Avoid the usual costume trends this Halloween and be original

College students this Halloween can expect to relive the cultural hits of the past 10 months at parties this week. The shelves of local party stores are full of Catwomen, Avengers, Banes and Big Birds. But for the college student who either can’t afford a costume from a store, or doesn’t want to end up a Bane in a room of Batmen, here are a few ideas to attempt or avoid this Halloween.

Zombies: Even though “Walking Dead” is still on AMC, the zombie costume is played out. For the past few years, zombies have ranked in the top 10 on the National Retail Federation’s annual consumer survey, which means that millions of Americans have been zombies in recent years. Be original and skip the zombie.

Katniss Everdeen: Hunger Games is sure to be a hit in the costume world this year but Katniss wasn’t in the top 10 on the ARF survey. Ladies, here’s an opportunity to dress as one of the fiercest females on screen and in literature and stand out from the crowd. A Katniss costume includes olive pants, a plain black T-shirt, black boots and a black leather jacket. For bonus points, stop by a costume shop and pick up a cheap mockingjay pin. 

Joker: Not only is the Joker a rather dated costume, it might be considered bad form to dress up as the Joker this year considering that the Colorado “Dark Knight Rises” shooter has been calling himself “The Joker.” 

“Moonrise Kingdom”: Wes Anderson films are full of unique, quirky characters that are easy to pull costume ideas from. Any local thrift store could provide pieces to help create a Suzy Bishop (pink, long-sleeved dress, binoculars, vintage suitcase, eye shadow) or Sam Shakusky (scout outfit, glasses, coonskin cap). The pair works perfectly for a couple looking to dress up together.

Gatsby-esque: While “The Great Gatsby” might have been postponed until summer 2013, students can still pull from the dapper outfits and flashy flapper dresses. It’s an opportunity to be ahead of the curve and dress up as literary figures Gatsby or Daisy. Thrift stores are a good resource for these costumes as well.

For those students who can only spare 30 minutes in the quest for a Halloween costume, try to brainstorm iconic outfits that aren’t obvious and are easy to put together. Men, think along the lines of a lumberjack and sing Monty Python’s “The Lumberjack Song.” It’s an easy costume (flannel, hat, jeans, boots, suspenders if possible) and it’s easily recognizable. Women, think outside the box and don’t be afraid to look different from all the vixen, witches and nurses out there.