The official ranking of 2014’s best soccer Halloween costumes

We’ve all been there. It’s June or July, and you’ve just come up with the perfect idea for a Halloween costume; the sort of costume that impresses at parties, woos romantic interests and wins $10 gift certificates at local malls. It’s cheap and easy, and won’t take too long to prepare. You jot it down into your iPhone notes and think, “This is the year. I’ve finally done it. I’ve cracked the Halloween code.”

Fast forward a few months and it’s hours before your friend’s annual Halloween party, and you’re wandering the aisles at a seasonal costume shop, pacing row to row, tip-toeing over a variety of Sexy “X” costumes littering the floor. Your life’s been reduced to desperately considering which of leftover topical costume to grab. Do you go as a Sim? Do you paper mache a number sign and go as a hashtag? Or do you put all your chips on the table and rationalize blackface?

Norway v Bulgaria - EURO 2016 Qualifier

Photo by Trond Tandberg/Getty Images

Slutty “SeXXX” Blatter

Too easy. Are you even trying? Get a real costume.

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Photo by JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images

Zombie Julio Grondona

Now, before you criticize me for dishonoring the recently dead, let’s get a few things straight. First, this costume is both timely and historically accurate, as it’s been confirmed by a variety of organizations that Julio Grondona was a zombie during his final years. Second, this costume is especially appropriate as no one is entirely sure whether Diego Maradona managed to completely absorb Grondona’s life force during their final confrontation. It’s entirely possible that Grondona is still roaming the Argentine countryside, insulting people of Jewish descent while wiring earmarked funds to offshore bank accounts. Third: Julio Grondona was a horrible person, so don’t worry about it.

For this costume to work, you only need a few things. Grab an ill-fitting suit, puff out your jowls, dab on a bit of zombie-inspired makeup, carry around your pick of footballs (branded by whichever organization is willing to hire your relatives), and begin lecturing fellow party-goers about the benefits of military juntas. The costume will be obvious to everyone around you.

Bonus points if you have a friend smuggle party supplies back to your house in the midst of celebrations.

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Turf-wounded Sydney Leroux

Oftentimes, the best Halloween costumes are those drawn directly from the headlines, and considering how much digital ink has been spilt on the recent controversy over artificial turf and women’s soccer, a Women’s World Cup-related outfit could be a hit. But before you rush out to your nearest discount-superstore to pick up a bargain-priced, Alex Morgan-branded, Baby Horse costume that’s years out of style, consider this alternative.

Grab some cleats, throw on a U.S. jersey, paste on a few prop cuts and bruises onto your legs, walk with a limp and start ranting about how American turf is superior to Canadian turf in every way imaginable. Even the most indifferent fan will immediately make the connection.

Extra points if you randomly yell “ALEX! ALEX! WHERE’S ALEX?!” throughout the night.

Houdini's Suspended Straitjacket Escape Reacted By Albert Cadabra

Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images

Pro-Rel Guy

Looking for something really spooky? Wish you could find a costume sure to frighten both small children and large adults? Really want to inflict psychological damage on your friends and neighbors? If so, Pro-Rel Guy might be the right costume for you.

To pull it off, you’ve got one of two options, depending on whether you’ve actually been invited to a Halloween party (and let’s be honest: if you’re considering a Pro-Rel Guy costume, you’re probably spending the night at home).

If you manage to procure an invite, it’s a pretty straight-forward process. First, arrive to the party at its most busy point and immediately begin interrupting conversations to discuss the merits of promotion and relegation. Say things like, “This party would be so much better if it had to compete with other parties,” or “Why can’t American parties have the same opportunities as other parties around the world,” or even the classic “European parties are inherently better than American parties.” Once you’ve really gotten under the skin of fellow guests, begin attacking their credentials with phrases like, “How much were you paid to come to this party,” “You’re a mouthpiece for this party,” or even question their Halloween party ethics. Finally, once the rest of the party is firmly against you, tell them they’re all biased and run home to spend the rest of the night crying about what your life has become. That crying bit is crucial.

Now, if you haven’t been invited to any Halloween parties, you’re already pulling off the Pro-Rel Guy costume. You don’t need to do anything else.

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Photo by TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Landon Donovan and Jurgen Klinsmann

Has your partner convinced you to agree to a dreadful couples’ costume? Would you rather not go as anthropomorphic Bagels and Lox? Are you opposed to using your aviators for a Top Gun pairing? Are you concerned that your monkey and banana costumes might be perceived in a negative light ‘out of context’? Why not go as the creators of ‘will they, won’t they’ drama, Landon Donovan and Jurgen Klinsmann?

This is a fairly easy costume to pull off. Have one person put on their Landon Donovan jersey, while the other pulls on a pair of stain-resistant khakis and a USMNT-branded track jacket. Once at the party, avoid one another as much as festivities allow, save for brief moments of forgiveness, before passive aggressively insulting one another to fellow party guests.

If you want to strive for accuracy, have the person in the Jurgen Klinsmann costume choose a separate partner for party games, conversations and moments of romance, while the Landon Donovan sits on the periphery of the party, trying to convince the DJ to only play songs by Boyz II Men.

End the night with an awkward but passionate embrace before hitting the sack.

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Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images

Sven-Göran Eriksson

There’s nothing scarier than Sven-Göran Eriksson.

Google “Sam the Eagle Costume Tutorial,” follow the instructions, and tell strangers about how you nearly ruined Mexico.

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