Saturday, July 9, 2011

An Early Halloween Preparatory: Alternative Movie-Themed Costume Ideas

The only reason I put the word "alternative" in there is because some of these aren't exactly what one might initially think of as a costume when wanting to base their Halloween getup on a movie character.
You know what I mean right? You always see handfuls of people dressed up as Jigsaw, or The Joker, and usually a lot of them run into one another and then it's either a party or awkward, depending on what kind of people the dresser-uppers are.

To me, however, if you are a real self-proclaimed "buff", you will think outside of the box a little bit. Sure, some of these ARE a bit cliche or you have probably seen them before, but it's not like you can buy any of them in the store or will see another 5 of the same costume walking around at the same time, you know? (Case and point, that year that I counted at least 7 Darth Mauls within one hour.)

Or of course, these ideas can be used for other themed parties such as Academy Awards night (like my friends and I did last year, all with very different get-ups) or another film-themed party. Just have fun with it! I like seeing people put together home-made things, especially if they are well-known concepts/people, but most others never even thought of dressing up like that!

Without further ado, I give you some Alternative Movie Character-Themed Costume Ideas and the "Category" of costume/idea they might fall under (a few months early of Halloween):
[In no particular order]

Cute: Carl's House - Up!
One of my friend's actually dressed up as this for our Oscar Party that I mentioned and it might have been my favorite. It may sound hard to do, but if you are even a little bit crafty it's really not as elaborate as you might think. That is unless you really want to actually construct a wearable house out of wood or something, in which case I say good on you! But either way, this one is just a really cute idea.
What You Will Need:
For a simple sort of setup for this one, you can take a big, flat piece of cardboard, and cut out the outline of the house, and draw some of the basic structure on it. You can colour it in using bright paint or pencil crayons, and possibly print off a photo or two of the characters on your computer to glue on the house. Then, use a strong or ribbon to tie the cardboard around your neck like a sandwich-board sign might be worn, and get a bunch of helium balloons to tie to the ribbon or to the top of the cardboard house (as long as it's not right in front of your face).

Lazy and Frat Boy-ish: The Dude - The Big Lebowski
You know, for the guys who don't really want to dress up or have any costume that might hinder them during the night? Well in that case, go for simple and comfy, much like the character of The Dude himself.
What You Will Need:
A long, green or brown bathrobe, as well as slippers, a plain white or grey shirt, and some kind of shorts. Big, almost wrap-around sunglasses can also add to the look and give it some extra "cool", as well as long hair and a beard if you are feeling really up to dressing up. Of course, although this is The Dude's most iconic outfit, there are others that may work with comfy patterned pants and bowling shoes with a knitted sweater, if you want to that that rout, but who doesn't like an excuse to basically wear pajamas around? Hence, this falling into the "lazy" category.

Based on a Real Figure: Frida Kahlo - Frida
If you want your costume to be an actual historical figure in real life, just look to those films which are based on true stories! Especially those with vibrant, memorable characters with a distinct look, such as the artist Frida Kalho. I actually dressed up as her for my Oscar Party, and while some people weren't really sure who she was, those who got it found it pretty hilarious. I was also in art school at the time so I thought it would relevant.
What You Will Need:
Either a silky dress with some sort of bright colouring, or a floral-patterned dress. A shawl to wrap around yourself, preferably floral as well, and lots of beaded bracelets and necklaces. Pencil eyeliner or other makeup can be used to create her distinct and recognizable uni-brow, and for your hair you could either do a braid across the top in a headband shape, or attach some big, bright flowers to a headband. Of course, if you are feeling adventurous, it may also be fun to try on a Spanish accent for the night, but that's just me.

Ironically Hipster and Arty: Ricky Fitts - American Beauty
If someone were to walk around filming dead birds and plastic bags nowadays, they would just be seen as pretentiously artsy and a big hipster that is too cool for anything "mainstream". Heck, Ricky Fitts was in fact all those things, but you know what? I absolutely love this movie, and actually really liked how sweet Ricky could be at times. Plus, this wouldn't be a hard costume to put together, and if you actually want to be hipster-y, then go ahead, Ricky Fitts it up!
What You Will Need:
A white, button-down shirt, and a black tie, which could also be interchangeable with a black sweater-vest. A black hooded sweater on top is also optional, with a black toque for your head and a small video camera strapped to your hands at all time. Also, if you want to go the extra mile, it might be funny to get a small balloon filled with helium, and put a white plastic bag around it, so the bag kind of hovers around, then tie it with fishing-line to your belt or hand so it follows and dances around your head. Huh? Neat idea? Okay maybe a little corny, but I thought it would be cute.

Meaningful (Though Could be Seen as Slight Racial Stereotyping): John Coffey - The Green Mile
I'm going to go on record and say that I adore this movie, and John Coffey was just so sweet, I couldn't help but fall in love with his character, especially since he was so willing to help people. The only thing with this one (which I mentioned in the categorizing) is that in dressing up as a black man in the 1930s and obviously a slave could be taken as being racist or stereotyping. But I assure you, if you were to come up to me dressed as John Coffey, I would think it was a great idea.
What You Will Need:
A cream coloured button-down or henley shirt which you can then tear the sleeves off. Dungarees/overalls torn or rolled up at the bottom to be too short, and if you want to go the extra, messy mile, paint yourself to be the same colouring as Michael Clarke Duncan. Also if you want to add more to this costume, you can throw on a necklace of St. Christopher, or carry a little stuffed mouse with you.

Could be Another "Normal" Costume for People Who Haven't Seen the Movie/Opportunity to Act: Marge Olmstead Gunderson - Fargo
I'm going to be totally honest with you, this one I only put in there because I think it would be really fun to have the chance to throw out a terrible "Midwest" accent all night long. "Oh yeeeah?" "You betcha!" "The heck you mean?" Oh you know what I mean. Plus, if nobody "gets" who you are or haven't seen the movie, then you are just a small-town cop! Canadian cop because of the furry hat? No no, us Canadians would know better, but that's besides the point.
What You Will Need:
Big, wintery jacket, preferably in dark green, brown, or black, with a beige or tan coloured collared shirt underneath. Leather gloves and a toy gun. A furry hat with ear flaps, which some may call "Russian" in style, and a police badge on the top of your hat, which can be a fake toy one as well, or craftily made out of brown or yellow felt. You can go the extra mile by putting a patch on your coat's shoulder as well, and of course don't forget your terrible Midwest accent and slang!

Slutty: RollerGirl - Boogie Nights
You know how there is that idea that when girls reach a certain age, they just want to dress up in skimpy outfits and go out partying on Halloween? Well, Mean Girls likes to think that it's an excuse for girls to dress up in lingerie and animal ears, but here is another one that might strike your fancy to be something different: RollerGirl! You know, from that movie where Heather Graham takes her kit off and you see more than you ever wanted to on her? Yeah, I didn't like it either. But if you can skate pretty well, this one might be fun, and still keep the scantily-clad, party-girl sentiments you may be going for.
What You Will Need:
A short 70s style dress, or short shorts and a low-necked wife-beater tank top. You can add a bomber jacket on the second option if you want, or a retro design to the tank. Other embellishments that can be added are funky sunglasses, and of course the necessity of 4-wheeled old school roller-skates!

Cliche: Alex Delarge - A Clockwork Orange
I call this cliche because I have seen plently of people dress up as this character, though never as many as the afformentioned Joker, Darth Maul, Jigsaw, etc. Actually I see a lot of people dress up as this if they want to seem original or "deep", but haven't actually seen or understood the movie. Obviously not everyone is like this! I'm just saying it's what I've observed in a number of people. But for you who actually really like this movie, and want to have an excuse to go around saying things like "Yarbles!" and "Viddy Well!" all night, then go for it!
What You Will Need:
Bowler hat and cane, white button-up shirt and long john style pants, with an over-top jock-strap like device. Black lace-up boots, and fake eyelashes for one eye. Of course, a long, evil stare will also go a long long way for this one (in addition to the hilarious slang you should be inclined to use).

Elaborate: Pan or the Man with "Hand-Eyes" - El Labyrinto Del Fauno
Are you expetionally artistic or like to create big, elaborate costumes? A crafty kind of person with a sense of whimsy? Why not try to put together a costume like Pan or the Man with the Hand-Eyes in Pan's Labyrinth? It might take a while and take some experimenting to actually get it to work, but here are some initial ideas. Honestly, I don't really know how you would go about putting these together.
Pan the Faun - What You Will Need:
Paper mache or styrofoam for horns, paper mache for face, or just blue face paint. A grey or blue bodysuit for the body, and crinkly paper embellishing or pine-cone pieces to add texture, painted on top of course with blue, grey, and green. Acrylic paint may be a good idea to also make the costume crinkly like the Faun's texture. Blue or grey gloves with similar embellishing, and a brown belt to hand items/your fairies on. Extra effort can be put into making flared legs with hooves (or use stilts?) or puppet fairies to follow you around. Really just experiment and see what you can come up with. It would probably be pretty intense to make.
Man with the Hand-Eyes - What You Will Need:
A skin-coloured bodysuit (most likely from American Apparel, like my sister used to make a Lady Gaga bubble costume last year), paint or sewing with other material to make skin flaps and markings on his skin. Plain mask that can be painted over in skin colour with markings for nose, and face paint to make blood coming from the mouth, eyes drawn on the palms of your hands for the pivotal essence of the creature. You could also attache half-spheres to your palms to make it more authentic looking. Make pointed fingers out of pointy gloves or attaching paper spikes to your fingers as well, if you want to go the extra mile. Just play around with this one (and Pan, for that matter) to see what you can come up with.

Offensive, Most Likely Trying to be Funny and Failing: Precious - Precious
Honestly, why would you want to dress up as this? I mean, I understand wanting to dress up as a racially stereotypical black woman, as my sister's friends once did that, as they had "Black Lady" alter-egos, but if you were to do this and then tell people you are specifically Precious... the reactions might be along the lines of "Oh... Ouch." Or so I think anyways. I mean, it might be a funny idea, but the whole story of Precious was just way too harsh for me, and not something that you'd necessarily want to become or make fun of at risk of seeming offensive. But maybe that's what you're going for? Regardless.
What You Will Need:
Padding for weight (pillows, extra sweaters, etc), jeans, bomber jacket, hoop earrings and cheap plastic jewelry in bright colours, hair back in a ponytail. Extra effort for painting your skin brown or dying your hair black and getting the gruff expressions just right.

Obscure: Anton - The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
This is for someone who wants to have an obscure costume that not a lot of people will understand (kind of a "hipster" sentiment, huh?). Because as far as I can tell, not a lot of people have actually seen this somewhat random, but visually stunning film. And I know, Heath Ledger was incredible as always, but this was the first time I saw Andrew Garfield in anything and he stole the show. There are two ways you can go about this one, one of which is more easier to put together, the other a little more elaborate:
Simpler, Anton's regular Gypsy Attire - What You Will Need:
(Top photo) Red and green wooly sweaters, brown-ish coloured scarves, hoods, and a Norweigan-style woolen cap. Most importantly, fingerless gloves and an adorable expression.
More Elaborate, Anton's Hermes-Style Performance Outfit - What You Will Need:
(Bottom photo) Chain-maille armour, chest plate, metal helmet (or metal bowl) with Hermes wings (can construct out of cardboard and paint), silver pants with overskirt, red wrap for a belt. Most importantly, silver face paint. Extra mile for doing the painting with cheekbones and everything, as well as a chicken to do magic with.


That about does it for the ones I want to explain. Here are also some runner-up or other ideas for each "category" that you might be interested in, if none of those tickled your fancy (you will probably just have to Google these ones if you don't know who/what they are):

Cute: Olive Hoover - Little Miss Sunshine
Lazy or Frat Boy: Mark Zuckerberg - The Social Network
Based on a Real Figure: Harvey Milk - Milk
Hipster and Arty: Richie Tenenbaum - The Royal Tenenbaums, or Clementine Kruczynski - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Meaningful: Brandon Teena - Boys Don't Cry, or R. P McMurphy - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Could be Another, Non-Movie Based Costume: Vampire Lestat - Interview with the Vampire
Slutty: Guinevere - King Arthur
Cliche: Hannibal Lecter - The Silence of the Lambs, or Maverick - Top Gun
Elaborate: Fluffy, the 3-Headed Dog - Harry Potter
Offensive: Hynkel, Dictator of Tomania - The Great Dictator (Don't give me that, you're basically just dressing up as Hitler).
Obscure and Simpler: Kenny - A Single Man, or Neil Bookman - Running With Scissors
Obscure but More Elaborate: Any character from Man in the Iron Mask (come on now, you have to love Period Pieces).

And now, as per usual, I leave it to you. What did you think of those? Do you have any other, better ideas? Throw em out there!
I must admit, I just love dressing up for occasions, so that may be why I compiled this in the first place.