Need a last minute Halloween costume? Check out Hothouse’s literary suggestions!
1. Hunter S. Thompson
If you’re looking for a literary style icon to imitate this Halloween whose fashion is undeniably American and revels in giving two middle fingers up to the powers that be, look no further than Hunter S. Thompson. Seen to the left, Thompson’s flight jacket and aviator sunglasses point to his brief service in the United States Air Force, while the golf ball in hand, cigarette hanging from his mouth, and straw-woven visor betray his infamous reputation as a man of leisure.
~Asa Johnson, Poetry Board
2. Arthur Dent
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams is one of the most well-known book series around. Even the average person might recognize the names of iconic characters such as Marvin the Paranoid Android or Ford Prefect. The name Arthur Dent is probably the most likely to ring a bell, however, and that’s why he’s on this year’s costume replication list. Not to mention the pure comfortability of his outfit; Arthur spends a large portion of the series dressed in his pajamas and a bathrobe.
If you’re looking for something easy but recognizable to wear for this Halloween (or if you’re just in the mood), throw on a pair of sweatpants and the warmest bathrobe you own. Now you’re perfect! And if you’re planning on leaving the house in your new Arthur Dent outfit, you might want to bring a towel while you’re at it. It is, after all, “the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.”
~Morgan Southworth, Nonfiction Board
3. Inigo Montoya
We all love the Spanish fencer, Inigo Montoya, whose sole purpose in life is to avenge his father in William Goldman’s The Princess Bride. Inigo makes a wonderful Halloween costume, as you can parade around in a pirate outfit thrusting a sword, hopefully plastic, at people. To complete the outfit, you must shout at people in a fun accent “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” But, if you are too lazy to find a costume and sword, don’t worry. There is a lazy man’s version of the costume. You can buy a “Hello, my name is…” name tag and write Inigo Montoya on it. Of course, you must finish the phrase to get the full effect. But there’s nothing more exciting than strolling through the street pretending to be an invincible Spanish fencer, nor is there a better Halloween costume.
~Tracy Yager, Nonfiction Board
4. Rainbow Fish
Halloween is the purr-fect time to repli-cat your favorite literary figures while si-meow-taneously showing who you are as a purr-son. If you haven’t guessed yet, my recommendation is the literary icon Rainbow Fish from Marcus Pfister’s The Rainbow Fish! Relive your childhood and wow your friends with an easily DIY-able literary character. And because politics are in, tell all your friends about the book’s underlying message of spreading Socialism and see how they react! Spill that tea!
The Rainbow Fish has gone the way of Sarah Jessica Parker: we recognized their influence but don’t talk about them anymore. So take out your colorful scales, pop on your S/S 2016 Moschino lipstick, and start a conversation about this vintage icon.
~Dan Kolinko, Fiction Board
5. Isidore-Lucien Ducasse as Comte de Lautréamont
Dressing up as a coherent character is so drab. Why not dress up as an author’s self-crafted persona and don their pseudonym for a night of Halloween debauchery? Oh, the delicious layers of identity. Will your pseudonym successfully assimilate into French society, or will he struggle to shed his Uruguayan past? We’re talking about the man that influenced surrealists, so feel free to get a little wacky and incomprehensible with this costume, but remember, it’s mainly about personality here.
For this costume, find yourself a white dress shirt, a vest, a buttoned overcoat, and a nice plaid bowtie. None too polished though; you’ve got a little scruff in ya, but that cleanly shaved baby face is hard to ignore. One of the most important elements of this costume is your expression, so get ready to maintain a brooding but glazed look in your eyes for most of the night. You’re still writing Les Chants de Maldoror and your mind is a kaleidoscope of abstractness and fragmentation—act the part. And remember, you’re a poète maudit, you’re an outcast, you’ve got depths no one can even fathom. Now let’s see that brooding young artist face.
Additional touches: you love Edgar Allan Poe and the second generation Romantics, so quote them often. Make sure your use of adjectives is highly self-indulgent, and don’t be afraid to express any macabre thoughts on death to that guy you see walking to the fridge to get another beer.
Now you’re good to go. Saunter forth on Halloween with the knowledge that your character—characters?—created a piece of literature meant to embody evil in its purest phenomenological form. You’re basically going to own Halloween.
~Delia Davis, Fiction Board
6. Miss Havisham
Picture this, you’re walking around campus after getting dropped off by a friend or whatever ride-share is left in Austin after an intense Halloween night of debauchery and fun. By now, your makeup has smeared a bit, your costume isn’t how it was when you first tried it on, the night is wearing you well. As you’re approaching the door to your dorm, or apartment, and the key’s been turned and your hand is about ready to twist the knob, the light to your left is disturbed and from the corner of your eye, you see the figure of a woman in a slightly tattered and faded white wedding gown. Initial thought: this is just another La Llorona or zombie bride. But there is something slightly different, something older, perhaps Victorian to the trained eye. She’s standing just outside the glow of light on the ground, enhancing that yellow/moldy tinge of her gown, her face veiled by a thin white sheet, but porous enough to see her makeup stale and dry in uneven blotches to hide her noticeably cracked skin. Another thing that’s a bit off: her missing heel. If you’re a fan of Dickens, you may recognize the iconic figure, Miss Havisham, the cold and disturbed old woman from Great Expectations. To the untrained eye, it’s a crazy woman in a wedding gown set to ruin someone’s night. She slowly walks forward, carefully avoiding complete illumination. This causes you to rush inside and lock your door behind you. If you can, you look outside the window one last time, curious why the footsteps stopped. Just outside your window, the thin veil sits on the floor.
~Joe Lozano, Fiction Board
7. Victor Frankenstein
8. Effie Trinket
Here’s the situation: It’s 8 PM on October 31st and your friends are going to be over in an hour to drag you to a costume party where a costume is mandatory for entry, and you have nothing to wear, and no idea what to do with your makeup. What do you do? At this point I think it’s time to follow in the footsteps of Effie Trinket, the ineffable escort of Katniss and Peeta in the Hunger Games trilogy. Known for her out-there outfits, Effie is the model of eccentricity and originality that everyone strives for in developing a costume of any kind. The best part? You don’t even have to coordinate anything carefully; the entire aesthetic is built upon zany and spontaneous fashion choices. Plus, if you’re a little too heavy-handed with the eye shadow, just pass it off as intentional and call it couture. Effie Trinket is unafraid and you should be too. So grab the wildest piece of clothing from your closet and wear it with pride, and may the odds be ever in your favor!
~Jennifer Velazquez, Nonfiction Board
9. Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe is perfect for costume replication because of his haunting poems and short stories! Since his work is often read in classrooms and referenced in popular TV shows like Witches of East End and The Following, even your non-literary friends will recognize your costume. You can complete this look with a lot of items you already have in your closet. To start off, you need black pants. Next, you need a white button up long sleeve shirt that is collarless or has a banded collar. Because Poe’s clothes were in the formal Victorian style that gentleman usually wore in the 1840s, you will also need a black vest. This is probably the most important piece of the costume. To complete the look you can get a black stuffed raven or raven puppet to make it obvious that you are replicating the author and not just any Victorian male. Some accessories you can get to complement the look: a black regency ascot cravat, a book of Poe’s work, and a gold pocket watch. Don’t forget to draw on the facial hair! “I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.” –Edgar Allan Poe
~Jillian Dyess, Nonfiction Board
10. Mr. and Mrs. Twit from Roald Dahl’s The Twits
I have chosen a character pair- you can choose one of the two or grab someone else and make a couples costume. The Twits is one of Roald Dahl’s less well known stories but one I always loved as a kid, along with Fantastic Mr Fox, The Witches and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. As costumes, the Twits have masses of potential; with Roald Dahl’s description and Quentin Blake’s illustrations you have plenty of inspiration and space to make yourself bird pie or upside down monkey props- which I can guarantee no one else will have.
The Twits is a story about a married couple who is nasty to everyone including each other. They spend their time thinking of cruel tricks to play on one another such as Mrs. Twit putting worms in Mr. Twit’s food, or Mr. Twit attaching his wife to balloons and letting her float away (hopefully forever). They hate children and animals, putting superglue on trees in order to catch birds for bird pie, and keeping a family of monkeys captive and forcing them to stand on their heads. The birds and monkeys eventually get a very satisfying revenge (spoilers).
Mr. Twit is covered with bristly hair full of food that he never washes; Mrs. Twit has one glass eye, a mean sneer and walking stick (which Mr. Twit made longer to make her think she was shrinking). Props and accessories can include: a family of upside down monkeys, a roly-poly bird, bird pie, balloons, worm spaghetti, an eyeball in a cup, frogs, a pot of glue, and an upside down house.
The Twits is a great story with great characters and has one of the best descriptions of what makes someone ‘ugly.’ You can be sure your costume is both awesome and hideous.
Get your Roald Dahl on and have a happy Halloween!
P.S Here is a picture of my sister and me (ages 7 and 6ish) on a school Book Day. My sister is dressed as the princess from The Princess and the Golden Ball, and I am a cat in a hat from, you guessed it, The Cat in the Hat– enjoy!
~Eliza Day, Fiction Board