No clever pun as costume, I need freakin' scary!
August 6, 2010 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Halloween filter: Someone else started it! But yeah, please help me, too. I need a scary costume.

Halloween is my favorite holiday. And since someone else started the "help me with a costume" questions already in August, I might as well get mine out of the way now, too. I like being scary or at least, strong characters. Previous years, I have been a dementor, V (from V for Vendetta), Nemesis (which also doubled nicely as my D&D Avenger character), and I have probably done the basic ghoul/scary all-in-black creature a few times.

So I need a new idea! The caveat: it will be October in the frigid Northern Plains- I have to plan for the worst. This has always been a problem in my costume planning. I don't want to cover up a great costume with a stupid coat, scarf, etc., so the costume needs to be warm. Oh- and I am female. But, as with the V costume, I don't mind cross-dressing.

But it has to be either something scary or a character who induces fear in others, like some of my previous characters.
posted by Eicats to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I'm really frightened (still, at 25) by any scary costume that completely conceals the identity of the wearer. I don't know why it scares me so much.

You could be the Saw guy. I don't know if people would just laugh at that face. The *idea* of Saw scares me more than the movies do.

The Donnie Darko bunny always freaks me out.
posted by two lights above the sea at 1:36 PM on August 6, 2010

Best answer: I have always wanted to dress up as a medieval plague doctor.
posted by castlebravo at 1:38 PM on August 6, 2010 [11 favorites]

Best answer: A Plague Doctor? You just need a mask, a hat, and a black cloak, under which you could probably wear what you want. And I think if the eyes are dead enough, any deliberate motions are inherently uneasy to look at.
posted by rollick at 1:40 PM on August 6, 2010

Given how many people express a fear of clowns, you might think of doing a creepy clown costume - dingy, ragged clown outfit (shouldn't be too hard to find, you might even tea-dye it to make it look more worn), fright wig and creepy clown makeup. Maybe some fake teeth and blood, too. And the advantage is that you can dress warmly underneath a clown costume without compromising the costume itself!
posted by LN at 1:40 PM on August 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

I would NOT recommend dressing up as a clown, as many people have a legitimate fear of clowns and that's not really what Halloween is about, in my opinion.

Another one that would totally freak me out:

The torture "doctor" from Brazil. SO FREAKY.
posted by two lights above the sea at 1:46 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Which is to say, the Grim Reaper. As costumes go, it's a lot of fun and relatively easy to do: a long black hooded robe means you get to stay warm, a reasonably good skull mask (here is were it all comes together; the better this is, the more you'll sell the costume. When I did it, I actually went as far as building a mask that had a separate jawbone, so that when I talked, the skull moved appropriately. I also put black window-screen in the eyesockets to hide my eyes which improves the effect.)*

Add in a scythe (if you use a real one, run electric tape along the edge. It is almost invisible and it keeps it from being able to actually cut anything.)

Also, bring an hourglass and sneak up on people, and stand behind them while judging how much time is left in the top bulb. And practice saying things like "Cower brief mortals" in a sepulchral voice.

But ideally, be seen doing non-Death like things, like drinking a martini or doing the limbo. Just make sure you stay in costume and in character.

*: Looking around, it seems like you can actually buy masks nowadays that offer a lot of these functions built in.
posted by quin at 1:49 PM on August 6, 2010

Decomposing gorilla! You get a gorilla costume, then cut open various pieces of it. In those wounds, you stitch on some ragged bits of organs and bone, and you carve away at the mask a bit, so viewers can see the second skull mask you'll be wearing underneath it.

The other great thing about this costume is that you can spend all night telling the classic knock-knock joke:

- Knock Knock!
- Who's There?
- Decomposing Gorilla!
- Decomposing Gorilla Who?
posted by Greg Nog at 2:00 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Holy crap, plague doctor!! That is right up my alley: it's creepy and it should be easy to find appropriate warm clothes to fit the character. But I am astonished and embarassed that I am unfamiliar with this! How the heck is it that I've never really heard of this before- I have read a bit about the plague... Why in the world did they dress up with that freaky bird mask?! I'm guessing the mask was necessary to prevent the identity (people being so afraid of the sickness that they wouldn't want to get near someone they knew had been in contact with the sick). But, why that particular mask? Off to read up on that...

But before I go: no to the clown idea. Clowns are indeed creepy and I would be irked even being the one in costume.

I think I'll go with the plague doctor assuming I can get ahold of a mask. I am loving that character. But feel free to keep adding ideas- I might need a back-up plan, and other people might benefit from this thread.
posted by Eicats at 2:16 PM on August 6, 2010

The freaky mask was packed with dried herbs and scented things -- the thought was that since dead people smelled bad, the bad smells must be the disease agents, and that you could combat them with good smells. Not real sound, but you know, you do what you can in the absence of science. You could probably make a solid mask with paper mache.
posted by KathrynT at 2:25 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yeah, KathrynT's got it. I just did my reading... here I was guessing it was meant as a costume to protect identity; in fact, it was more like a preliminary hazmat suit. Incredible! Thanks, you guys! I've got a great idea and learned something new.

And I think I will look into paper mache because a quick internet search shows few and expensive options. Should be do-able to make my own. Hopefully.

Here's one for bonus points: when I first saw the plague doctor images, I thought of an old, old cartoon that maybe was an old loony tunes character. Does anyone know what that was?
posted by Eicats at 2:42 PM on August 6, 2010

when I first saw the plague doctor images, I thought of an old, old cartoon

Mad Magazine, Spy vs Spy.
posted by galadriel at 3:00 PM on August 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

I always thought it would be great to have a two-part costume. Start as something normal, boring-ish, and then halfway through the night pull it off to reveal a twisted version underneath. Thinking, like, start with a simple lame Charlie Brown costume, but pull the tshirt off to reveal a gaping chest-wound underneath.

For your plague-doctor costume it would be fantastic if, halfway through the night, you pulled off the cone mask to reveal a face covered in plague boils!!
posted by carlh at 3:16 PM on August 6, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, galadriel, that's it! Until today, I never knew spy vs spy was based on a real thing.

Carlh- I must say, that's really twisted. Now I'll be afraid of everyone in a seemingly boring costume.
posted by Eicats at 3:34 PM on August 6, 2010

Some paper mache tips that I learned in the line of fire that is art school:

-Nothing beats a good underlying structure. Similarly, nothing will fix a crappy base. When constructing your mask, be sure to have something solidly shaped around your face first, and don't be afraid to start over again if you're unsure about it.

-Masking tape is surprisingly strong if you create a web out of it.

-To get smooth corners and weird, wonky angles to come out right, use pieces of paper shaped like triangles, layered together. The triangle bit is key; they fold much easier into strange shapes.

-Lots of people swear by various specific paper mache binding products, but nothing beats diluted elmer's glue. The trick is to let things dry completely before starting on the next layer. Since you're starting in August, you have time!

-Once you've built your shape up and it's completely dry, you can sand it down to make it lovely and smooth.

-You can also apply a layer of gesso (which you can buy at any solid art supply store) on top, which will further waterproof and smooth your shape. This will need to dry for a while to cure it, and then you can paint on top with impunity, say if you want to add aging or bloodstains and the like.

-Things can get heavy! Try on your mask regularly to make sure things are balanced comfortably. Pennies make excellent counterweights.
posted by Mizu at 3:50 PM on August 6, 2010 [4 favorites]

I have a few glass heads, and they make great bases for paper mache masks - if you can find one of those, or a styrofoam wig stand, atart wirth that, attach a cardboard cone, and the mache away, you'll end up with a really good mask
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 8:59 PM on August 6, 2010

Business suit.

Nametag that reads the following:

posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:13 PM on August 6, 2010

FYI, there's a Thread from September 24, 2006 about making a plague doctor costume that may or may not be useful to you
posted by jazon at 9:08 AM on August 11, 2010

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