Halloween is a time when anybody can dress up in various elaborate or scanty costumes and be as ridiculous as possible. But, my friends, I implore you: Don’t be something obvious this year. Part of the fun of Halloween parties is guessing who or what everybody is. There’s no guesswork involved in slutty nurse or slutty Captain Picard. We’ve seen these all before. Wouldn’t it be more fun, and funny for yourself, to be the most obscure characters you can, thus making it as difficult as possible for people to guess? The following is a list of some costume ideas to make people scratch their head and make you laugh at how awesome and clever you are. And if they guess correctly right away, you should give them a prize, like all those marshmallow peanuts people seem to think are okay to give children.
Lindsey Wallace – HALLOWEEN (1978)
In the history of horror movies, no character has given less of a shit about the stuff going on around them than little Lindsey Wallace. All 8 year old Lindsey wants to do on Halloween is watch horror movies, a noble goal, but that stupid Michael Myers keeps killing her dog and her babysitter and stuff. She changes houses at one point and even has to run through the streets calling for help. Through it all, though, Lindsey shows little to no concern about anything. She truly can’t be bothered. Her clothes should be easy enough to replicate, but what will really sell the costume is the vacant stare of watching too much TV. And, occasionally, just yell out “Annie! Paul called!” to round out the character. Fun fact, Lindsey was played by Kyle Richards, who went on to become one of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. She took sitting on her ass all the way to the bank!
Stuart Ullman – THE SHINING (1980)
Who? Exactly the point. Mr. Ullman is the character at the very beginning who hires Jack Torrance for the winter caretaker position at the Overlook Hotel. In many ways he’s the most important character in the movie, as he’s the one who sets the action in motion and reveals the backstory of the previous caretaker’s murderous escapades. He is also not anyone’s first choice for Halloween costumes, and that is why he should be yours. The key to a good Stuart Ullman costume is specificity. Make sure you get the right early 80s combo of blue jacket, striped shirt, and red tie. Also, make sure the knot of the tie is the size of a Double Whopper. What’ll really make it stand out is the poofy combover style haircut. Just go into a barber shop and ask for the Ullman; they’ll know what you mean.
BONUS – If you want to go as a couple, or a team-up, get one of your friends to dress up like this other guy who’s in the office during Jack’s meeting with Ullman. He’s the Silent Bob of hotel management.
Dr. Frankenstein – FRANKENSTEIN (Any number of them)
You’re probably saying, “But, Kyle, this is not an obscure costume. Frankenstein is an incredibly popular movie; everyone will know who I am.” No, they won’t. 9 out of 10 people think the name Frankenstein applies to the monster and not the scientist who created him. You might get “Mad Scientist?” or “Evil Dentist?” and things like that, but unless you walk around screaming “It’s alive! It’s aliiiive!” nobody is going to guess. In fact, if you go with the Peter Cushing version of Dr. Frankenstein from the Hammer Films series, you probably won’t even get that. I think the most you’ll get, on the outside possibility they’re savvy enough to understand things, is “Ohhh, you’re the guy who made Frankenstein,” to which you should reply, “Yes, you’re right, I’m James Whale,” and walk away.
Astronaut Landon – PLANET OF THE APES (1968)
When Charlton Heston’s Col. Taylor crash lands on a future Earth inhabited by talking apes, he does so with two colleagues, Dodge and Landon. Almost immediately the three are separated and are captured by the equestrian gorillas. Dodge has been killed and stuffed and put on display. Taylor finds Landon later a mindless servant, having been lobotomized, leading to Heston’s immortal line, “You cut up his brain, you bloody baboons!” However, don’t dress up as the beloinclothed, mind-erased Landon, but instead be the freshly crashed, dirty astronaut suited Landon. Why? Because he’s almost indistinguishable from Charlton Heston at that point and it’ll be much funnier. I can see it now. You: “I’m a guy from Planet of the Apes.” Them: “Oh, Charlton Heston’s character?” You: “No.” Then you walk away and they’re left with wonderment.
Diane – TWIN PEAKS (1990)
Amid all the murder, intrigue, and friggin’ weirdness of David Lynch’s landmark television show Twin Peaks, we see a steadfast hero, Agent Dale Cooper, forever sending tape recorded notes back to someone named Diane in Washington. Agent Cooper talks to Diane more than any other character and we learn a lot about him through his conversations with her. Diane has no lines and in fact never once appears on screen. Nobody knows who she is or what she looks like. Hence: perfect Halloween costume. It might be tempting to dress up like a giant tape recorder, but I urge you to refrain. Diane could look like anything or anybody. You can dress however the hell you want. Maybe she wears a purple polyester pantsuit or maybe she wears jeans and a Denver Broncos jersey. Who can really say? People can ask who you are and you can say you’re Diane from Twin Peaks and they have to believe you. They have to! Walk around all night with a pile of tiny cassette tapes saying stuff like “Jeez, this Cooper’s a whack job,” and you’ve got everything perfect.
Oh, the fun that can be had from making your friends feel stupid. Don’t feel bad about it, because they are stupid. One year, I was Shaun from Shaun of the Dead. I had the white short-sleeved button up shirt, black trousers, red tie, and I’d even made an exact replica of the Foree Electronics name tag and finished it off with red pen ink in the pockets and blood splattered all over me. I thought everyone would know immediately who I am. On the contrary, no one did. All night I kept getting, “Dead Salesman?” and “Psycho Store Clerk?” and one time I even got a “Dead Mormon?” What?
Happy Halloween everybody!