With Halloween right around the corner, small talk has changed from discussing the weather to inquiries from friends to total strangers on the subject of costumes. I, for one, am terrible, absolutely terrible at coming up with Halloween costume ideas and often just resort to throwing something predictable together out of the clothes that I already own about five minutes before I’m supposed to be anywhere a costume is required. One year recently, I just threw on some black leggings, a turtleneck and cut a misshapen strip of fabric with eyeholes and declared myself a burglar. I’m that kind of imaginative.
It all usually ends up being okay, but there are so many other with such excellent and creative ideas for costumes, that it makes me a little jealous. I’m most envious, not of the extremely elaborate or complicated get-ups that transform people into humorous caricatures or frightening beasts, but of those who simply turn themselves into another human—a character from a book (little or well-known) or play. These characters many know only from description and often have mental images of specific to the individual reader, but they are somehow instantly recognizable with the rights array of vestments and props.
There are the obvious, the Harry Potters and Alices (in Wonderland!). A Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, with one half of the face kindly and the other twisted and evil would be great, if not a little work-intensive. A particularly distinctive author—Mark Twain, perhaps—would be a little more difficult, but certainly recognizable. Or you could go even more obscure, with something like this, a perfect replica of the cover for one of my favorites, Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America. The possibilities are endless, and everyone loves guessing the identity of a really great, creative character costume.
I haven’t quite settled on my boring costume of the year, so if you can come up with any ways to make a great literary figure into a costume, let me know! Have you ever dressed up as a character from a book before?