While hats are often thought of as functional, there's at least one occasion that allows them to be used for pure fun - Halloween. October 31st, and the days leading up to it, gives people a chance to transform themselves into someone - or something - different than the norm.
Rather than pulling a ready-made costume from a store rack, find out how to use one of these five hats as an inspiration to create a Halloween costume. Borrow one of the suggestions given here or allow your own creativity to kick in to help you build the perfect disguise.
The top hat - characterized by its tall, cylinder-like crown and narrow brim - is the building block for countless Halloween costumes depending on your preference. One thing you can be sure of: If you wear one of these Halloween costumes with top hats, you'll exude a sense of class.
Mad Hatter: This colorful costume incorporates a mix of Victorian-style patterns with a quirky top hat. To channel this eccentric character, add whimsical adornments and pieces of colorful, patterned fabric to a plain top hat.
Abe Lincoln: You'll need a taller stovepipe-style hat, black suit with tails, white shirt and black string tie to pull off this presidential look. Add some facial hair, and you're ready to take office.
John Darling: To imitate Wendy's oldest brother in Peter Pan, wear a cotton nightdress, slippers, top hat and glasses. Fairy dust not included.
Ebenezer Scrooge: The main character in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens wore a black Victorian suit and top hat. Don't forget to add a scowl and a Fashionable cane.
Gangster: To dress as one of these lawbreakers - like Al Capone - wear a pinstripe suit, black fedora, two-tone shoes and spats. Tilt your hat to the side and add a fake cigar to round out the look.
Private detective: A fedora plus a trench coat are the basic makings for a private-eye costume. To create a sense of mystery, pull the brim of your hat down low.
Indiana Jones: To look like Dr. Jones, don a pair of khaki pants and a shirt, a leather bomber jacket, a leather whip and an outback-style fedora. You'll find yourself saving a damsel in distress in no time.
Freddy Krueger: To become this gloved madman from the Nightmare on Elm Street movie series, put on a brown fedora and a sweater with wide, red and black horizontal stripes. A trademark mask and gloves will finish out this scary ensemble.
If you favor tumbleweeds, saloons, gunfights and fast horses or you just simply like the way you look in a western hat, this section is for you.
Marshall: Take charge, and put on a Halloween costume hat that will show that you're the new law in town. All you'll need is a western hat, shirt, pants, belt, gun holster - and don't forget that shiny gold star.
Rodeo Star: If you want to wear some authentic western gear, be a rodeo star. Start with a cowboy hat that looks as if it's gone a few rounds in the rodeo arena. Underneath the hat, add jeans, a western shirt, belt and belt buckle, chaps, boots and a pair of spurs. Now, you're ready to ride.
Famous Western Hero or Villain: Start with a hat and then look up a picture of your favorite western hero and villain and go from there. You'll have an enviable costume in no time.
If you're interested in having French flair this Halloween, consider building a costume based on a beret. You can pose as a member of a military force, a starving artist or something else entirely original - the choice is yours.
Mime: To pose as one of these silent, yet animated, characters, put on a black-and-white tee, black pants, some dramatic face-paint, suspenders and a beret.
Bonnie Parker: As the female half of the duo Bonnie and Clyde, wear a wool beret, silk scarf, sweater and pencil skirt to portray a wolf in sheep's clothing.
French Painter: A black beret, white painter's smock, silk scarf and an artist's brush are all you'll need to paint yourself as a French artist.
Men's Wartime Officer Costume: To command this look, put on a dark green military jacket with chevron insignia and gold stars, dark green pants, cream colored shirt and dark green beret.
Nautical hats can transform you into anything from a first-mate to a high-ranking officer of the seas. Check out the following ideas for inspiration:
Navy Captain: Don a double-breasted navy blazer, navy pants, white shirt and navy tie. Add a pair of white gloves and top everything off with a white nautical cap and you're ready to set sail.
Popeye: To create this costume, you'll need a white sailor hat, black shirt with red collar, blue pants and a yellow belt - and don't forget to eat your spinach.
Female Sailor: Put together the basics of this easy-to-craft costume with a white or navy dress and a nautical cap.
Creating your next Halloween costume is as easy as choosing a hat and letting it inspire you. Once you decide on the direction of your costume, you can have a ton of fun choosing the pieces and accessories to make it a masterpiece you and others will admire.