The holiday season can be incredibly stressful — you know, the one going on right now.
Perhaps the only holiday stress that can rival that of the sheer disaster that is December is the Halloween season, when you have to (gasp!) come up with the perfect Halloween costume that impresses your friends and shows them just how hilarious you truly are.
So for the second time, we at Billy Penn came up with a few Philadelphia-centric Halloween costumes that are topical, witty and will only be understood by a select few people who actually pay attention to the news. (Halloween is a great way to alienate your most clueless friends, isn’t it?)
The below video is a quick rundown of each of the costumes we came up with for 2017, and be sure to check out our 2016 ideas, some of which might still work this time around.
We broke down each costume to show you what you need and how you can make it at home just in time for your Halloween party:
Zombie Fat Ham
Total cost: $5
Top Chef winner Kevin Sbraga isn’t exactly, um, #winning in Philadelphia. His restaurant empire collapsed this summer with the closure of his King of Prussia outpost of The Fat Ham, which was his last remaining spot. So with a little bit of makeup, a notebook, and some pink clothing, we created the “Zombie Fat Ham.”
The zombie makeup was $5 at Five Below (it wasn’t that great, though), and we used pink construction paper, tape and rubber bands to make a sorta rudimentary pig nose. Wanna take it even further? Stuff some pillows under that pink clothing and be truly Fat.
Mike and Tonya Stack
Total cost: $6.39
Calling all Philadelphia power couples: We have your costume all figured out. Mike and Tonya Stack have somehow become one of the most talked-about couples in Philadelphia’s political scene.
Mike Stack, a former state senator who’s now the embattled lieutenant governor, and his wife Tonya have come under fire for allegedly mistreating their staff and using taxpayer dollars to cover some questionable expenses. In one case, the lieutenant governor billed the state thousands of dollars to cover groceries like New York strip steak, lump crab meat and lobster.
Here, Billy Penn reporter Mark Dent went with a “sporty Mike Stack” look, as the politician is known as one of the best-dressed men in Harrisburg. Reporter Anna Orso is dressed as his wife Tonya, who’s holding some credit cards and a lobster dog toy we got for $6.39 on Amazon.
Total cost: ???
This costume — an homage to the omnipresent Awareness Cone — is pretty dependent on you owning (or coming into ownership of…) a traffic cone. Sports Editor Dan Levy wore all orange and put a cone we keep in the office (no questions, please) on his head. Can we also direct you toward this traffic cone hat for $8.99?
Pat Toomey’s answering machine
Total cost: $0, assuming you’ve got the right accessories laying around
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-PA, said his phone rang off the hook this year. Particularly following President Trump’s election (and Toomey’s own reelection), concerned constituents and activists flooded Toomey’s phone lines about everything from healthcare to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
Here, reporter Peak Johnson is dressed as “Pat Toomey’s answering machine.” We colored cardboard to look like a landline phone, attached a red blinking bike light and used Velcro to fasten on a phone. To perfect the Toomey costume, never pick up the phone.
Total cost: 99 cents
Want to dress up as our ex-district attorney? The one who’s currently in jail awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to accepting bribes from a campaign donor? Dress up in a suit and carry a “cigar” — we went with a two-pack of pineapple flavored dutches from Wawa — and don’t forget that self-portrait.
The eternal protester
Total cost: $0
This was the year of the protest, no doubt about it. In addition to our favorite “Trust the Protest” sign, Peak held a notebook attached to a paint stirrer with a rotating list of hot takes. Make your own by adding in a whole list of stances, whether they’re actually what you believe or just ridiculous and funny. (May we suggest “Apple Picking Sucks”?)
The camel prom squad
Total cost: $15.60
The camel prom squad costume is by far our most expensive. And it was well worth it.
Here, Billy Penn staff members recreate that epic, Dubai-themed, $25,000 prom send-off put together by a North Philly mom. This is a group costume, for sure. We have the main guy dressed in a suit, two (!) prom dates and, of course, the camel. Our dancing camel is wearing a mask we found on Amazon for $15.60. And yes, it’s eligible for two-day shipping if you’ve got Prime. The tuxedo t-shirt wasn’t part of the costume. Our camel just wanted to look nice. But it would run you around 10 bucks.
A North Broad Street light pole
Total cost: $9.99
It’s easy to make fun of those heinous North Broad Street light poles this Halloween. Just slap on some gray and silver clothing and attach bike lights to your body with duct tape. (Bear with us on this one, guys.) We found a six-pack of white bike lights on Amazon for $9.99. Score.