By Christopher Campbell | Spout October 13, 2011 at 1:02AM
Welcome to Spout's 4th annual list of Halloween costume ideas based on recent movies. The whole concept behind this favorite tradition of mine is to come up with original film-related costumes that nobody else is likely to think of. Because you don't want to be the third Thor at a party or an anonymous one of a slew of bridesmaids wandering the neighborhood. You want something unique.
Most of these ideas aren't meant to be taken seriously. However, not all are exactly ill-advised, either. In the past I've included the word "unlikely" in the headline to describe suggestions like "Sexy Nazi" (from "The Reader") and "Anatomically Correct Dr. Manhattan" (from "Watchmen"), but I've been more interested in concepts that are doable even if improbable. So, I permit you to steal any of them so long as you send me a photo of the result. Or, if you just want to link me to a pic of your own original movie-related costume, I'd love to see what other ideas are out there.
Check my recommendations for Halloween 2011 after the jump.
Forrest Gump in an X-Men Uniform -- inspired by "X-Men: First Class"
One of the running themes I noticed in blockbusters this year is an interest in revisionist history. Superhero movies and "Transformers" sequels alike took us back in time for what I referred to as "history humping," of the "Forrest Gump" sort. But while I wrote a list of reasons why Tom Hanks should have been in "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," there's not much of a costume idea there. Forrest Gump as a Transformer doesn't work as well or as easily as Forrest Gump as an X-Man. Anyway, "X-Men: First Class" took us through the years in much greater Gump-y fashion. It's up to you just what order the wardrobe should be in, whether you want the X-Men jacket over the plaid shirt or the suit jacket and khakis over the blue and yellow version of the X-Men uniform. Maybe a full Gump outfit but with a Magneto helmet, or an X-Men uniform with a Bubba Gump hat. Bonus: get a friend involved and make a hybrid of Professor X and Lt. Dan who you can push around in a wheelchair.
Smurfette as Modest Mystique -- inspired by "The Smurfs" and "X-Men: First Class"
Here's another "X-Men: First Class"-based costume idea, this one for the ladies. Mystique is a simple sexy costume requiring no outfit, just blue paint over your naked body. You can watch the video of Jennifer Lawrence being made up for inspiration. Of course, Halloween is typically a cold night, and also you might not be brave enough to just be blue and naked. Also, it's not that unique of a costume idea. So, for an original twist, put on a white dress and hat and be Mystique as Smurfette. How do you keep from people just thinking you're that one female Smurf? You can add scales to your paint job, and you also ought to go with a red wig rather than blonde. Basically you'll be going as Mystique going as Smurfette rather than vice versa. Either way, I think this is a nice callback to the "Anatomically Correct Dr. Manhattan" costume idea from a couple years ago.
Ironically Sexy Babydoll Costume as Feminist Statement -- from "Sucker Punch"
Obviously there are actually "Sucker Punch" Halloween costumes already. After all, this is the holiday for provocative outfits, and the costumes worn by the young women in the film are just as easily sold as simple "sexy sailor, "sexy pilot" and "sexy army" designs. But if you're a smart and strong woman who doesn't buy into the whole slutty Halloween scene, these costumes are even more appropriate for you. Because Zach Snyder claims his movie isn't an exploitation, saying "I didn't dress those girls in the costume. The audience dressed those girls." So it's not like you're dressing up as a sexy sailor; it's the patriarchal society making you dress that way. And you're obliging to make an ironic, feminist point. Then again, we all know "Sucker Punch" is only faux feminism, so this idea could also backfire. Perhaps the more fitting costume would be "Man Dressed as Babydoll to Co-Opt the Feminism Debate," since it is a man's bad interpretation of modern feminism and also men have been defending the film by claiming it's more sexist against men.
Bridesmaid Pooping in a Sink -- from "Bridesmaids"
Maybe you'd prefer something inspired by a movie actually celebrated for its female empowerment. Again, though, you don't just want to be a boring old bridesmaid, or bride. Shake things up by going as Melissa McCarthy's character as she's unloading food poisoning-caused diarrhea into a bridal boutique's sink. One of the grossest gross-out scenes in a recent comedy, the riotous bit is almost as cruel to women as something found in a Lars von Trier film. It's not as hard to pull off as it sounds. If you're familiar with illusion-based costumes, like this one of a garbage man hauling a trash can with a guy in it or the gnome sitting on a toadstool, it'd be something similar. Your legs will go inside the sink cabinet (easily made out of a cardboard box) with your upper half coming up through the sink basin. Then you make a pair of fake legs that dangle over the front of the sink, and you cover the division of real and fake with the pink bridesmaid dress. I think you'll be the hit of the party with this one, so long as you don't go for full authenticity with smell and sound effects.
Elderly Harry Potter -- from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
Now that the "Harry Potter" series is over, no need to dress up as the boy wizard any longer. Instead, go as the old man wizard we see at the end of the final installment. What I had anticipated with this flash-forward epilogue, based on what the leaked photos looked like and how they were being described on the blogs last year, was that Harry and friends were now old timers. Not merely in their late 30s. I think Ginny is supposed to be barely older than I am, but she looks like she could be my mother. There must be something about wizard blood that causes you to age terribly. I guess Dumbledore could have been only about 45 years old in the movies, given this hypothesis of mine. Just do what you'd normally do for a Harry Potter costume, but now draw in a lot of wrinkles with a makeup pencil. Abracadabra, you're elderly Harry Potter.
Darth Maul as the Demon -- from "Insidious"
Don't throw out that Darth Maul mask you haven't worn in a decade. Not just because the character is being revived by George Lucas for the "Clone Wars" series. That old mask can also be put to good use this Halloween for a more contemporary movie-related costume. If you leave the robe behind and glue on some clown hair to the sides of the mask people might not even confuse your costume for the "Phantom Menace" villain. And more people saw "Insidious" than you think, so maybe you won't have to explain it to everyone. (side-by-side photo taken from OriginalTrilogy.com)
Chimp Catchphrase Hybrid -- from "Project Nim" and "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
Two of my favorite catchphrases this year are uttered by apes using sign language. The first, "Stone, smoke, now," is what Nim, from the documentary "Project Nim," signs when he wants to smoke pot. The second, "Why cookie rocket?," is asked by the orangutan Maurice in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," after Caesar gives his rival, Rocket, a Chips Ahoy. What does this have to do with Halloween costumes? Not much, except that a very simple chimpanzee outfit can go a long way this year. For part of the day, basically when kids are around, you're Rocket holding a cookie. Later, when you're with adults, you can break out the joint and be Nim. Save a cookie for even later, though, since it'll come in handly after the marijuana is smoked. Learning to sign each of these catchphrases will give you extra points.
The Plague -- from "Hobo With a Shotgun"
I think going as a Hobo with a shotgun is a great costume idea for this year. It shows you're hip to the neo-Grindhouse scene, and as long as you're not in Austin it might be a pretty unique getup. But it's also somewhat lazy, isn't it? Just dress like a dirty bum, with plaid hunting jacket or hooded parka, and carry a shotgun prop. Kinda boring, actually. If you really want to impress with both movie taste and effort, go as one of The Plague, preferably with a partner going as the other half of the deadly armored duo. They could easily be reconstructed with cardboard, though here's your chance to get into metalworking and construct a worthy replica. Better get started, though, since this could take some time.
The Driver Wearing a Jason Statham Mask -- from "Drive"
I've heard some people are attempting to go out as The Driver this year, which basically just consists of finding a really cool scorpion jacket, as similar as possible to the one Ryan Gosling wears in "Drive," and some brown leather driving gloves. Sadly official replicas won't be available until weeks after Halloween, so you might be best off making your own knock-off. Now, if you really want to make this a challenge, be The Driver while wearing his stunt-double mask, the one that looks like he's filling in for Jason Statham. Now, where are you to find a Jason Statham mask? You could contact the guys who made this silicone mask for "Crank 2," but that's sure to be pricey. Same goes for the less attractive Statham mask seen here. Now, the actual mask used in the film is not one-of-a-kind, and you can purchase one of these "Handsome Guy" silicone Halloween masks from SPFX Masks for $810 (more if you want eyebrows or any other hair). If you can't afford that, then just make a cardboard cutout mask of Statham's face.
Bill Cunningham -- from "Bill Cunningham New York"
Here's possibly the easiest of the bunch, and given its surprise success as one of the year's big documentary sleepers it's not as obscure a costume as you'd think. Cunningham even tells us in the film how to get his look down: just purchase a $20 French workman's jacket. Finding a real one outside France might be tough, but really any bright blue coat will do. The rest is to your best judgment, whether khakis and a tie or dark slacks and no tie. Obviously you'll need a camera around your neck, and if you're out and about, ride a bicycle to whatever parties or haunted houses you visit while in costume. As for the face, don't try for any old man makeup. As seen in the documentary (and above), you need a Bill Cunningham cardboard cutout face on a stick. It's even better if a bunch of people go as not "Bill Cunningham" but "New York Times Staff on Bill Cunningham's Birthday," since there was a roomful of masked Cunninghams in the scene, "Being John Malkovich"-like. Just don't hold the big mask in place while you're bicycling.