I've always seen cooking as a chore. It's NEVER as easy as Rachael Ray makes it out to be. Besides, I lack the ability, time (30 Minute Meals end up taking me well over an hour), and money to create anything edible without using a microwave. I finally threw in the kitchen towel and began looking for an answer to my cooking woes.
My saving grace came in the form of a website I stumbled upon advertising, "400 Recipes with 5 Ingredients or Less." What a truly brilliant concept! Not only did the recipes reform my thoughts and feelings about cooking dinner, I became inspired to think of other ways I could apply the "5 ingredients or less" rule.
For instance, I knew I wanted to write an article including a top 10 list of the best costumes I'd ever seen, but how could I connect one idea to the other? As I began to make my list of memorable Halloween characters, it came to me. All my favorites had one thing in common: they were all perfectly simple, but yet so completely clever it made me like them that much more.
So here they are, my top 10 list of Halloween costumes, 5 ingredients or less:
1. Dry cleaning
Ingredients: 1 plastic dry cleaning bag, 1 wire hanger, 1 dry cleaning ticket
Cooking instructions: Cut a hole at the top of the bag large enough to fit your head through. Carefully staple or pin your ticket to the front. Bend the hanger to create a sort of headband (can secure with bobby pins).
2. Black-eyed Pea
Ingredients: 1 piece black construction paper, 1 piece of yarn, twine, or string at least 30" in length, black face paint or shoe polish
Cooking instructions: Use the black face paint/shoe polish to cover one of your eyes. Next, cut the construction paper in the shape of the letter "P" (can draw it on in pencil first). Carefully poke two holes in the top of the "P" and attach the yarn on both sides. Hang the "P" around your neck.
Ingredients: 1 camera (must have flash), 1 person to follow around all night, 1 "press pass" (you can easily make this out of an old photo of you, cardboard, and something to secure it around your neck with), somewhat grubby clothing
Cooking instructions: Sport your press pass and somewhat grubby clothing and walk around taking pictures all night. This will be much more believable if you are really in your "celebrity's" personal space.
4. "Deal or No Deal" Model
Ingredients: 1 semi-skimpy dress, 1 case (can use a lunch box painted silver; don't forget to put a number on the front of it), 1 giant smile
Cooking instructions: Wear the dress with confidence. Hold the case in front of you and stand in place whenever possible. This would be a perfect idea for couples because your significant other could play Howie Mandel (1 suit, 1 "bald" head) and go around asking people, "Deal or No Deal?" all night. If you really want to have fun with it, have the male dress as the model.
5. Verizon Guy
Ingredients: 1 pair of black rimmed glasses, 1 cell phone, 1 dark jacket (with Verizon "patch" attached to the front), 1 pair of khaki pants
Cooking instructions: Mix equal parts and walk around saying, "Can you hear me know? Good!" all night.
6. Publishing Clearing House Winner
Ingredients: 1 bathrobe, several pink foam rollers (for hair), 1 giant check (made from poster board)
Cooking instructions: Wrap yourself in the robe and your hair in the curlers. This costume will be best if you really SELL it. Grab that giant check and scream/cry/run around like a crazy person. If you get a friend or family member to dress as Ed McMahon, you'll be cooking with grease!
7. Walking Infomercial
Ingredients: 1 product made famous by infomercials (i.e. Magic Bullet, Ronco Rotisserie, Thigh Master), plentiful amount of enthusiasm for that product
Cooking instructions: Spend the night singing the product's praises, making "demonstrations", and using catch phrases for your product ("Set it and forget it!").
8. Myspace Page
Ingredients: 1 large piece of poster board or cardboard, assorted markers, 1 computer with myspace.com pulled up to use for reference
Cooking instructions: This is the only recipe on the list that takes a higher level of artistic ability and some extra time. Mark in pencil the basic outline for your page. Make sure to cut a hole where your photo would go (this is where you'll insert your face. Don't forget your quote, interests, about me, details, list of friends (don't forget Tom!), and a list of comments. Go back over your outline in markers. If you really want to go all out, you can include a song and bring around a portable cd player to play it (make sure the song's on repeat).
9. Movie Theater Floor
Ingredients: 1 grey sweatsuit, 1 snack size bag of popcorn (popped), 2 pieces of gum (chewed), 3-4 cups (preferably the kind you get at the movie theater), 3-4 candy wrappers/boxes (goobers, twizzlers, milk duds and junior mints will be the most believable)
Cooking instructions: Don the sweatsuit, and then go to town sticking the other items to yourself. Make sure to stick individual pieces of popcorn instead of the whole bag. The candy and popcorn should be nice and stepped on before application (the more crushed and sticky the items are the better).
10. The Second Amendment
Ingredients: 2 equally sized pieces of furry fabric (preferably black or brown)
Cooking instructions: Fasten the pieces of fabric so they cover your entire arms. Make sure the sleeves of your shirt cover where the fabric begins. You may want to wear a sign on this one, or you might have everyone asking you what you are all night.
Still looking for inspiration? Look to TV shows (A co-worker of mine last year went as Ugly Betty-all it required was a black wig, a poncho, and wax lips that showed teeth, to which she drew on braces), TV commercials (my all-time favorite costumes were the sponge monkeys from a Quizno's commercial-very obscure, but also very funny), Puns (the boyfriend of a fellow consultant wore a toga and a sign that read "God's gift to women), Movies (consider going as a lesser known character-instead of dressing up as Luke Skywalker from Star Wars, why not be a Tusken Raider?), and Miscellaneous objects (How about going as a junk drawer?-just dump out the contents of your junk drawer and attach them all to your clothing). Don't be afraid to accessorize with man's best friend. The cutest kid's costume I've seen was a boy dressed as Harry Potter. What set him apart was he brought along his dog. The pooch was sporting two extra heads (taken from stuffed animals) in order to be transformed into the "beastly" Fluffy.
I hope you have seen how easy it can be to create Halloween costumes. Just remember the main ingredients will always be a little imagination and a good sense of humor. Halloween will be here before we know it, so get cooking!