it turns out that when you wear an outfit the covers only four percent of your body mass, slutty just can't be avoided.

I had a crafty friend help me with this costume, but I remember some essential pieces -- like gold lamé hot pants -- were acquired from American Apparel. For the rest, a few yards of gold fabric and a sewing machine were involved. Also, gold spray paint.

The Solid Gold dancer costume taught me an important lesson I will never forget: Curling irons are useless when attempting to do Farrah Fawcett wings. It's all in the blowdry.

The Shining Twins

I can't believe I've only seen this costume once, because it's a perfect combination of low investment and high impact. Maybe it's because you need two girls/women who look sort of alike to be equally on board. In any event, this is what you need to look like:

Or this, if you're over the age of seven. Granted, these ladies appear to have a slight genetic advantage:

Disco Ball

This costume has been on my shortlist many a year, but I haven't yet pulled the trigger, and I don't see getting it together for 2011. Some nice person has posted an Instructable on how to make a homemade disco ball costume. Depending on the length, Disco Ball can become Slutty Disco Ball pretty easily, if that's what you're going for.

I kind of wish the Instructable was a little more specific about where one might find mirrored material, since that's kind of essential. I found some that you can order online here but I can't vet the source. Also, I don't know of any plastic dome shops in my neighborhood. But still, a pretty kickass costume.

A Roy Lichtenstein Character

Disclaimer: I have never seen this costume in live action, and it never occurred to me as a possibility. I randomly stumbled across a photo of a stranger in this costume and I thought it was too awesome not to include. (Sorry I can't publish the photo itself). The key to this costume idea is the makeup, which the genius in the Flickr photo figured out. Lots of little red dots equidistant from each other. This costume clearly requires some patience, and perhaps a professional makeup artist.

Here's the overall effect you'd be going for:

Fundamentalist Compound Wife

Sure, this is probably not the most sensitive costume, and it skews a bit topical a la the Warren Jeffs trial, but I can't not mention it. This is a clever, low maintenance costume idea that bucks the slutty slut trend better than any other costume I can think of. The best part: It works well as a solo or group costume. And most of the necessary wardrobe items can be found at a thrift store.

You'll want to look something like this: (Infant optional)

Happy Halloween!