I haven't really dressed up for Halloween since I was a kid. Last year, I just grabbed my judo gi and pretended to be some kind of zombified martial artist. The year before, I wore a headcrab hat one of my roommates got me a few years back… and pretended to a headcrab zombie. You can see the trend.

This year I'm trying to go a little bit further and go as Silent Bob with a friend who's dressing as Jay, but I still don't have the trench coat, a baseball cap, or cigarettes. It's basically the simplest costume I could possibly do, and I'm still procrastinating and half-assing it.

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I was pretty jazzed when I came across this video from Cracked, with four tips that should you avoid those awkward, last-minute, slung-together costumes.

Don't make people guess who you are, and if they do, just roll with it.

It's bad enough that you didn't really try, but if someone puts in some legitimate effort and makes an effort, just give them credit. It's probably close enough that works anyway.

What you look like matters

I lift weights, but I'm no Arnold. I'm also 5' 6". I realize that if I wanted to go as Neo from the Matrix, people might not get it the first try. That's not to say that there's anything wrong with it, just that a short, stocky guy trying to look like a tall, slender-built Keanu probably isn't going to be easy for most to pick up on.

Color is important

It's popular to run around in all black on Halloween, and besides the obvious risks from passing vehicles the goth look is a bit cliché. Go with something that has pizzazz, some bright colors will help you standout particularly well. The video recommends two extremely easy costumes – Lisa Simpson and Marty McFly. Both can be done with just a few bits of clothing, and will be a lot more memorable than the 68th person decked out in black.

Double down on not giving a fuck

If you're doing a simple, last-minute costume, for the love of god don't put any REAL effort into it. Going with the Lisa Simpson example, don't run out and get yellow paint, and DON'T get a Lisa Simpson cap. You'll only make things worse if you do.

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I thought this was pretty decent advice. Now, I should probably go get the last of my props… Then again, that requires effort… Maybe I'll just do another zombie…

You're reading Numbers, a blog on Kotaku that examines games and culture through the lens of math and statistics. To contact the author of this post, write to dancstarkey@gmail.com or find him on Twitter @dcstarkey.