Halloween has always been a controversial holiday in Russia, with politicians labeling it as a morally corrupt U.S. influence and calling for a ban on the spooky holiday year after year.
We've decided to bridge the divide. Yes, Halloween is a U.S. holiday. But here are ten outfits you can wear to make your celebrations quintessentially Russian this year.
1. Baba Yaga
You'll need: A solid appreciation of Russia's most famous witch. A love for the music of Modest Mussorgsky also helps, but isn't a requirement.
A nearby Chinese food shop is a must, however, so that you can buy the required bunch of chicken feet. Remember, Baba Yaga's house stands on them — and they'll make you stand out, too. (Not recommended for parties with a vegetarian/vegan vibe.)
2. A Cosmonaut
You'll need: A big salad bowl that you no longer like, so you can cut a hole in it to look through. A bulky white suit. Courage, determination and an ability to stand tall even as the world around you spins and gravity stops working (this will come in handy towards the end of the party.)
Also required: The will to work together constructively with space travelers from other countries on the ISS, regardless of how your respective governments currently feel about each other.
3. The Glam Pumpkin
You'll need: A complete lack of understatement and a deep love for all things bling. Other than that, this is pretty much like the pumpkin costume that had Ted from "How I Met Your Mother" in a tizzy. Just with less orange. And more rhinestone. A lot more rhinestone, really.
You'll need: No Polish apples. No French brie. No Dutch tomatoes. No Finnish butter. A head of Russian (or, in a pinch, Belarusian) cabbage will do nicely, thank you very much.
5. A Russian in Winter
You'll need: Fur. Lots of it. In fact, as you can see from the picture above, it helps if you have some of your own. (If you're a man, stop shaving now and see how much body hair you can come up with until tonight.)
Animal prints are also a big thing in Russia, so award yourself ten points for leopardskin, five for zebra. And don't even think about going without a шапка-ушанка, the floppy hat that has helped many a set of Russian ears survive months of sub-zero temperatures.
6. Dmitry Medvedev
You'll need: A nice grown-up suit, ace dance skills and a camera. Use it to put a bit of distance between you and fellow party goers so you can hide your growing unease at the fact that the host of the evening has been telling you what to do all night.
And when you suggested holding next year's Halloween party at your place, he just said "great idea" in what may or may not have been a sarcastic tone. But cheer up, at least the DJ is playing "American Boy."
7. An onion-domed church
You'll need: Lots of golden spray paint for the top part of your costume, which you lovingly construct out of wire and paper mache. A touch of incense also doesn't hurt, but don't overdo it.
Make sure to wear a watch so you can leave the party just around midnight – before all the happy-go-lucky attendees turn into weepy drunks and try to confess their sins to you.
8. Pussy Riot
You'll need: Basic knitting skills, brightly colored wool, iron convictions and a thick skin – sadly, quite literally. While this outfit is the one to go for if Halloween coincides with one of your bad hair days, bear in mind that you'll also be expected to glam it up once fashion magazines try to find an "angle" on you.
9. A Banya-Goer
You'll need: A fluffy towel, a stylish felt hat and a банный веник — that's a bunch of birch or oak twigs to you, with the leaves still attached.
Position yourself in the smoking corner of the party to make sure you are enveloped by a steam-type atmosphere. But remember not to go all Fifty Shades of Grey on people around you — those twigs are exclusively for self-flagellation.
10. Putin's ancestors
You'll need: A very big hat indeed, a dark fur coat or sofa throw. In a pinch, try IKEA for some cheap rug.
Then, practice your pose and convince your significant other that a bulky green dress, white veil and demurely downcast eyes are the way to go. Alternatively, just go as Putin himself.