With the calendar turning to October, we've officially reached that time of year where Halloween parties begin to get scheduled and costume brainstorming is in full force.
Waiting until the last minute can spell disaster, scrounging the aisles of your local retail stores, which only have superhero costumes in sizes for 12-year-old boys left on the shelves. Now those are some tights.
Instead, browse through these recommendations for some of the best NFL-themed Halloween costumes of 2013. Creativity is key, and some preparation may be needed on your part.
Just remember to buy the face paint and fake blood that washes off if you have work in the morning.
Hat tip to HalloweenCostumes.com for contributing to this article.
The "W" is silent. Never mind, just get rid of it.
Donte Whitner made headlines earlier this month for announcing that he would be officially dropping the "W" out of his last name. Donte Hitner will soon be coming to a field near you.
The cost to change his name will be significantly less than the $21,000 fine he received on his latest hit against St. Louis Rams receiver Chris Givens—and this Halloween costume shouldn't set you back too bad, either.
Just throw on a Whitner jersey with the "W" crossed out on the back and pick up an old football helmet. Make sure to paint or draw cracks on the face mask and tackle random guests at a party or bar.
"I'm Donte Hitner!"
Matt Schaub may need to look for other career options.
Houston Texans fans have clearly had it with quarterback Matt Schaub, especially after he threw a pick-six in the fourth quarter of an overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Fans were captured setting Schaub jerseys ablaze in the parking lot after the loss, which was the third straight game with an interception returned for touchdown by the Texans' signal-caller.
Schaub kept that streak alive in the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers and was eventually benched in favor of T.J. Yates after his third interception.
For fans who still have a Schaub jersey, wait until after Halloween to dispose of it. Instead, tape paper flames on the shoulders and rub some dirt on it to replicate ash. When grabbing a drink for someone, keep handing it to the wrong person all night.
Watch out for the guns. They'll get you.
In a recent attempt to curb fan misconduct, undercover police officers dressed as San Francisco 49ers fans when the team squared off against the Seattle Seahawks.
Talk about a case of police entrapment!
Turn this story into a great Halloween costume by dressing in a police outfit disguised with 49ers apparel, face paint and a wig. If anyone gives you trouble throughout the night, put their arms behind their back and cuff 'em.
Then finish off the charade with a trademark Colin Kaepernick arm kiss.
Yes, I'm that good looking. Wait, what's the question?
We're convinced that when Tom Brady sneezes, those around him respond with "You are so good looking."
Well, apparently everyone but Terrell Suggs. The Baltimore Ravens linebacker has recently taken exception to the New England Patriots quarterback, specifically his hair, via BaltimoreRavens.com:
"I don’t like him, he don’t like me. I don’t like his hair."
Stick it to Suggs this Halloween by wearing a Brady jersey and styling up your hair a la the Golden Boy—or TB12, the name he gave himself at a recent news conference. Sorry Tom, you don't get to make your own nicknames.
Finish this costume off by making Blue Steel poses all night from Zoolander.
It wasn't supposed to be like this, Jay.
Breakups are hard. Just ask Brian Urlacher from the Chicago Bears, who was clearly upset in a recent interview about not hearing from teammate Jay Cuter after he retired, via CBSSports.com:
"Well, I did not hear from Jay, out of all the guys I played with, but that's just -- maybe we weren't as close as, like you said, as we could have been."
This makes for an easy costume by wearing an Urlacher jersey, drawing some tears on your cheek and carrying your phone around all night. Make it a buddy costume with a friend dressing up as Cutler and ignoring you all night.
Manti Te'o has played along well in one of the biggest media Catfish stories to hit the press.
With 2013 coming to a close, there's still time to get some legs out of the biggest Catfish story of the year. Deadspin originally broke this incredible hoax back in January, with plenty of jokes and questions leading up to the NFL draft.
Maxim magazine even ranked Teo's fake girlfriend No. 69 in its Hot 100 list, stirring the pot further. The San Diego linebacker has taken everything in stride, even attending the party celebrating Maxim's annual list.
If Te'o can laugh at himself, so can you. Dress up as Te'o either in a Notre Dame or Chargers jersey and put your arm around an imaginary girlfriend all night. Make it a couple's costume by having your significant other dress up as a ghost.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Head and Shoulders, the company that has a long-term deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers safety, clarified that this would be more of a ceremonial act. This makes sense considering the company insured his mane for...$1 million (holds pinky to mouth).
To pull off this costume, simply wear your favorite Steelers tee or jersey with a long curly wig. Make sure to carry around a bottle of Head and Shoulders and caress your faux strands to let people know they're here to stay.
We're cool, right John?
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs fuels another Halloween costume, this time claiming that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was responsible for the blackout during Super Bowl XLVII. Suggs was interviewed for ESPN's E:60 and had this to say, via The Baltimore Sun:
"I was like Vegas, parlor tricks, you know what I mean? I was like, ahh, Roger Goodell, he never stops, he always has something up his sleeve. He just couldn’t let us have this one in a landslide huh?"
Bring this story further to life at your Halloween party by dressing in a secret agent costume with an NFL commissioner badge. Walk around to random rooms and shut the lights off, then duck away claiming you had nothing to do with it.
It's not me. It's you.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers recently cut former starting quarterback Josh Freeman after benching him in favor of rookie Mike Glennon and failing to find any interest for a trade among all 31 teams.
Or should we say, Greg Schiano cut Freeman, treating him like a college player from his days at Rutgers. After being benched, Freeman was made inactive and actually forced to watch the game from a suite rather than be on the sideline.
Schiano is a fan of polos and windbreakers, so either will work for this costume. Find a headset and a whistle, and prepare to denigrate anyone in your path. Just understand that you may eventually be asked to leave.
I want to rock and roll all night, and play quarterback every day.
The KISS are co-owned by Gene Simmons, lead singer of the band with the same name, and "The Starchild," Paul Stanley. Simmons had very positive things to say about Tebow in an attempt to defend and recruit him to the KISS army.
Sadly (very sadly), Tebow declined the opportunity. However, you can play out this match made in heaven by sporting a Tebow jersey, KISS mask and leather knee-high boots.
As you are Tebowing all night, make sure to thank Gene and Paul.
Oh Sweet Pea, come on and dance with me.
Boys will be boys. On a party bus. With strippers.
We thought Bryant McKinnie had learned his lesson after being involved with the infamous "Party Boat" scandal while playing for the Minnesota Vikings. Apparently McKinnie just moved the strippers from a boat to a bus.
Wide receiver Jacoby Jones was reported to have sustained injuries from a champagne bottle that was hit over his head. The stripper that hit him was named Sweet Pea. She does not sound sweet.
Jones has since denied the specific details of the night, other than he was present on the party bus. This is your chance to set the record straight with a Halloween costume that captures the events.
Wear a Ravens jersey, streak fake blood down the side of your head and carry around a bottle of champagne. Or step it up a notch and make it a couples costume by having your significant other wear a dress and chase you around all night with the bottle of champagne.
Nate Burleson's stiff arm is currently in a cast after breaking it reaching for a pizza.
Nate Burleson was recently involved in one of the most freak accidents you'll likely hear about. In a single-car crash, there was no alcohol involved. No excessive speed. The culprit?
The Detroit Lions receiver was attempting to catch a sliding pizza box and struck the median. He later posted pictures of the accident after suffering a broken left arm, with this to say, via Instagram:
“I’m releasing these pix for 2 reasons: 1) I walked away from a totalled vehicle #Blessed 2) I have to hear all the pizza jokes…lol I’ll start-Yes I am the 5th Ninja Turtle. #LovePizza #LetTheJokesBegin”
If Burleson can have a sense of humor about the incident, so can you. Don your favorite Lions apparel and consistently drop your beloved pizza. Or dress up as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle with a bum arm, sporting a Lions jersey and letting everyone know you did it all for the pizza.
Matthew Stensrud is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+.