The Most Overused Movie-Based Costumes Ever (and the Ones We'd Like to See More Of)
Halloween comes with the opportunity to ditch your typical attire and get creative. Why blow it? Here, 10 overused looks to avoid and 10 getups we want to see you in this year.
By Perri Nemiroff
Most Overused: 1. Ghostface
Even as someone who’s proud to dub Scream a favorite film of all-time, the Ghostface costumes just have to stop. The getup was an eerie, novel new look when the film first hit, but now it doesn’t matter if you go for the classic Scream model, the silly Scary Movie edition, or even the one showered in blood. It’s all been done before. Many, many times before.
2. Michael Myers
Michael Myers has been around since John Carpenter’s Halloween arrived back in 1978, so the costume craze was and is inevitable, but the bigger problem with this look is that it’s become so commercial. A hulking, unkempt, and deftly defined Michael in the film is horrifying, but slap on a bright blue jumpsuit and a pristine white mask and you’ll look more like a cartoon character than a ruthless killer.
Having debuted just two years later and spawned a 12-film franchise, Jason Voorhees finds himself in a similar position to Michael Myers, but, making matters worse, the hockey mask is even more convenient. Got a Halloween party just hours away that you’re ill prepared for? Just rummage through your old sports gear, find the mask and slap it on, right? Yes, it’s a quick fix, but is it worth being one of many at that party?
Skulls and crossbones may still be pretty cool on clothing, jewelry, and other accessories, but as far as Halloween costumes go, it’s over and done with. There are ways to spice up the look, but if you’re taking the costume-in-a-bag approach and plan on donning a black jump suit with white bones drawn on it, nothing can save you – except perhaps a dog dressed as Zero and a Jack Skellington head.
Thanks to the pop culture vampire overdose, there’s no way to parade around as a bloodsucker without being judged by those who’ve lost their patience with the overly romanticized versions of the supernatural creatures. The Twilight Saga has come and gone and Vampire Academy has yet to hit theaters, so why don’t we make use of the lull and give this Halloween a plastic fang break?
Even the best makeup artist won’t make your zombie costume any more appealing than the thousands of others that’ll likely be lumbering the streets. If there’s a YouTube “ how to” video teaching you how to make yourself look like a certain creature in 10 easy steps, you might want to avoid putting the tips to use unless you plan on getting such a large horde together that you can scale walls World War Z style.
7. Bane or the Joker
Now that Ben Affleck is Batman, we’re moving into an entirely new phase for the Dark Knight, so it’s time to leave old enemies behind and make room for whomever Batman and Superman team up to take on in the July 2015 crossover film. Until then, you can only dress up as Bane or The Joker if you’re as devilishly adorable as this little boy.
8. Billy from Saw
After seven films that got progressively worse, at this point, it’s a wonder that the Saw franchise’s bicycle-riding puppet Billy was ever a remotely creepy character. But the bigger problem for Halloween is, it’s also very difficult to replicate the films’ Billy in real life without looking entirely laughable. This Billy’s poorly tailored suit is actually more horrifying than his painfully inaccurate and goofy looking face.
9. The Devil
Minus slapping on a pair of cat ears, there’s nothing less original than dressing up as the devil for Halloween. And why would you want to anyway? The costume-in-a-bag route only gives you three options – sexy devil, cartoonish and ridiculous devil, or a deviled egg. Want to get creative? Dress up as the result of the satanic ritual in VHS 2’s “Safe Haven” and run around calling everyone Papa.
10. Sexy Anything
Taking a familiar Halloween costume and turning into the “sexy” version of that creature or villain does not make it a fresh idea. In fact, it might wind up coming across as though you just couldn’t manage to assemble the complete look. “I can’t find a proper robe to go with my Ghostface mask. I’ll just wear a long black shirt and nothing else.” “I forgot to do laundry. Wouldn’t it be cool if I were a werewolf – but the shirtless Taylor Lautner kind?” No and no.
Do These Instead: 1. The Strangers Masks
The Strangers hit in 2008 and did fairly well considering its minimal budget, but for some reason, the highly memorable villains never took off. However, that means the masks still retain a disconcerting effect. They’re not exactly screen accurate, but there’s actually a site dedicated to the masks from the film where you can buy your own “Man in the Mask” look, the pin up girl version, or the dollface edition at a reasonable price.
2. Red-Faced Demon from Insidious
Insidious’ red face demon is creepy enough in Specs’ drawing; it doesn’t get more horrifying than seeing the guy in the flesh. If you manage to nail the character’s bold make-up and track down the appropriate teeth, contact lenses, and hairdo – or lack thereof – whether people are aware of the Insidious films or not, you’re going to draw attention.
3. Bagul from Sinister
This is another one that’s bound to make folks uneasy whether or not they’ve seen the film, but if someone has caught Sinister and is aware of what Bagul is capable of, seeing Mr. Boogie in the flesh is bound to have exceptional effect. Plus, if you’ve got a little one around and don’t mind giving her an early dose of horror, a little girl (or very short friend) donning a yellow raincoat could make for the perfect accessory.
4. Harry Potter Dementor
While everyone else is running around dressed as one of many Harry, Ron, or Hermiones, you can suck the life out of them all by celebrating Halloween as a Dementor. And the best part is, Costume Craze makes this look incredibly easy to pull off. Not only is the Dementor-in-a-bag getup truly unsettling, but you can also pick up a pair of these appropriately unappealing Dementor hands to go along with it.
5. House of 1000 Corpses' Captain Spaulding
Whether you’ve got a fear of clowns or not, there’s no denying that a grimy one with a scraggly beard, nasty teeth, and bloodstained hands is absolutely nightmarish. Not only is Captain Spaulding an inexplicably underused look for Halloween, but it’s also foolproof. Accuracy isn’t an issue; if you keep Rob Zombie’s description of the character in mind – “crusty looking old man in a filthy clown suit and smeared make-up” - you’re bound to come out with something shocking.
6. Trick ‘R Treat’s Sam
It’d be borderline in appropriate for an adult to dress a child as Sam from Trick ‘R Treat, but if you’re a fan of the horror anthology, it really couldn’t get much better than that. However, if you’d rather spare a kid from potentially being scarred for life, going as a more mature version of the character could be equally as disturbing, especially if you manage to sell Sam’s eerie silence and keep your prop pumpkin lollipop dripping with fake blood at all times.
7. The Hobo from Hobo with a Shotgun
Jason Eisener’s Hobo with a Shotgun is so vivid and highly stylized that just about any character from the film would make for a prime Halloween costume, but the obvious choice is to dress like Rutger Hauer’s Hobo. Best of all, he’s a hobo! Who doesn’t have a flannel shirt, some rags, and an old ski cap lying around? Layer it all up, roll around in some dirt, find yourself a toy shotgun and you’re done.
8. Lola Stone from The Loved Ones
Finding the right Halloween costume can be tough for a lady with a thing for serial killers. Almost all of the iconic options are male and just about every single one of them wears a shapeless jumpsuit or grimy garb that’s gone unwashed for years. Lola from The Loved Ones, however, will give you the chance to bust out the brightest pink dress you can find, get your arts and crafts on by making your own paper crown, and let you brandish a power tool, too
9. Eli from Let the Right One In
This is one of very few exceptions to the no vampire rule. Unlike the sparkly brigade of supermodels from The Twilight Saga, Eli of Let the Right One In is as raw and real as big screen vampires come. She may not be as recognizable as Edward and Bella, but if you throw on a beige shirt and replicate her blood trails and someone still can’t figure out who you are, at least you can judge them for their poor taste in film.
10. Any Monster from The Cabin in the Woods
Sitterson’s whiteboard is loaded with less likely murderers like the alien beast, angry molesting tree, and the merman, but Cabin in the Woods also proves that there’s strength in numbers. Vampires, werewolves, and zombies are old news, but not when they’re reveling in a bloodbath together, so if you’ve got no choice, but to go with an option on the used and abused list, do it with a big group of friends and make it work Cabin in the Woods style.