Friday, October 27, 2006



With pre-Halloween parties going full-tilt this weekend and the holiday itself just four days away, there’s still a ghost of a chance for Johnny-come-lately types to find the perfect costume. Sure, a witch’s outfit is easy to throw together and what it lacks in originality is made up for in … well, nothing. So give Grandma’s lacy, black shawl back, unless you’re going as Stevie Nicks.

The key to throwing together a last-minute ensemble is to keep it simple yet clever. The idea is not to be instantly recognizable, but to make people interested enough to ask, "Who or what are you?"

Some years ago, I bought red horns and a matching tail, a plastic pitchfork and a navy-colored thrift store frock. It cost me less than 10 bucks, but the inexpensive price tag was worth the fun of telling people I was The Devil with the Blue Dress On. (Ba-dump-bump!) Groan if you will, but it got their attention and won me many compliments on my ingenuity.

I was celebrating Halloween in L.A. that year, so it was no small feat to stand out from the other couple hundred partygoers – especially that Courtney Love lookalike. I still shudder at the memory of that belligerent, sunken-eyed … wait – that wasn’t a lookalike.

My point: You don’t have to spend a fortune to be interesting and unique this Hallows Eve. Hollywood offers a broad spectrum of themes to be imitated and improved upon, so that’s a good jumping-off place. Here are a few ideas off the top of my little pumpkin head.

A big Cher fan? Pick an era, any era – there’s a wide array of looks since her career has spanned from the 60’s to the present – then recruit a friend to wear identical garb (butt tattoo optional if you opt for latter-day Cher). Two is always better than one, especially when you Cher and Cher alike. (Thank you, ladies and germs, you’re a lovely audience!)

Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette is a lovely choice, but you can add a twist simply by adding a platter of Ho-Ho’s. Why the desserts? So you can let them eat cake, of course!

Remember the classic black bodysuit with a skeleton on the front? The bad boys wore them in The Karate Kid when they welcomed Ralph Macchio to the neighborhood with a beatdown. Add a pair of gi-normous sunglasses, top it off with a blonde wig – and voila! Instant Nicole Richie!

Wrap yourself in an oversize leather jacket, wear an impeccably styled, side-parted dark wig and a wise-beyond-your-years Mona Lisa smile – poof! You’re Suri Cruise. Unfortunately, you’ll have to remain out of sight most of the evening or the effect will be ruined.

Throw on a Medusa wig – any Halloween shop worth its salt will carry them – then strap on a pair of cardboard wings with "TWA" written on them and look, Ma, Snakes on a Plane!

Don’t despair if you haven’t the time or resources to bring these ideas to fruition. If all else fails, you can make a giant leech costume out of a Hefty trash bag and go as Kevin Federline.

Friday, October 13, 2006


It all started with Bennifer.
By merging the names of then-couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez a few years back, the media created a monster of Frankenstein proportions. Two became one … kinda like Jeff Goldblum in The Fly, but scarier.
Bennifer begat Brennifer, whose life was cut short when its components defected to new mates. Brad Pitt was swallowed into the gaping maw of Angelina Jolie to become Brangelina, while Jennifer Aniston merged with Vince Vaughn, forming Vaughniston.
Eventually, Bennifer also split. Lopez became J-Lo, then married singer Marc Anthony. But Bennifer did not die an easy death. Affleck paired with another Jennifer – she of the Garner variety – and the media dubbed them Bennifer II. But this new amalgam was seemingly normal, at least by Hollywood standards, and therefore deserving of its own identity. Thus was born BenJen. Or Garfleck, depending on which tabloid you read.
And of course, there’s the unforgettable TomKat, created by the coupling of the volatile (translation: crazier than a sack of rabid weasels) Tom Cruise and the younger, utterly smitten (translation: quite possibly a robot) Katie Holmes.
From there, the combined-name trend has mined the depths of silliness and come up with fool’s gold: Romber (former Survivors Rob Mariano and Amber Brkich) and RenKen (Renee Zellweger and Kenny Chesney), as well as numerous soap opera couples renamed by daytime TV viewers.
What’s with the fusion confusion? Are today’s celebrities more noted for their couplehood than for their individual merits? Or maybe Hollyweird relationships come and go so quickly that we can’t be bothered to remember them as individuals.
I mean, you’ve never heard Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman referred to as Woodman, have you? Or Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton as Elizaburt.
Humphrey Bogart plus Lauren Bacall never equaled Humphren. Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn … Traceburn? I think not.
What started as a semi-cute, amusing idea has deteriorated into gimmicky self-parody. Next thing you know, Mattel ™ will jump on the bandwagon with a new Karbie doll. Hey, it’s not like this thing could get any sillier. Could it?
Of course it could. If the trend continues, there’s no limit on the unholy unions that might result. Rapper Nas could hook up with Carmen Electra and become NasCar. Perhaps Emma Thompson will go slumming with Eminem and become Eminemma. Robert DeNiro and Tyra Banks? Rob DeBanks. What if Oprah dumped Stedman for Hank Williams Jr.? H2-O, of course.
Here’s a little more merger math for ya:
* The Rock + Star Jones = Rockstar
* Comedian Rita Rudner + David Duchovny = R2D2
* Naomi Watts + Paul Newman = WattsNew
* Rob Lowe + Winona Ryder + Lowryder
* Lance Armstrong + Ivanka Trump = Armstump
* Condoleeza Rice + actor Aaron Eckhart = RiceAaronE
* Madonna + Marilyn Manson = MadMan
* Heath Ledger + Barbra Streisand = HeathBar
* Mira Sorvino + Macaulay Culkin = Miracul
* Paris Hilton + Andrew "Dice" Clay = PariDice
* Courtney Love + rapper Warren G = Love ‘n’ War
* Orlando Bloom + Penelope Cruz = LanCruzer or Dope
I hope it doesn’t come to this, as most of these pairings are downright ooky. Besides, in the event that Andre Agassi goes temporarily insane and asks for my hand in marriage, I certainly don’t want to be known as PasGas.