Carving pumpkins, building bonfires, bobbing for apples, harvesting crops ... ah Halloween, it used to be such a simple time.

These days it's pretty difficult to participate in the annual celebrations unless you've got a costume - and a white sheet with two holes cut in it won't impress anyone.

It's alright when you're a kid - people think you're adorable no matter what you're dressed in, and the messier your face paint is, the better.

But as an adult, if you are indulging your inner child with some Halloween shenanigans, coming up with a clever costume is a ponderous task.


Fortunately the TimeOut team have been thinking on it, and we've come up with some suggestions.

Last weekend's Armageddon Expo is a good source of inspiration. For what is Armageddon after all, if not a sort of Halloween celebration for grown-ups? These days Halloween is less about ghosts and ghouls (or pagan rituals) and more an excuse to dress as your favourite cult film figure/anime character/gaming hero/obscure supporting character from that 70s show (Not, That 70s Show) only you remember.

You do have to be careful - you can't be passe if you want to be down with those lolly-fuelled kids. So be aware that vampires and werewolves are a little 2011, as is Lady Gaga. And that green wig and white face-paint which came in handy when wanting to dress as The Joker a la Heath Ledger, should now be swapped for a small cheese grater strapped to the face (get an adult to help you) and sheepskin coat. Add a low, growling, incomprehensible voice. You'll look just like Bane.

Harry Potter is also a bit out-of-date now. But your old Dumbledore costume could be dyed grey so you can play whatshisname from The Hobbit.

Or take your cue from Radiohead's Thom Yorke, and think about doing a Gollum.

Prometheus could also be a source of inspiration, though maybe you should have gone to the gym a lot earlier to play one of those cosmic engineer blokes. Some might prefer to give their costume a local flavour. If next Wednesday you see someone wandering around in jeans and a T-shirt, holding a beer, and asking for candy, don't be afraid, he's probably come as one of The Almighty Johnsons.

If you've got a sumo suit handy, you could always throw that on, along with a black cap, black shirt, black trousers, a German accent, and presto! Kim Dotcom. Just make sure the kids don't mistake you for a gothic bouncy castle.

Or if it's getting a little warm for a sumo suit, gents can just take their tops off, rub baby oil all over, and then spend an hour doing their hair. It'll be like Tame from The GC has been cloned.

And ladies, here's a recipe to have the paparazzi chasing you in no time: pair up, and take one pair of boxing gloves, one curly blond wig, and, with a cellphone permanently attached to your hand, go and hang out on Ponsonby Rd.

Or if you're a couple, find some lycra and some performance enhancing drugs, and go as Lance Armstrong with disgraced Belarusian shot-putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk on his arm.

Of course there's one costume that seems particularly suitable - just find a white prom suit and some dark sunglasses, and you too can be mysterious Korean rock star Psy. There's nothing scarier than a global hit with incomprehensible lyrics after all. You'll have to learn the Gangnam Style dance moves though.

Won't that be a real treat?