Nine Halloween Costume Ideas

By | December 23, 2013

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1. The Invisible Man. One of actor Claude Rains’s most memorable “appearances” was in the 1933 classic “The Invisible Man,” based on the H.G. Wells novel about a scientist whose invisibility formula has a dangerous side effect: it turns him into a psychopath. A famous scene shows the Invisible Man taking off his bandages to reveal nothing underneath them. This costume requires a trench coat, a dark, felt hat, sunglasses, a scarf, a pair of white gloves and a self-adhesive ace bandage. First wrap the bandage carefully around your face, starting with your forehead and working your way down to your chin. Do not cover your eyes! Then don the scarf, hat, coat, and finally the sunglasses. Be careful not to wrap the bandage too tightly, though, or you will be very hot and uncomfortable. Also, remember to leave a small gap over your mouth so that you can eat, drink and talk.

2. A teenager. Recapture your lost youth for a few hours this Halloween; dress up as a teenager! This disguise is also relatively simple- a pair of sneakers, over-sized blue jeans or cargo pants, a large, loose-fitting sweat shirt, and a backwards baseball cap. Make sure that the sneakers are untied, but spread enough at the top so that you don’t trip over the laces. Any store that sells costume jewelry will have clip-on earrings, and magnetic metal balls to give the effect of a pierced nose or lip. For the finishing touch, buy a metal bead necklace.

3. A geek. Take a large, clumsy-looking pair of gag eyeglasses, put a piece of masking tape right in the center, and you’re halfway there. A plastic set of buck teeth adds a little extra emphasis, and if you’re feeling really bold, smear a little mousse into your hair, and tease it until it’s sticking straight up. Wear a stiff, starched white shirt, buttoned all the way to the top, an ill-fitting pair of pants -preferably too tight and too short- and a $10 pair of sneakers, affectionately known as “bo-bo’s.” A clip-on bow tie is optional, but don’t forget the pocket protector, stuffed with at least half a dozen pens and maybe a small calculator. There is actually a website called, where for $8.95 you can purchase a “geek pack,” which includes a pocket protector and a pair of thick eyeglasses! Finally, you’ll want to clip a holstered cell phone to your belt. Something hi-tech like a Blackberry, if you can find one, and maybe a pager, as well.

4. A superhero. Why be Spiderman, Superman, or The Flash, when you can be. . .The Dash? A leotard worn over a nylon jumpsuit forms the basis of this outfit. Then find a 5′ x 2′ piece of fabric for a cape, and attach Velcro strips on the opposite corners of one end so that you can fasten it around your neck. Cut another strip of fabric into a 6″ x 1 ½” length, and with adhesive, iron it on to the front of the leotard. Now you have your official superhero emblem- the Dash! Step into a pair of black boots, slip an eyemask over your face, and you’re done. If you don’t fancy a dash on your chest, use an exclamation point, question mark, X, circle, square- whatever you like.

5. A judge. Large, black robes are easy to find at any costume store, or your old high school or college graduation gown might also suffice. While you’re at that costume store, pick up one of those long white judges’ wigs with curled locks. If the costume store is out of them, you can easily buy one online. Wear a pair of black trousers or slacks, and matching dress shoes. Find a wooden gavel to brandish, and at your local library or book store, a copy of some staid legal text, such as Black’s Law Dictionary. You might also accessorize with a pair of old-fashioned wire-rimmed spectacles.

6. Medusa. One of the most tragic stories to come out of ancient Greece is that of Medusa, the lovely maiden who was transformed into a hideous monster by Athena. The goddess inflicted this terrible punishment on the hapless mortal after Medusa was raped by Poseidon in one of Athena’s temples. With her green, scaly face, protruding tusks, and writhing serpents for hair, Medusa turned to stone all who gazed upon her horrifying countenance, until she was slain by Perseus. But a tragic tale of ancient Greece makes a wonderful modern Halloween costume. You will need a black or white dress, culled from a witch’s or angel’s costume, a pair of sandals, a green wig, rubber snakes, thick pipe cleaners, green face paint, black lipstick and eyeliner, long, fake fingernails and a set of fangs or monster teeth. Slip into the sandals and the dress. Next, twist about 20 of the rubber snakes into the green wig, using the pipe cleaners to wrap them around the false tufts of green hair. Paint your face green, accenting your eyes and lips with the black. Glue on the fake nails, put in the fangs, and you’re ready. Sometimes, Medusa is depicted with a bow and arrow. You can easily obtain a play set at a good costume store. You might also add some costume jewelry reminiscent of Classical Greek style.

7. A 19th-century pugilist. A decent pair of leather boxing gloves can run you $80 to $100, but if you’re feeling nostalgic this Halloween, you can come up with a good, economical costume: a bareknuckle-boxer from days-of-old. Find a pair of white tights, tube socks and ankle-high, black leather boots with laces. Like today’s boxers, the old-school pugilists typically fought bare-chested, but that might be a little cold for late October. Buy a flesh-colored, long-sleeved shirt so that you can have both realism and comfort. Goodwill or Salvation army stores have second-hand clothing at reasonable prices, and they do a lot of business around Halloween. Strap on a lifting belt, like the kind worn by bodybuilders. You will probably not be able to buy one at a second-hand clothing outlet, but sporting goods stores sell them for anywhere from $15 to $60, and I found one on Ebay for less than $10. As a final touch, put on a curly black mustache, and tell people that you’re John L. Sullivan, the famous Bostonian boxer who held the heavyweight championship from 1882 to 1892.

8. Circus tattoo man/woman. Be a sideshow carnival or circus freak this Halloween. You can achieve the desired effect three ways: 1: Spend thousands of dollars in cash and dozens of hours in pain having tattoos etched all over your body. 2. Purchase an authentic tattoo shirt for about $100. 3. Buy a flesh-colored shirt and several iron-on decals, and add a pair of tattoo sleeves, available from Zymetrical™ Discounted Novelties ( for $7.22. Personally, I would recommend 3. For ladies, wear an old hat or bonnet, and a dress. You could also accessorize with a fake beard. Men, wear an old pair of trousers and suspenders, and maybe a black derby. If you want a little more decoration, try some well-placed temporary tattoos on the neck and face.

9. “Mr. Bill.” Fans of classic television will recall “Mr. Bill,” the hapless Play-dough man who was subjected to weekly torments by “Mr. Hand” and “Sluggo” on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. With his trademark falsetto scream, “Oh, Noooooooo!,” poor Mr. Bill was routinely squashed, burned, melted, perforated, dismembered and decapitated, sometimes with his equally-unlucky canine companion, Spot. Although he’s disappeared from the public eye for about 30 years, he might be poised to make a comeback this Halloween. To achieve the Mr. Bill look, find a pair of white tennis shoes, white gloves, blue jeans, an old belt with a gold-colored buckle, and a red sweatshirt. Paint the belt white, being careful not to get any paint on the buckle. Sew three large, approximately 3″-diameter white plastic buttons buttons down the middle of the shirt. Apply white pancake makeup to your face, and put on a yellow wig and a red clown nose. Have fun, and be careful!

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