She's The Bees Knees! 23 Skidoo!
October 18, 2010 4:26 PM   Subscribe

Halloween Snowflake Filter: Friends are having a halloween party with the theme "Dine With The Dead". Everyone is going as a dead celebrity/historical figure. Who will I be?

It's a dinner party, so the guest list will be fairly small. The hosts and one other guest I've talked to are all going as people from the 1930's: Amelia Earhart, Orson Welles, and Frida Kahlo. So I'm tempted to choose someone within that same time period.

I am female, with medium length brown hair (though I have a hair appointment scheduled for a few days prior and would have no problem getting some crazy drastic cut to match a costume idea), short and average build though it doesn't matter.

I'm leaning towards Zelda Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, or a film star from that period. Something a little bit Wiemar Berlin would be cool, too.

Parts of a Jazz Age costume I already own (am open to obtaining other clothing items or accessories):

- vintage fur coat. brown. knee length. not in great shape and it's in no way sacred to me - I keep it around for exactly this sort of situation.

- cream chiffon/lace middy style blouse

- green leather flapper-esque shoes. Something this character would wear.

- black knee-length skirt in taffeta, pleated, with gold pinstripe.

So who am I? Anais Nin? Fanny Brice? Louise Brooks? Throw away the Jazz Age concept and go as Judy Garland (yes, I read these previous questions)?
posted by Sara C. to Society & Culture (38 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
mata hari
posted by wayofthedodo at 4:47 PM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Well, if it's a dinner party, and you're flexible on the time period, you could always go as dead Julia Child! Plus, you get to drink a lot.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:48 PM on October 18, 2010

If you don't want to cut your hair, pin it up and get a cool cloche hat.
posted by cyndigo at 4:49 PM on October 18, 2010

I think Louise Brooks would be awesome, especially if you could pull off the hair.

I would also be tempted to be Virginia Woolf, although that is a pretty dowdy costume. Marlene Dietrich would be terrific - do you have a pantsuit? Shirley Temple would be hilarious.

I know you know that Zelda Fitzgerald is not technically a "dead celebrity/historical figure". So I'm not even going to mention it.
posted by jeoc at 4:51 PM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Marlene Dietrich? You get the actress and the 1930s and the Berlin. This might be a fun thing to wear, even though it isn't on your list.
posted by SMPA at 4:51 PM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: How is Zelda Fitzgerald not a dead celebrity/historical figure? Because she was "just" somebody's wife? Or is she still clinging to life after all these years?
posted by Sara C. at 4:54 PM on October 18, 2010

Response by poster: Also, sadly, Marlene Dietrich's clothes are a little on the "investment" side. Though I do have the pants...
posted by Sara C. at 4:58 PM on October 18, 2010

Katharine Hepburn, played here by Cate Blanchett
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:15 PM on October 18, 2010

Weimar...hmmm. Rosa Luxemburg comes to'd perhaps have to do a political speech act, or alternatively float very convincingly...

Thinking of non-Weimar people with character:
George Sand.
She wore men's clothes, smoked cigars, and was Chopin's lover. You could act very exaggeratedly eccentric, and carry a score, a picture and a hair-lock of the even deader composer around with you.
(otherwise Marie Antoinette. But the no-head-trick is difficult to do)
posted by Namlit at 5:15 PM on October 18, 2010

edna st vincent millay

though she is a bit later than you were thinking, what about
sylvia plath

i guess these suggestions are not exactly where you were going, they are interesting women and pretty easy to pull off.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 5:18 PM on October 18, 2010

george sand is a good one, too!
posted by lakersfan1222 at 5:19 PM on October 18, 2010

Sylvia Plath, complete with oven
posted by MsMolly at 5:22 PM on October 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

Putting aside time period and just thinking of a recognizable dead celebrity who you could dress as, being a white woman with shoulder-length brown hair... Michael Jackson?
posted by John Cohen at 5:28 PM on October 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

Although she was too young for the 30's, I strongly suggest you go as Sylvia Plath. The look should be easy for you from your description. Make a small cardboard oven and keep trying to stick your head into it.

You must do this.
posted by plinth at 5:29 PM on October 18, 2010

Response by poster: I'd considered Edna St. Vincent Millay but figured my friends would have no idea who she was.

Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn are strong front runners at this point. Keep the ideas coming!
posted by Sara C. at 5:30 PM on October 18, 2010

Paul McCartney
posted by Neiltupper at 5:40 PM on October 18, 2010

Eleanor Roosevelt
Gypsy Rose Lee
posted by foursentences at 5:41 PM on October 18, 2010

Louise Brooks would be awesome. (I just watched her in Pandora's Box the other day.
posted by govtdrone at 5:43 PM on October 18, 2010

My friend wore tight khaki pants, tall brown boots, and a zipped up leather jacket, carried a map, and was dead Amelia Earhart.
posted by emilyd22222 at 5:46 PM on October 18, 2010

Josephine Baker -she wore some amazing costumes, and was a really interesting person
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:48 PM on October 18, 2010

Get a long scarf and you could be Isadora Duncan! She died in 1927, when her scarf got entangled in the car sounds gruesome..
posted by Wink Ricketts at 5:58 PM on October 18, 2010

My friend wore tight khaki pants, tall brown boots, and a zipped up leather jacket, carried a map, and was dead Amelia Earhart.

But, as the OP states, someone else is already going as Amelia.

Hmm, this is tough but a fun question. I think the Sylvia Plath thing has been done to death already (as evidenced in the linked Flickr pictures) and is a bit tasteless and lazy (at least, the way it's been done in all those pictures with a simple cardboard box and not much else). I like the George Sand idea; she's an interesting figure/character and it could be fun to pull off wearing the mens' clothes (perhaps even a little sexy, if you do it right), complete with top hat, cane, and cigar.
posted by 1000monkeys at 6:10 PM on October 18, 2010

Paul McCartney

Ha ha. Rumors of his death are greatly exaggerated.
posted by John Cohen at 6:16 PM on October 18, 2010

Clara Bow would be really fun. Or there's always Garbo, if you can do a wig.

My own vote is for Bonnie Parker.
posted by peachfuzz at 6:31 PM on October 18, 2010

Julia Child, although not in that period, would be a lot of fun. You'd get to comment with interest and enthusiasm on just about anything and everything, in that characteristically Julia voice.

Note to self: you are not going to scrap your current plans and go as Julia Child. No.
posted by Lexica at 7:09 PM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

You could go as Wallis Simpson, for whom Edward abdicated the throne of England (in fact, if you could find a vintage white dress, that would be an awesome wedding-day costume).

She was also Time Magazine's Woman of the Year in 1936.
posted by misha at 7:28 PM on October 18, 2010

Oh, and another great woman of the time for a dinner party would be Bette Davis, because she has so many wonderful lines.

My personal first choice would be Dorothy Parker, though I am not sure how that would work out with the clothes you have on hand.
posted by misha at 7:40 PM on October 18, 2010

Response by poster: OK, so back again for an update:

At this point, the ideas are looking like this -

Marlene Dietrich - I say the costume would be "an investment", but duhhhh, wouldn't it be practical to buy a black jacket and a new white shirt? The bow tie can come from a thrift store, and the top hat will be $10 at Ricky's. This is my top choice right now.

Katharine Hepburn - love the idea, not sure how I would signify that I was dressed as her and not any other random 30's-40's person. We don't look alike.

Greta Garbo - same deal, except the thing with Garbo is that she's gorgeous. She doesn't have a schtick or a specific look. She's just the most beautiful woman who ever existed. I'm not. Though if I had access to a costume shop I'd definitely rock her look from Queen Christina.

Eleanor Roosevelt - OK, I'm not the most gorgeous woman on earth, but I'm no Eleanor Roosevelt, either! Sorry Ellie...

Julia Child - awesome idea, totally wrong for me. I am shortish and slim with straight brown hair. There is no way I could actually pull this off.

Wallis Simpson - fucking Nazi, I am NEVER DRESSING AS HER. Fuck her.

Coco Chanel - not mentioned here so far, but definitely in the mix.

Clara Bow - this was my original idea. Sadly I do not have curly red hair, and that is non-negotiable. This is where the costume-drift began, actually.

Bonnie Parker - just recently got out of a relationship, NOT going as half of a couple costume.

Josephine Baker - I'm white. Which is sad, because there are so many black women of that time who would be great for this.

So that leaves Marlene Dietrich, Coco Chanel, and Louise Brooks. We'll see how my haircut and my hunt for an affordable black blazer go. Don't worry, there will definitely be photo updates later.
posted by Sara C. at 7:58 PM on October 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

Hedy Lamarr, Hollywood movie star, co-invented a frequency-switching system for radio control of torpedoes. She also starred in
Tortilla Flat
. And she had brown hair. Thus, your costume is:

1. Glamorous hairstyle and dress
2. Torpedo
3. Tortilla
posted by Quietgal at 8:10 PM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Bea Arthur.
posted by haplesschild at 8:15 PM on October 18, 2010

I cast my vote for Louise Brooks since she's less obvious than Marlene Dietrich. There's a significant chance of someone else dressing as Dietrich, but you can assume no one else will be Brooks. Downside is fewer people know about her.

I agree with you about Katharine Hepburn. I'm a fan of hers, but I can't imagine ever recognizing someone as wearing a "Katharine Hepburn costume."
posted by John Cohen at 8:51 PM on October 18, 2010

Joan Crawford? She started in films in the 1920s, but you could do her 1940s look.
posted by deborah at 12:01 AM on October 19, 2010

I read Zelda Fitzgerald but my brain weirdly parsed it as Daily Buchanan. Yeah, Zelda is a dead celebrity/historical figure. Daisy not so much. I'm sorry. Carry on.
posted by jeoc at 5:00 AM on October 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Instantly recognizable Hepburn costume. Problem is, it's elderly Hepburn, which is not the look I imagine you're going for.
posted by MsMolly at 7:38 AM on October 19, 2010

Instantly recognizable Hepburn costume. Problem is, it's elderly Hepburn, which is not the look I imagine you're going for.

Also, I wouldn't call that dressing as "Katharine Hepburn." I'd call it dressing the way Hepburn did for exactly one of her many characters. She wasn't someone like Marilyn Monroe or Groucho Marx, who were pretty much the same in every movie. Point taken though. There's also the African Queen look. But if we're talking about Katharine Hepburn the person rather than a given character she played, the only way to really resemble her is to have her speaking style and her face.
posted by John Cohen at 3:03 PM on October 19, 2010

Jerry Garcia?
posted by timsteil at 6:37 PM on October 19, 2010

Cross dress as Howard Hughes (long fingernails, miniature jars of urine, boxes of tissues on feet), and only talk to the other costumed guests as Hughes would have. Talk about planes to Amelia Earhart, and tell Orson Welles that you just made a movie called “Hells Angels“ that you think he should take a look at.

Otherwise, go for Garbo. She is excellent.
posted by Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld at 1:52 AM on October 20, 2010

Response by poster: Hey everybody! I decided to dress as Marlene Dietrich! I don't have any full body shots (yet?), but because I know folks asked for photos, I just changed my profile photo to a picture of my costume. Happy Halloween, yall!
posted by Sara C. at 10:27 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

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