This time, I ain't going dressed in toilet paper.
September 10, 2009 5:03 AM   Subscribe

I'm doing Halloween for the first time since I was a kid! Help me think of a costume that's a) smoking hot and b) clever and/or ironic.

I've never done Halloween as an adult, and I have no idea what to wear. We'll be going out clubbing, so I'd like to look attractive as well as convincingly in-costume. I'll be with a bunch of cynical smart-arses, so irony and pop-cultural references are very welcome.

I'm female, white, mid-20s and shaped like an hourglass (think classic 1950s silhouette with a small waist but "healthy" thighs). I can sew and I have plenty of thrift and vintage stores at my disposal. I'm open to ideas from any era or genre. Hope me, hive mind!
posted by embrangled to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (25 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
How about Joan Holloway? (I've been considering that for myself, but I'm not going to have time this year.)
posted by JoanArkham at 5:25 AM on September 10, 2009 [3 favorites]

Maybe its just because I watched Watchmen last night but your description made me think of Silk Spectre - the first one, not the tacky latex one.
posted by missmagenta at 5:27 AM on September 10, 2009

Against mittenbex's advice, I googled "skank" and came up with your Halloween costume (more of a makeup job, I guess). Definitely go with the single crystaline blue contact.
posted by dinger at 6:08 AM on September 10, 2009

Zombie Sarah Palin?
posted by Cuppatea at 6:14 AM on September 10, 2009

Response by poster: A couple of ranty, judgemental and swiftly-deleted comments seem to have taken my question to mean "Help me dress like a complete trollop for Halloween!" To clarify: by "smoking hot", I simply mean "attractive enough to make my SO swoon". There's absolutely nothing wrong with a woman flaunting her sexuality in public, but I'll probably be going for something a bit tamer than msmagenta's admittedly smoking hot suggestion. Thanks, mods, for forestalling a derail.
posted by embrangled at 6:25 AM on September 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

....the fact that you mentioned missmagenta gave me the thought: how about Magenta from ROCKY HORROR?

There's also Columbia from ROCKY HORROR, but I think her build is more Audrey Hepburn while Magenta's is more Marilyn Monroe.

Ooh, if you want to go "old movies," you could be Fay Wray and your SO could get a gorilla suit and be King Kong.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:29 AM on September 10, 2009

Mrs. Plinth went as American Maid to my Tick some years back (reference image). Whether or not the cultural reference is there, the pun is still deliciously horrible. She started with a basic cocktail dress pattern.
posted by plinth at 6:54 AM on September 10, 2009

Personally I find the Dr Girlfriend Jackie O style outfit very hot, but it's not necessarily revealing.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:04 AM on September 10, 2009

....the fact that you mentioned missmagenta gave me the thought: how about Magenta from ROCKY HORROR?

She's not much tamer than Silk Spectre ;) Though I guess there's more scope for lengthening the skirt a bit.

Morticia Adams isn't exactly clever or ironic but she had a great hourglass figure and looked hot while being fully clothed.
posted by missmagenta at 7:33 AM on September 10, 2009

Going along with the sexy but not slutty vibe:

Uma Thurman/Beatrix Kiddo from Kill Bill. Sexy non-revealing jump suit and you get to carry around a sword! You can get a real (cheaply made one) for about 20-30 bucks from those martial art weapon dudes at a flea market.

Jill Valentine from Resident Evil. Again nothing too revealing but she is sexy and demanding of respect at the same time. Buy a toy shotgun if you like.

Princess Leia. Classic white robe thingie for clubbing and partying... Iron biniki version for later with the SO.

The Doctor Girlfriend idea is a good one too.

As long as you don't steal my idea for this year:

The back end of a horse. Just the back end... no head. That's right I am going as a horse's ass this year! :)
posted by Mastercheddaar at 7:37 AM on September 10, 2009

Joan from Mad Men!
posted by kiwi-epitome at 8:14 AM on September 10, 2009

I like the idea of just both of you being super dressed to the 9s in early 60s fashion, as Joan Holloway and Don Draper, cause it's a costume you can wear to a super swanky place *before* you get your club on. It's like a stealth costume.
posted by The Whelk at 8:24 AM on September 10, 2009

Mod note: Seriously, this is not the place for a sidebar discussion about costume marketing trends. Please stick to actually answering the question.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:38 AM on September 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

How about Lady Gaga? She's pretty hip and trendy right now, and most of her outfits involve leotards and little else. Add a blonde wig with a hair bow, and you'd be good to go!
posted by tryniti at 8:47 AM on September 10, 2009

Best answer: Let's start with "clever and/or ironic."

The point of Halloween is (to my mind) irony. The traditional "scary" costumes have quotes around "scary" for a reason—they're taking the piss out of things that frighten. The other way to go is lampooning a powerful person, showing them to be ridiculous and not worth being afraid of.

So, given that, the best costumes combine satire with craft.

Now, you could go as Joan Holloway, yeah, or better yet, Annette Kellerman. But if you do, go as Zombie Joan Holloway or Drowned Annette Kellerman. Just tarting up and looking cute is nice, but you don't really need an occasion for that, or at least not Halloween (don't you have regular costume parties?). Skewer the foibles of a Minogue—a bit of black humor on Kylie's breast cancer, as Halloween is perfect for grim poor taste.

Speaking of which, one of the best costumes I've seen was a girl in a Jackie O outfit (pillbox hat and all) with a lap full of fake brains.

From there, though, if you're a cute girl, your costume will be attractive too. Since you're going clubbing, you only really have to worry about not needing too any props, but most girls' costumes don't have any. So you'll be golden.
posted by klangklangston at 8:56 AM on September 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

Last year I got a cute pre-fab pirate costume with a kind of bustiere top, a red cape, a basket, some fake blood, and that fake scar stuff. I did a little dead-face makeup, put the scars on my neck, and went as Little Red post-wolf attack.

(In college I went as a second-runner up beauty queen suicide, but that might be kind of dark, depending on your company. Same goes for the time I dressed as a raver post-overdose.)
posted by juliplease at 11:07 AM on September 10, 2009

sorry, that's Little Red Riding Hood
posted by juliplease at 11:09 AM on September 10, 2009

Well when I think hourglass, all I can think of is Jessica Rabbit.
posted by wile e at 11:27 AM on September 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

This year, I'm going to be a stewardess (of the late 60s/early 70s variety - no longer a "flying nurse" but not yet into the hot pants era.) It's got the retro sexy thing going on and I can wear my glasses as part of the out fit. (most Tv/comic/movie characters don't wear glasses which has always thrown me off when trying to figure out what to be.)

Other things I've been in the past:
- Carmen Miranda, the lady with the tutti-frutti hat (finding a pink straw hat and some fake fruit led me to this one.)
- The Miller High Life Girl on the Moon
- A escaped mental patient geisha. It's not so sexy, but it's pretty comfortable to wear out.
- A mermaid
- Post Stabbing Monica Seles (a joke that most people did not get. even though it was only a few months after the attack.)

I think any costume that requires props that you hold isn't a very good one. You need those hands free for drinks!
posted by vespabelle at 11:36 AM on September 10, 2009

I like unconventional costumes and am female. My favorite three costumes that I've ever built for myself are goat, sky, and potted plant (others have included tomato and municipal bus). Goat and sky are on the sexy side, potted plant not so much. I think these are clever...maybe you'll like one, maybe these will give you an idea for an original costume of your own.

Goat: I liked this b/c while there are obviously scads of "sexy" female costumes out there, "goat" is not usually among them. My goat costume consisted of a very short a-line skirt (with tail attached) and sleeveless top both sewn out of fake fur. Short-sleeved black t-shirt under the top, fishnet stockings, high-heeled boots to the knee, a cowbell on a collar, a headband with ears lined with pink felt, and purchased latex horns. Big fake eyelashes. Oh, and some of the times I've worn this I've worn a little goatee made of stage hair attached with spirit gum. Big fake eyelashes and a goatee freaks people right the heck out.

Sky: For this costume I made a sky blue strappy dress out of stretch satin and appliqued it with cloud shapes in white satin. I made a wrap for my shoulders that snapped in front out of white tulle and attached fake butterflies to it and the dress. I wore a couple of fake feather birds pinned into my hair, also an airplane. This one only the smart people figured out. I also wore big fake eyelashes and some over-the-top white platform shoes I happened to have.

Potted plant: I bought an enormous terra-cotta colored plastic pot from a garden center. I cut the bottom of it out using a jigsaw. I drilled holes under the rim and assembled a rope system that laced to a belt I could wear around my waist. I decorated the pot with a flower stencil. I wore a black catsuit underneath the pot, and around my neck wore about $100 worth of fake ivy purchased at a craft store, which hung down over the top edge of the pot. The usual big fake eyelashes, and some ivy in my hair.

No matter what you dress as, wear fake eyelashes. It bumps the ridiculous over-the-top sexuality factor up on any costume.

Oh, and here are three of my other favorite costumes I've seen. One: my husband's man-being-eaten-alive-by-rats costume (sew a variety of rubber and plastic rats to your clothes and drench and spatter the clothes liberally with fake blood). Two: milk carton. Milk carton might not seem that clever, but my friend had his face sticking out of one side with "Have you seen this child?" painted above it. Lots of laughs. Three: white trash fairy princess. This consisted of a tacky 80s prom gown, teased hair, garish makeup, a hickey painted on the neck, a cigarette in the cleavage, and a sequined star attached to a flyswatter.

Happy Halloween!
posted by jocelmeow at 11:37 AM on September 10, 2009 [7 favorites]

Oh, a couple more oldies but goodies I forgot. This is mostly for the guys, but a woman could do it too - a friend wore dark glasses, carried a cane, and went around shaking everyone's hands. He had glued fake hair to his palms with spirit gum. Anybody who didn't get it right away he introduced himself to as Mr. Bator. Another was a pair of people each wearing a venetian blind around the neck - "the blind leading the blind."
posted by jocelmeow at 11:42 AM on September 10, 2009

If you can find someone to dress up as the Lizard of Oz, you could go as Dorothy. Actually, you don't need a Lizard.
posted by b33j at 2:09 PM on September 10, 2009

how about a soiled dove
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:35 PM on September 10, 2009

A friend went last year as the Paper Bag Princess - it was a FANTASTIC costume for us 70's and 80s kids, and she made it pretty smoking hot too. Just wear something underneath in case your paper dress rips. Image Google "paper bag princess costume" for ideas.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:08 AM on September 24, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for your suggestions, everyone. My man and I have settled on an homage to 1950s schlock horror - we're going as Bela Lugosi and Vampira.
posted by embrangled at 7:37 PM on October 18, 2009

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