Are you happy, America? This is what a decade of lazy Halloween costumes has wrought. Instead of using the holiday to nurture homegrown costuming talent, we've just settled for dressing up as the sexed-up version of normal things—slutty pumpkin, sexy librarian, slutty Abraham Lincoln, etc. You let that happen long enough and eventually Miss USA shows up at the costume portion of the Miss Universe pageant wearing an outfit that's half "slutty flag" and half "slutty bald eagle."
As the richest nation on earth, we can't just sit back and let this happen. Look at what Canada—known first and foremost throughout the world as America's Hat—is bringing to the table:
Yes, that's a Marie Antoinette oufit accented by hockey sticks, a scoreboard, and a tiny net covering what I'll assume Canadians refer to as her hockey puck. (How she was scored on 14 times in that get-up I'm not sure.) If Miss Canada doesn't win this portion of the competition, it's only because she forgot to stick a bottle of maple syrup in her Stanley Cup hat. That's on you, Canada.
Look, we are a nation of immigrants, of a thousand distinct traditions swirled together into an amazing multicultural melting pot. Usually that's one of our greatest strengths, but when it comes to costuming, it means it can be tricky to define our country in just one completely ridiculous outfit. But that shouldn't stop us from trying. Here's a few contestants we can take some advice from.
Miss Czech Republic
When I saw this costume, I thought for a moment that Donald Trump et al. had finally recognized Texas as its own country for the purpose of pageants. Everything about this costume literally screams Texas: the big hair, the tumbleweed stuck in her big hair, the gratutious use of leather, and particularly the taco-inspired skirt. Surely Miss USA can come up with a sophisticated, star-spangled cowgirl look that could top this. Start with a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader uniform, maybe, and just build up from there.
Miss Great Britain
Not to be a traitor to my country or anything, but I don't think we have a lot of law enforcement uniforms over here that are quite as natty as the Buckingham Palace guard thing. The navy whites come closest, but it's hard to add much leg to that before you start looking like Liza Minelli.
Oh no, Miss Australia, you did not just come up in here dressed like a turkey. Do you even eat turkey at Thanksgiving? Do you even have Thanksgiving? Turkey. Is. Our. Thing.
Despite the top half of this costume having a bit of a saloon girl/Frederick's of Hollywood vibe, paying homage to Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh is a stroke of brilliance. Short of going full O'Keeffe, can't we get Miss USA some kind of Warhol outfit made of Campbell's cans and Marilyn Monroe's face? No?
At first I thought that cotton would be a nice American version of this agriculture-based ensemble, but that might have a little too much cultural baggage. Instead, I'm picturing apples, with a Red Delicious headdress over a George Washington wig complemented by some kind of apple-pie dress motif. Yup. Let's make this happen, America.