Traditionally, Halloween is the one day when very nice young ladies can put on very revealing clothes they would never ordinarily wear in public, and do so with almost total impunity. It's the rare woman who is wholly and forever immune to the annual tarty impulse -- we ourselves went as naughty schoolgirls something like three years in a row back in our misspent youth -- but there's a way to sex it up with whimsy and a way to do it with skankitude. God bless celebrities for illuminating those subtle differences for us.
Do: Consider Something Easy
Going as a witch for Halloween is about as revolutionary as cutting holes in a sheet and calling yourself a ghost. But some costumes are classic for a reason: They're simple and adaptable. Melina Kanakaredes of "CSI: New York
" put a figure-enhancing spin on her witchy look thanks to a boob-tactular frock, but wisely avoided going overboard with, say, hot pants, or a rudely shaped magic wand.
Bonus points for her awesome hat, which you could probably make yourself with a couple of feather boas, a cheap witch's cap and a stapler -- in fact, you could even imitate the dress with your own little black strapless number and a few yards of overlaid tulle. In all, it's just the right amount of effort for just the right touch of sex appeal.Dont': Confuse Easy With Lazy
We all have that one skirt that makes our legs look awesome but is also unwearably short, or that random corset we bought from Victoria's Secret because it was on sale, but now that it's on our closet, we have no idea what to do with it.
While Halloween is the perfect night to trot out some of those items for public consumption, you've got to have a plan. Unlike Ali "Lindsay's baby sister" Lohan here, who -- ignoring for a second that she's barely out of puberty, making this entire thing vaguely creepy on an entirely different level -- appears to have whipped out her sheerest top and slapped on some ears and a bow tie in an attempt to go as ... well, we don't know. The Playboy Kitty? DJ Felix the Cat? Girl, please.
Do: Pick Something Naturally Sexy
Every girl wanted to be Wonder Woman when she was a kid, and we're pretty sure every guy -- straight and gay, actually -- wanted to marry her. As curvy Kim Kardashian illustrates, the erstwhile Diana Price is a natural choice if you want to show a little skin while still wearing an actual, proper costume rather than something marketed as "Sexy [Fill-in-the Blank]." (We even saw a "Sexy Spongebob" costume this year. Stop the madness.)
As a bonus, Wonder Woman comes with wrist cuffs and a crown that you wouldn't otherwise get to wear unless you had a side career in porn. Now, we're not entirely sure Wonder Woman herself would approve of the addition of opaque black tights, but as ladies who eat carbs, we feel Kim's theoretical preference for avoiding any potential cellulite exposure.
Don't: Invent Something Sexy Just to Show Off Your Boobs
Dressing up as a sassy female reporter is one thing, but dressing up as the Wet T-Shirt Contest Beat Reporter for The New York Post is just ridiculous. Unlike Ali Lohan's half-assed fake costume above, this one by heiress/model Lydia Hearst-Shaw took actual, concentrated effort ... all in the name of looking like she's about to shout, "Extra, extra! Read all about it! Mud-wrestling in my basement tonight at 10!"
At that point, just go as the half-naked chick who walks across the boxing ring holding the round number, and be done with it. At least that's a real job.
Do: Find Inspiration in Something Innocent
As Raggedy-Ann, former wrestler and "Dancing With the Stars
" contestant Stacy Keibler manages to look adorably demure and naughty at the same time. Her cheeky take on a familiar childhood character follows the cardinal rule of getting dressed every other day of the year: You can show leg, and you can show boob, but you shouldn't always show both at once.
Stacy isn't so racy that your child will look at this and scream, "Mommy, why is Raggedy-Ann selling her body for money?" But it's just sultry enough that the Shaggedy-Ann pickup lines write themselves.
Don't: Find Inspiration in Paris Hilton
Obviously, asking you not to do as Paris does is about as controversial as suggesting that you refrain from murdering your neighbor. But La Hilton's insane Halloween ensemble from 2005 is the poster outfit for OH MY GOD NO. For one thing, bunnies don't wear lingerie, unless they are on Hugh Hefner's payroll. For another, WE CAN SEE HER BIRTH-CONTROL PATCH. Are we to assume that's part of her costume, or simply a quiet advertisement that no man's seed will find purchase in her particular hotel?
Either way, it's too much information. Maintain a little mystery. After all, it is Halloween, and you know what they say about scary movies -- she who gets naked gets whacked. Don't chance it.
(All Images: Getty Images)