Some people might be able to slap on a hockey mask on October 31st and call it a day, but you're different. You see potential Halloween costumes everywhere—your favorite TV show, a summer blockbuster, that intense dream you had last night where the members of One Direction competed in a musical version of the Hunger Games in order to win your hand in marriage (did Harry die??). So schedule a trip to the craft store and plug in your glue gun, because if you're going to win your school's costume contest (or at least get an admiring high-five from your crush), you're going to have to start working now.
1. TARDIS: Anybody can throw on a bow tie and call themselves the eleventh Doctor, but you're a true Whovian, and the epic fortress of blue cardboard that you painstakingly construct will be a tribute to your love of the show.
2. Tumblr: The basic mechanics of this costume are pretty simple: just attach two giant sketchpads to your front and back, sandwich-board style. But you'll need a month and a half to draw all the penguins in sweaters and fancy literary quotes on the sketchbook's flip-able pages.
3. Lady Gaga: A costume challenge not meant for beginners. Whatever Gaga fashion statement you choose, you're going to need a lot of time (and possibly a lot of raw meat).
4. Zombie: I know, I know, dressing up as the living dead is overdone and can be pulled off by any amateur with a ripped t-shirt and some face paint. But if you start practicing your "my face is decaying" makeup routine early, you'll end up with a look that will blow all those posers out of the water. (We were going to link to an example, but all the pictures were too terrifying and gross. Seriously, don't Google "zombie decay face." Trust us.)
5. My Little Pony: A pony ensemble can be achieved pretty simply; just grab a pastel top and matching pants, rock a high ponytail (with some temporary streaks), and put the appropriate sticker on your back pocket. You'll need the extra time to decide whether your pocket will sport a star in honor of Twilight or balloons to honor Pinkie Pie. Better start making a pros/cons list.
6. All The Avengers: If you simply liked The Avengers, and you think director Joss Whedon is just "ok," you can get away with choosing a single Avenger to dress up as. But a superfan could never choose just one, which is why you need to start gathering a giant hammer, a shield, a bow, a multimillion-dollar iron jetpack suit, a black leather jumpsuit, and a gigantic pair of purple shorts.
7. Katniss Everdeen: You have less than two months to learn archery. And how to french braid.
8. Elizabeth Bennet (or Mr. Darcy): Find the Victorian garb now; use the rest of the time getting into the habit of speaking like you're in a Jane Austen novel (yes, even in math class. You've got to commit if you want succeed).
9. Steampunk: Start collecting all the spare mechanical parts you can find (your local junkyard is a good/potentially very dangerous place to start) and you'll have a ridiculously awesome costume by the time October rolls around.
10. Unicorn: September is the time to figure out how you're going to get the horn to stay on your head (this is the one time duct tape can't fix the problem).
Do you already know what you're dressing up as this Halloween? How far in advance do you usually start planning your costume?