Isla Vista, something wicked this way comes. As if this ash-clad omen wasn’t indicative enough, our favorite holiday of drunken debauchery and masked delight swiftly approaches.

Alas, ’tis Halloween, the apex of our academic careers here at UCSB. You freshmen may be wondering why this column is published a week in advance. You shall soon understand Halloween in I.V. is much more than a one-night affair – and, incidentally, one that won’t call you back the following morning. Our love affair with this holiday lasts an entire week – perhaps even a week and a half for you ambitious alcoholics – so be sure to bring your A-game and bread-coated stomachs this Thursday night.

As far as donning costumes goes, I’m going to be quite frank: If you don’t dress up, you are a loser, plain and simple. Additionally, it is imperative that you bring at least three costumes to the table, because you’ll need to wear them in rotation in order to create the illusion of novelty. In light of this fact, I deem it prudent to provide you with advice on the dos and don’ts of dressing up for your walk of shame down Del Playa Drive.

First and foremost, for all of you peeps who are dying to snap on some spandex, the ’80s workout costumes and superhero costumes are always a fun way to play jukebox hero – or simply a hero. I definitely scored a sweet Robin (from Batman, of course) costume freshmen year. One idea you may consider is being Wonder Woman or Swamp Thing, especially since Swamp Thing is probably the biggest badass ever.

In spite of their lack of originality, the Ninja Turtles, Smurfs, GI Joes, Spartans, cowboys/girls and Super Mario Bros. are always a fun alternative to slaving over your own costume. In fact, I have several suggestions to improving these oldies but goodies. As far as Ninja Turtles, I have yet to see a Shredder or a Splinter, as well as my boyhood crush, April O’Neil. One idea I conceived last year was Mario Kart in lieu of the trite Mario, Wario and Luigi concept. All you need to do is grab some children’s scooters or bikes from Kmart over near Camino Real Marketplace, snag a white ‘shroom helmet, spray on some red spots, slip on a Huggies diaper and, ta-da – you are everyone’s favorite mushroom, Toad. Word to the wise: There is such a thing as a biking under the influence citation, so exercise caution if you’re willing to brave the crowds on DP on your noble steed. I’d also admonish girls from wearing any nurse outfits, police costumes or little Swedish milkmaid dresses – these lack more novelty than the idea of drinking on a Friday night.

The most important pearl of wisdom you’ll collect from this column: Definitely converse with your friends about group costume ideas. My favorite costumes of all time include a group of red cups tossing around a white beach ball in order to mimic a beer pong game – clever and thrifty. I also cried from laughter when I saw a group of flies buzzing around DP and spontaneously dog-piling on the poor soul dressed as the pile of shit. Being the Harry Potter fanatic that I am, I’ll most certainly be adorned in my Lord Voldemort gear. Keep a weather eye out for me, and if you’re lucky I just might Crucio your ass. By far, the most unattractive costume – assuming you can even call it that – was when a chick was wearing nothing but Band-Aid! Honestly, nobody needs to see that.

Finally, be sure you get a head start on brainstorming and buying your costumes, since all of the upperclassmen have already been handling their shit for about a month. This is going to be one hell of a week, so let’s show the annoying out-of-towners how we do it in our town. Buy them shots and costumes fast, dear Halloween is here at last!