With the nation gearing up for Halloween festivities, once more, we are undoubtedly destined to witness the eccentric musings and machinations of the imaginative masses, as they prepare to don their most sinister and ingenious costumes and take to the streets.
Stores throughout America were already eagerly anticipating the arrival of Halloween, back in early September, stocking the isles to the rafters. What’s more, with the population spending billions of dollars on Halloween paraphernalia, it’s no wonder that “pop-up” stores like Halloween City and Spirit Halloween are so phenomenally successful over the fall period.
Some suggest the reason for Halloween’s unprecedented success revolves around a cost-to-reward ratio. As costumes, decorations and candy are so cheap, families encountering the harsh economic times feel compelled to engage in the frivolities of the spooky season, with little concern for cost implications.
Year upon year, American consumers have splashed more cash on Halloween products. According to the National Retail Federation, shoppers had spent an average of $72.31 each, for 2011, and were expected to spend close to $80 each for the following year, adding up to a whopping $8 billion. Half of all those surveyed said they would decorate either their homes or front yards, with a third claiming they would take their young ones trick-or-treating.
Without a shadow of a doubt, however, the most amount of money splurged contributes towards the costume. Therefore, we felt obliged to take a brief look at some of the greatest Halloween costumes seen to date; from smart to scary and from weird to funny, we will explore some of our favorite costumes to date, and take a brief look at some of the horror movies, video games and television that inspired them.
WARNING: The following article contains some images that depict blood and gore. Viewer discretion is advised.
Beetlejuice Family Costume Set
Starting off our list is the Beetlejuice family. Tim Burton’s 1988 classic was born for inspiring Halloween costumes. Barbara and Adam Maitland (played by Geena Davis and Alec Balwin, respectively) find themselves deceased, and trapped inside their own home as part of an otherworldly dimension. When the Deetzes move in, the couple decide to employ some haunting tactics to dispel the new occupants, by playing devious tricks and contorting their faces.
The Beetlejuice family costume gains top marks for ingenuity, showcasing the stretched face masks for the Maitland couple, as well as costumes for Lydia Deetz and a mini Beetlejuice.
No doubt, the intricacy involved in fashioning these truly grotesque faces would put most people off. The creator of the costumes explained part of the design process, after entering in for the 2012 Halloween Costume Contest:
“I sculpted the Barbara and Adam Maitland stretched face masks from construction foam sheets and then painted them. Beetlejuice’s costume started as a white suit and I sewed black satin ribbon stripes all over. I melded two wigs together and then painted the forehead with acrylic and skin adhesive.”
The Doctor Who Halloween Costume
Everyone’s favorite sonic screwdriver-twirling Doctor (let’s be honest, there’s only one) has undergone numerous distinct transitions over the years. However, at least in recent years, none have stood out quite as well as Matt Smith’s incarnation, replete with his tweed jacket, bow tie and ridiculously floppy hair.
In 2010, Matt Smith was proclaimed the eleventh Doctor, becoming the very first actor to receive a nomination for playing the character, at the British Academy of Film and Television Awards.
Baby Alien Costumes
For all those fans of the Alien franchise, this next costume will be truly up your street. The iconic dinner scene, from Ridley Scott’s first Alien outing, will remain firmly engrained within the mind of many a film buff. As a nascent extraterrestrial bursts from Executive Officer Kane’s chest (John Hurt), splaying entrails across the table, his fellow crewmates can do nothing but look on in horror.
The expression on the young child’s face seems to reflect one of utter bewilderment. Nonetheless, the horror of the baby alien is offset by the adorable chicken outfit.
Meanwhile, another praiseworthy Alien-inspired costume comes in the form of the gigantic Work Loader machine, which Ripley was seen operating during the final throws of the second film, Aliens.
Saw Puppet Costume
Saw was a tale of unadulterated bloodshed and horror, spawning a number of successors that lacked the intelligence of the first. The beauty of the original Saw wasn’t so much the
gruesome scenes; as is the case with most classic horrors, it was actually the director’s ability to use horror devices that would psychologically mess with the viewer’s mind, whilst preventing them from seeing the perpetrator of the ghastly kidnappings, Jigsaw.
One of the tools used to deliver the maniac’s warped messages was a menacing looking puppet, riding a tricycle. The odd looking instrument aired the gravelly sentiments of his master, with sinister intent.
Gather up a tricycle, a wig, a white mask and a child (assuming its yours), fashion them together and you can have your very own Saw puppet.
Our favorite forum comment, regarding this spectacularly well-designed costume, comes from Iheardtherewouldbecake:
Star Wars Human and Pooch
Moving away from horror costumes, very briefly, we take a look at Star Wars themed humans and dogs. During Star Wars Episode V: The Emperor Strikes Back, hulking Walkers lumber across the snowy terrain, at the Battle of Hoth.
These enormous juggernauts were the inspiration behind the “Dog Walker,” or the “AT-AT Canine,” and a similarly impressive human equivalent.
One that probably won’t be universally recognized – but still shows dedication to the Halloween spirit – is the Slender costume. Slender is a faceless video game character that shot to notoriety in the, truly terrifying, indie-developed game Slender: The Eight Pages.
Slender was based upon pseudo-folklore, which implicated the shadowy figure in the abduction of children.
The game is set during the dead of night, in the center of a woodland area. The principle objective lies in collecting all of the eight pages, before Slender manages to randomly emerge in front of the player’s field of view; this alarming moment is complemented with loud static noise and disrupted vision, ultimately, meaning it’s game over.
The next unpleasant scourge to grace the list, which initially originated from the annals of the Spider-Man comic books, is Venom (a.k.a. the Venom Symbiote). Venom merged with a vast array of host subjects, including Spider-Man himself, imparting significantly augmented powers.
The shape-shifting foe made an indelible impression upon comic book aficionados, and even clocked in at 33 on Empire Magazine’s 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters of all time.
The photo showcases some incredibly artistic endeavors, which must have required considerable time and patience. From the elongated facial features, jagged teeth and grotesque tongue, down to the symbol emblazoned across his chest, this Halloween party-goer has truly nailed it; the undead nun in the backdrop also seems to appreciate his effort, as well.
The Roller Coaster Squad
Although not strictly speaking a particularly Halloween-style assembly, you have to credit this gang with bringing originality and fun to the table.
With each member of the squad sporting homemade rollercoaster chairs, comprising padded restraint bars and an array of dangling fake legs, the scene makes for quite a spectacle. Factor in the authentic “roller coaster facial expressions,” as well as the impeccable angle at which the seats are positioned, and you have a touch of genius.
Mini Edward Scissorhands
Tim Burton has been the chief engineer behind a number of twisted works of fiction, from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to his dark adaptation of the children’s classic Alice in Wonderland. However, his 1990s cult classic Edward Scissorhands will remain one of his most bizarre and accomplished movies.
This one was posted on Instructables, and was uploaded alongside instructions on how to actually fashion the garments for your children; the designer of the attire, who was incidentally one of the child’s parents, even goes on to describe how they applied the makeup and styled the hair to mimic Johnny Depp’s pale-skinned, scissor-wielding recluse.
Kids up and down the country are likely to be scarred from these traumatic childhood experiences, as they’re forced to fulfill the creative whims of their parents – this youngster, quite literally, if he’s not too careful with those scissors.
The Grayscale Duo
Whitney Avalon, a Jack of all trades in the entertainment industry, created a grayscale costume, alongside Steve Gossett. With the couple’s inspiration being black and white photographs, naturally, they spent quite some time perfecting their look.
After the photographs stormed onto the front page of Reddit, and managed to generate phenomenal intrigue, the two elected to share the secrets to their truly amazing costumes with the rest of the world (see sources section).
The pair applied a water-activated makeup, called Aquacolor Makeup (color 32B), a blush, eye shadow, gray contact lenses and dyed their hair jet-black. In the clothing department, they claim it to be of critical importance to use garments with different shades of gray, in regions where you would expect color.
American Psycho Costume
One of Christian Bale’s more terrifying appearances on the silver screen was when he played the role of Patrick Bateman, a high-flying investment banker plagued by apparent psychological issues, and who eventually went on to commit a series of murders.
At its heart, American Psycho was a brutally frank account of what happens when the human psyche takes a serious tumble. All in all, the Welsh-born actor plays the deranged part spookily well, and the dark satire received mostly critical acclaim.
The costume is simple enough to recreate, requiring nothing but slicked-back hair, a plastic overcoat, stained with red paint, and an axe. Of course, the clean-cut Bateman shirt and tie are also critical to the ensemble’s look.
It’s a Head in a Box
No Halloween costume list would be complete without the classic “head in a box” party piece. However, there’s also the “head on a platter” look, should you so desire a change.
Back To The Future
Although Back To The Future themed costumes are, let’s face it, not the creepiest thing you are likely to stumble upon this Halloween, this particular setup was certainly worthy of an honorable mention.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, and produced by the great Steven Spielberg, Back To The Future tells a tale of Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox). After being sent back through time, McFly, who is ably assisted by Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd), is tasked with repairing time by ensuring his mother and father fall in love.
In this photo, the wannabe McFly is particularly impressive. However, the pièce de résistance is definitely the pair’s recreation of the DeLorean DMC-12 time machine, situated in the backdrop.
The Simpsons Costumes
The Simpsons has had many memorable moments, with Homer and company committing many acts of buffoonery throughout the longest-running American sitcom. Without fail, every year, The Simpsons celebrates the occasion with a special Halloween episode of the show. Therefore, we felt obliged to include two of the best Simpsons-based Halloween costumes.
The first image (left) shows Kang and Kodos, the two aliens that are heavily featured in the Halloween episodes, roaming the streets of Madison at Freakfest, whereas the second is of a ski-suited Ned Flanders (right).
For diehard Simpsons fanatics, the premise of the Ned Flanders costume will be instantaneously appreciated. For reference, here’s a short segment of the Simpsons clip explaining the costume, as Homer desperately attempts to recall the life-saving words of advice, imparted by his skiing instructor.
Joker from The Dark Knight
The Joker has always been a formidable comic book nemesis, with many actors having gone on to play the role in various styles for both the television series and movie franchises.
When Heath Ledger assumed the role for the Dark Knight, he locked himself in isolation to focus on nailing down his performance, trying to master the character’s eccentric affectations, personality and speech. This intense, month-long regime culminated in what many have described to be the most captivating performances in the history of cinema.
Speaking to the New York Times, back in 2007, Ledger explained that the role was mentally draining, before going on to describe the Joker’s menacing and conniving personality:
“[He is a] psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy.”
It comes as little surprise that hoards of fans dress up to impersonate Heath’s version of the Joker, every Halloween.
Zombie Zipper Face
Admittedly, I wasn’t quite sure how to describe this next monstrosity. Certainly, this Halloween enthusiast has come up trumps in the makeup department, managing to fashion a face that looks like it has genuinely been unfastened to expose the deeper tissue layers.
With oodles of blood and spine-chilling green eyes, this Halloween costume definitely deserves top honors.
Kerrigan “Queen of Blades” Costume
Up next is another one for the video game follower. In the world of Starcraft, Kerrigan represents a force to be reckoned with. Serving as a espionage agent during the first Starcraft, and allying with the Sons of Korhal, Kerrigan eventually becomes captured by an insectoid alien race (the Zerg) and is mutated into a hideous human/Zerg hybrid, self-proclaimed as the Queen of Blades.
Once the Overmind is destroyed, Kerrigan then went on to wreak untold destruction throughout Starcraft’s fictional universe. She was even voted as the greatest video game villain of all time by Gamespot, during 2010.
As a result, the Queen of Blades’ thick, scaly skin, glowing eyes and bony wings make her an ideal character for Halloween festivities.
So, there concludes our “Halloween costumes to amaze” list, covering everything from American Psycho to Beetlejuice and from Saw to The Simpsons. We hope you have found some inspiration from our top list of costumes. Happy Halloween!
By: James Fenner