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Top 10 Worst Halloween Costumes for 2011

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Growing up in San Francisco, the big Halloween costume contest was, of course, in the Castro District, where legions of gay men dressed in gorgeous drag and competed on an actual catwalk for major cash and prizes.

One year, Liz Taylor showed up, the one from "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."

OK, it wasn't really Liz. It was little me taking that contest by storm in a puffy shoe-polish-black wig, white slip-dress and huge falsies.

I had no idea about Tennessee Williams or Maggie the Cat, but I had that crowd in the palm of my hands.

Sadly, the next day at elementary school, no one got it, and I'm pretty sure the giant falsies screamed, "That girl has a wildly inappropriate mom." In honor of that year, when my mom flew too close to the costume sun, a year I was white hot before I burned, I bring you these costumes that you should avoid for your kids:

1. Hobo: I think in this economic climate, the classic hobo outfit should be taboo. There is a good chance that half of the houses the kids visit for trick-or-treating will be in foreclosure, and the doors will be answered by people wearing similar outfits.

2. Snooki: The Snooki costume is a bad idea, and not just because it's hacky and obvious. Think about it. There are already too many pumpkins out on Halloween. It's just redundant.

3. Lady Gaga: I'm pretty worried about this look for kids, and not because of the risque nature of the outfits, but because of the heels. You try walking in 45-inch stilettos in the dark carrying a sack of candy. Someone will have stitches on their p-p-p-poker face.

4. Bedbug: Lots of insects make adorable costumes — bumblebees and butterflies, for example. But I'm thinking it's too soon to pull off the bedbug look without making a lot of people itchy to send your kid packing with a box of raisins. Or worse, a toothbrush.

5. Charlie Sheen and the Goddesses: I know this is going to happen, but it would be especially atrocious to submit the world to kids in these get-ups, carrying prop tiger blood and fistfuls of cash representing Sheen's fat settlement.

If you have to go this route, be Ashton Kutcher with scruff and an iPhone for constant tweeting, i.e. "Just got full size Snicker bar from neighbor. #funsizenotreallyfun."

6. Hannah: That's right, your kid is one red wig away from playing the ruthless teenage assassin trained by her father to kill with her bare hands. Put your daughter in some fur pelts, and you will be sure to disturb anyone who saw this movie and knows Hannah can break your neck.

7. Sexy Supreme Court Justice: Obviously, the "sexy" version of any costume (nurse, farmer, teacher) is kind of icky as it pertains to the over-sexualizing of little girls. I chose this one as the worst because it reaches new heights of sexism in the year that saw three women on the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time.

8. Gwyneth Paltrow: I'm talking about Gwyneth from the movie "Contagion." When in groups of kids, who doesn't like to remind everyone about how disease can spread quickly and without warning? Avoid this, or really any Gwyneth-based costume, because for whatever reason, she really annoys people right now, and your kids don't need that baggage to tote along with their Dum Dum Pops.

9. Sister Wives: Well, this is tempting if you have multiple daughters, but please resist. Sure, all you have to do is hand-sew some dresses and put their hair in braids, but yuuuuuuck. I know the "Sister Wives" thing was big this year, but this just doesn't fly for the kiddies. Remember, sister wives are not sisters; they just all have sex with the same dude.

10. Ann Coulter: She always gets attention, but maybe that's not so cute for a toddler. Take a kid, add a blond wig and a body-hugging dress, coach her to say outrageous, offensive things all night, and I'm sure she'll get just what the actual Ann Coulter really wants: bags and bags of attention. In this case, as in hers, it may be too spooky for any of us.

I avoided Casey Anthony because I know people will do it anyway. But I'm hoping I saved at least one block from a recession toddler hobo.

Teresa Strasser is an Emmy-winning television writer, a two-time Los Angeles Press Club Columnist of the Year and a multimedia personality. She is the author of a new book, "Exploiting My Baby," the rights to which have been optioned by Sony Pictures. To find out more about Teresa Strasser and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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