The Best Halloween Costume Is Rocky

Photo: United Artists/Courtesy Everett Collection

Dirtbag Fashion is a column dedicated to the art of doing very little and assuming you look good anyway.

As certain as the sun rises in the morning, the dreaded Halloween holiday is upon us yet again. Whether you are a person who (wrongly) enjoys Halloween or you are a person who is on the right side of end-this-adult-playtime history, it does not change the fact that you have likely been invited to three or more ghoulish events this weekend. Perhaps there is nothing you’d rather do than curl up under the closest slab of cardboard, snag a few errant candy corns that have fallen to the floor, and wake up on November 1 like nothing ever happened, but no. The Halloween monster demands to be fed.

Like New Year’s Eve, Halloween is a time of indecision and last-minute planning. One day before the weekend arrives, you remember it is too late to order a cheap costume through Amazon Prime, and there is no way in heck that you’ll be venturing out to a pop-up Halloween shop to buy the last crusty wig on the shelf. This poses a conundrum. You, dirtbag, hate nothing more than punking out, even if it means you must don extraneous garb and finery. It’s not every weekend, after all, that you get to drink other people’s liquor and browse their medicine cabinets for the price of one bag of Tostito’s chips. The facts stand: A party is a party.

But you also don’t want to be the obnoxious person at the Halloween party who is too sanctimonious to wear a costume. Like my high-school math teacher always used to say, “Do you think you’re too good to do the work? Because you aren’t.” Unless you want to fail math, don’t think you can show up to a Halloween party dressed like the dirtbag you are. Have some self-respect. Your Tostitos are not worth the price of entry.

The solution, instead, is to dress up as Rocky.

Besides the fact that Rocky Balboa is one of the legends of film history, he also makes for an easy slapdash costume. In every movie in the franchise but the polarizing Rocky IV, Balboa (and even Michael B. Jordan in the newest edition, Creed) runs through the streets of Philadelphia in some version of a cozy gray sweatsuit and some collection of body-warming accessories: a headband, a hat, gloves, boxing hand wraps. Is Rocky Balboa the coziest fictional character I can think of? I’m not saying he is, but yes. Will he solve your conundrum over being too lazy to think of a real Halloween costume ten minutes before heading out to a party? I can’t make any promises, but yes.

One thing that no one ever seems to remember is that Halloween is in October. Now, unless you’re some person who lives in sunny San Diego — is this place even real? Not for me to say — or has skin so thick that you are immune to the early-fall cold, it is not pleasant to be out in the world on Halloween weekend dressed in jean shorts for your “person who is a fan of jean shorts” costume. Instead, have you ever considered how nice it would feel to venture out in the chilly evening in a pair of gray sweatpants, a matching gray sweatshirt, a black hat, some masking tape around your fists, and a pair of Chuck Taylor high-tops? You surely already have those things at your house right now, and they are no doubt incredibly comfortable.

And if people start grilling you on “who you’re supposed to be,” lift your hands up to your chest and punch the air a little. If they still don’t get it, recite this wisdom, “Nobody owes nobody nothin’. You owe yourself.” Then grab your bag of Tostitos and head out to find a better party.

The Best Halloween Costume Is Rocky