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Halloween costumes: 5 rules for what you should and shouldn't wear

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Edgar Allan Ho is one of Amy Alkon's favorite costumes.
via Reddit
Edgar Allan Ho is one of Amy Alkon's favorite costumes.

Just in time for last-minute Halloween costume shoppers, we have a list of etiquette tips to help you find something appropriate, edgy and fun.

Halloween is Friday and if you haven't picked out your costume yet, there is still, of course, a bit of time. But please, be smart about your choice of attire. Each year, there are always costumes that make you wonder - what were they thinking? 

Related: Are you wearing a racist Halloween costume? Are you sure?

So, for Halloween etiquette tips Take Two turned to

 - columnist and author of "Good Manners for Nice People who Sometimes Say F*ck."

Amy says...

1. Consider the context: If you'll be visiting a hospital ward, maybe forgo the gore and go as a giant bunny. If it's a workplace Halloween party, consider whether that serving wench costume that gives your boss a bird's eye view of the mole on your left breast will help him take you more seriously.

2. Age-appropriateness: If your child is 5, we don't want to see her as a slutty nurse. If your daughter is starting to date, she can wear somewhat sexy costumes -- within reason. You still can have a "because I'm the mom" moment. Keep in mind what Chris Rock said about his daughter: "My only job in life is to keep her off the pole." (That's the stripper pole he's talking about.) 

3. Ebola-related costumes: Wearing an Ebola-related costume doesn't mean you think it's funny that countless people are dying in Africa. We use humor to mock and shrink down to size stuff we're afraid of, so it's natural that a number of people are gravitating to Ebola costumes: sexy Ebola nurse, the virus, a patient. But since there aren't hordes of people stricken with the disease here, the main problem with these costumes is that they're boring.

4. Costumes that are just too awful: At the root of manners is empathy. If some tragedy may have happened to somebody you'll encounter on Halloween, it's a bad idea for a costume. Zombie Robin Williams ("Hah, hah, suicide!") and the awful idea of Ray Rice dragging around a bruised doll ("Hah, hah, domestic violence!") are examples of costumes beyond the pale, as they may bring up upsetting real-life incidents for party guests or people you encounter trick-or-treating.

5. Go creative: The best costumes are the really creative ones that make us all laugh. Halloween is our national day of inappropriateness and bad taste, and we could all use a laugh. Try to top my favorite -- Edgar Allan Ho, via Reddit.

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