Picking the right Halloween costume can get tricky, especially when you're over the age of twelve. One thing that you need to be aware of in your selection is that there's a fine line

between having a good Halloween costume and making an ass of yourself. The same basic childhood rules still apply today: wear nothing that heavily restricts movement or vision, wear nothing that will burst into flames, and a homemade costume always trumps something store bought. Once you get the right idea, putting together a costume is easy. It's getting the idea that's the hard part. As Halloween sweeps in with a cool autumn breeze, here are a few costume ideas that you would be better off skipping this year.

Heath Ledger's Joker

A lot of people saw the new Batman movie. A lot. Come Halloween, Heath Ledger's horror movie take on The Joker will no doubt inspire thousands to don the purple outfit and haphazard make up this year. When it comes to creating a good costume, think of Halloween as an originality contest. Your goal for the evening is to be the only person wearing your costume.

If you were to go to a party dressed as The Dark Knight's Joker, it's a safe bet that you'll end up posing for a picture with seven other dopes in the same costume by the end of the night. And just in case you're feeling clever, someone will be dressed as Nurse Joker too, so don't try it. Besides, many of you potential Jokers will no doubt try the disappearing pencil trick on someone and that's just going to land you in the hospital.

Obscure References

The problem with dressing up as an obscure reference isn't so much that it makes you look like a self-important tool, but more in that it's exhausting to have to explain what you are over and over again. Unless you want to spend half of your night telling people about "Twin Peaks" or why you're carrying around a half eaten cherry pie and a pot of coffee, you might want to avoid the Agent Dale Cooper costume this year.

Failed Movie Characters

The only thing sadder than a movie that fails at the box office is a Halloween costume based on one of its lame characters. Seeing a row of un-purchased Love Guru costumes just personifies the movie's unmet expectations. To top it off, dressing as a character that the general public already hates feels sort of stupid. Dressing as Jet Li's character from The Mummy 3 isn't scary, it's sad. Then again, if you want to go for truly terrifying you could always go as a character from Semi Pro. It's hard to imagine anything scarier than that.

Expensive Costumes

A good costume takes a good amount of thought and care, and sometimes may even require a bit of an investment. Still, it's still important to keep things in perspective. For something that you're only going to wear once, you might just have to settle in terms of quality. So don't spend $700 on Master Chief battle armor. Nobody is going to think your carbon fiber plating or voice modulation system is cool. They're going to be pissed that you didn't spend $40 on cardboard and a green sharpie and then donate the remaining $660 to them.

Past-Expiration Pop Culture Costumes

There's nothing worse than a joke that's been stretched too far. So this year when you're brainstorming for ideas, chuck out the following: Borat, Leonidas from 300, a ninja with a guitar, the chocolate rain kid, Captain Jack Sparrow, and the casts of "Family Guy," and "Reno 911." It will cut down on the sad, empty laughs you get from your peers.

Sexy Anything

At what point in history did the entire female population get tricked into dressing like prostitutes every Halloween? It's as if the women's lib movement dies a little with every passing October. To make matters worse, most of these sexy costumes come off as lazy. Sexy Waitress could easily turn into Sexy Gangster if you add a Tommy-gun and fedora to the ensemble. They're both "Girl with Bra Showing" anyway. You can't go through Halloween thinking that nobody will notice a boring costume as long as they can stare at your legs. Shake it up, girls! Don't just leave creativity to the ugly people-they were born with Halloween costumes already on.

Of course, there are exceptions to any rule, and if you want to dress like Princess Leia in her metal slave bikini, please send pictures.

Funny Gimmick Costumes

If you're eyeing one of those costumes that makes you look like a beer pong table or a female lifeguard with personal grooming issues (elegantly named "Anita Waxin"), make everyone's night by dressing in the costume that involves you driving your car into a tree. Seriously, if you show up to any public event dressed like a giant hand giving the shocker, you deserve to be beaten to death on live television. Better yet, eaten alive by witches-gotta keep things festive.

Sarah Palin

Now girls, I know that this one is tough to resist, but Governor Palin will be the female version of the Joker this year. In many ways they're a lot alike. They share a joy for killing things, and tearing down the establishment. They also share an intense hatred for Batman. Still, if the Republicans lose in November, you run the risk of looking back on your costume and wondering why you dressed as your mom that year. It would be like explaining your Lloyd Bentson costume from 1988, nobody is going to get it after a while. Now there is a way you can make a Sarah Palin costume work. It involves wearing an American flag bikini and shooting at people dressed in polar bear costumes while shouting things about budget reform from the back of a snow mobile. Now that's an awesome costume.

Have a custume suggestion? Let us know.

Story by Kris King

Starpulse contributing writer