Photo by Tracy Ducasse

As Joss Whedon’s great horror character Buffy the Vampire Slayer remarked, Halloween is “come as you aren’t night.” Oct. 31 is once again upon us, the first of the waist-expanding end-of-the-year holidays, which, considering the sexy outfits, is not free of irony.

All Hallow’s Eve has become a night of frolic and daring, and the fun begins months in advance for some — and not just the costume companies. My own brother at 24-years-old lives by the credo of The Nightmare before Christmas, lamenting that once one Halloween is over, he has only 364 days left to create a whole new costume. I myself have some old standbys, but last year thought to shake it up and bought a whole new witch’s outfit. I then proceeded to justify a 28-year-old trick-or-treating by carrying my cat through the neighborhood, explaining that it was her first year out. This tactic produced many sugary profits from the streets of Sugarhouse. My crotchety old cat, of course, was less than thrilled to be hauled anywhere near shrieking kids, howling winds and moaning feline rivals.

When it comes to costume ideas, the gloves come off. Billy Atsitty, a senior majoring in Psychology, says she plans to go as a mob boss “‘cuz I run dis shizz!” Her roommate, Brittini Shorty, a junior Psychology major, will join the pantheon of Greek gods as Athena, minus the owl, since owls, according to Shorty, spell “bad juju with Native Americans.”

While many students had no idea even two weeks prior as to what they would be dressing up as, they were still sure it would be something. One girl said she and her sisters dress to match. This year they are ninjas; a few years ago it was as farm animals. Now that is original.

Of course, there are the classic witches, ghosts, Power Rangers and sexy love kittens. Some things never go out of style — except, perhaps, that purple Teletubby costume. But just because they’re classics doesn’t mean that you can’t put a new twist on it. If you’re going to be a ninja, wear a real sword and appear as if from nowhere, especially in front of people texting while they walk. If you’re going as Mario or Luigi, always a popular idea, carry around some brightly colored mushrooms to show off to friends. No, don’t do that. Just wear the raccoon ears and tail.

According to popular makeup and costume shop Taylor Maid, 2010’s hot items are an equal mix of Avatar and Alice in Wonderland characters, particularly the Mad Hatter, with Pirates of the Caribbean coming in for a close third. According to students at UVU, the popularity of some costumes this year does seem to revolve around recent epic films. Taylor Maid has thousands of costume ideas and pieces both to rent and buy. If you’re looking for something, that is the place to go.

Naturally, there are the Harry Potters and the new breed of vampire costume, the Cullens. Harry Potter and Twilight have set off a new wave of the witch/wizard and vampire/werewolf craze that has permeated Halloween for so long. This new wave brings new ideas from extra sparkle skin glitter, chokers and hair no weather dares to destroy, to robes, wands and circular glasses just below a lightning bolt-shaped temporary tattoo.

No matter what the costume ideas, whether as a group, a couple or flying solo, Halloween is the time to shake it up and boogie down in a no-holds-barred fashion show of originality and fun. Don’t be afraid of being the only one to dress up; I’ll be out there too.