I love halloween. I hate costumes.
October 4, 2011 8:07 PM   Subscribe

What are some culturally iconic CHARACTERS that would make a good Halloween costume and most importantly, allow me to dress semi-normally on Halloween [WARNING: REALLY ANNOYINGLY PICKY DETAILS INSIDE]

Male here. I hate dressing up for halloween. I hate masks, I refuse to wear make up or wigs, I refuse to wear "costumes" or ill-fitting clothing. Yeah I'm a party-pooper, sorry.

But... I want to be SOMETHING creative for halloween. Something where I can wear pretty much 90% normal clothing but still be an instantly recognizable character/pop culture icon/something.

Examples friends have done:

- Hunter S. Thompson. Shorts, button-down, hat, aviators, and a cigarette in a cigarette holder. So recognizable and perfect.

- Waldo: Jeans, striped red shirt, glasses and hat.

The criteria:

- No athlete costumes, I don't do sports
- I don't want to be a "thing" for halloween (i.e wrap myself in tinfoil and be a baked potato or whatever) I want to be a person.
- I'd prefer this person be a character from pop culture, the more iconic, the better.
- ...So really, your favorite TV characters are probably a no go. I met a guy last year who was Dr. House (blazer, pill bottle, cane) and while that sort of costume is pretty much exactly up my alley, no one got it the entire night except like 2 people who watched House.
- No topical public figures/celebrities. I don't know I just find them sort of distasteful. Like last year I met a bunch of Tiger Woods with broken noses, meh, no thanks to stuff like that.

A good barometer on whether or not it's good in my book is: If a most people have to ask you what you are, the costume has failed. If people ask you why you aren't wearing a costume, the costume has failed.

So yeah, definitely a challenge for someone who hates costumes. Costume suggestions for a costume-hater?

Oh yeah, also in case I'm not being picky enough: NONE of those punny/literal costumes that people have to decipher i.e Jim Halpert's on "The Office". NONE OF THOSE PLEASE. NONE. SORRY. THANKS.
posted by windbox to Grab Bag (56 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Scott Pilgrim. Jeans, Converse, and either a Plumtree shirt or a Smashing Pumpkins Zero shirt
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:10 PM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

hell... Indiana Jones. I used to get compared to him when wearing a leather jacket and fedora that looked nothing like his. spend some time on it and you should be fine
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:11 PM on October 4, 2011 [4 favorites]

- I'd prefer this person be a character from pop culture, the more iconic, the better.

Choose some iconic person who, conversely, nobody knows what they look like. Then dress comfortably, maybe with sports jacket, making sure you've got a nametag indicating who you are.

"Hi, my name is ____ "
posted by philip-random at 8:11 PM on October 4, 2011

Clark Kent. Superman t-shirt under a white button-down shirt. Glasses!
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 8:13 PM on October 4, 2011 [8 favorites]

Perhaps not recognizable enough but my boyfriend was J. Alfred Prufrock once. He had white flannel trousers and a can of peaches.
posted by mlle valentine at 8:15 PM on October 4, 2011 [11 favorites]

posted by stevis23 at 8:15 PM on October 4, 2011

The Spirit. Blue suit / coast fedora, simple mask. Sure, no one will get it, but you'll look great, and anything you buy can be re-used in regular life.

(See also: Green Hornet, Zorro, really any classic character where the costume = looking dashing plus simple mask).
posted by feckless at 8:17 PM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

So I swear I'm not gonna threasit, and not that I don't appreciate everyone's super quick responses, but just to provide more of an idea:

Scott Pilgrim

I wouldn't get this, and people would be like "why aren't you wearing a costume"

"Hi, my name is ____ "

Funny, but not going for the "clever" angle here.

hell... Indiana Jones.

Boom. That's what I'm talkin' bout. Less of the above two, more of this.

Clark Kent.

This meets my criteria but is overdone.

Okay, done, will stop being neurotic picky threadsitter now. I promise. Seriously, thanks all.
posted by windbox at 8:19 PM on October 4, 2011

if even House is too obscure, you probably won't want to go as Doctor Who but if you're British it would be easy
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:19 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was Paul Bunyan - didn't shave for a week, wore a flannel shirt, jeans and a wool cap. Got a tinman's axe from the Wizard of Oz section of the halloween shop. It helps that I'm tall.
posted by LionIndex at 8:20 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Cartoons are coming to my mind. Inspector Gadget. Peter Griffin from Family Guy. American Dad. Beavis or Butthead.
posted by kellyblah at 8:20 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Han Solo. Abed pulled it off in Community just by borrowing a vest.
Dracula. cheap cape, cheap fangs, cheap medallion.
The Man With No Name. poncho, fake gun
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:20 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

A bunch of us were Team Zissou once, but you sort of need a bunch of people for that. Light blue shirt/pants/shorts, red wool cap,sunglasses, bottle of campari. One guy got a nerf gun and a "thigh rig" for it.
posted by LionIndex at 8:22 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Micheal Jackson
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:25 PM on October 4, 2011

How about Steve Jobs?
posted by cgc373 at 8:26 PM on October 4, 2011 [4 favorites]

Mario. overalls, cap
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:29 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Get four other people, some protective oversuits from a hardware shop, and put flowerpots on your heads. You are not men, you are DEVO.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:29 PM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

In the past, I've just worn my regular clothes, and when asked, I'm either a Party Pooper, or a Nudist in Disguise.

It's easy to keep it minimal by going punny.

mrgood has worn nothing but a chenille Easter chick from our daughter's collection of random stuff pinned to a black shirt shirt - when asked, he says he's a Chick Magnet.

The thing about clever Halloween costumes is, even if they're not recognizable, they're conversation-starters or ice-breakers.

Last year, I carried my kid's pom-poms, and pinned signs on my shirt saying "Up with drywall!" and "Yay, ceilings!" - I was a ceiling fan.

This year, I'm pinning my daughter's doll to the seat of my pants - I'll be a babysitter.
posted by peagood at 8:37 PM on October 4, 2011 [4 favorites]

Very easy to be a Mormon bike missionary person. Did that one year, and I'm a lady. White button down shirt, tie, black slacks, helmet, fake name tag, brochures.
posted by fillsthepews at 8:45 PM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yeah I hooked up with a Team Zissou girl one Halloween. But it might be too obscure.

Yeah, that's why you need a bunch of people. The more you have, the more obvious it is that you're in costume even if your outfits aren't spot-on perfect.
posted by LionIndex at 8:46 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure how iconic he is in the US (perhaps the new movie will help), but what about Tintin?
posted by rollick at 8:47 PM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Sherlock Holmes might be easy... right kind of coat, hat, and carry a pipe... or go for the more generic film noir type detective in a big hat tipped forward and a (... I just forgot what the coat was called, lol...) If you want to be cheesey about it, carry a giant magnifying glass

more generic ideas, carry a net and wear brown as a dog catcher/etc type things?

A friend of mine wore a bowtie one year, when people asked what he was he smirked and said he was a chipendale stripper on their day off. It was cute, but mostly cuase he had the physique to make it semi-believable... and may have run around shirtless after a few drinks
posted by myShanon at 8:49 PM on October 4, 2011

The Dude. Bathrobe, chancletas, sunglasses, white russian in hand.
posted by cosmic osmo at 8:49 PM on October 4, 2011 [6 favorites]

Magnum PI (Hawaiian shirt, shorts, sandals, sunglasses, pornstache)
Mario Batalli (White shirt, khaki shorts, white apron, orange crocs)
Early Howard Hughes (wool blazer, flannel trousers, white shirt, tie, aviator goggles)
Later Howard Hughes (smoking jacket, pajama bottoms, disheveled hair, long fingernails)
Hugh Hefner (overdone but everyone will know who you are)
Woody Allen (nebbish clothing, ill-fitting khakis, vest, round glasses)
posted by iconomy at 8:52 PM on October 4, 2011

Don Draper.
Bjorn Borg.
Axl Rose.
Hugh Hefner.
Charlie Sheen.
Charlie Brown.
The Dude.
Austin Powers.
Julius Caesar.
Ron Burgundy.
The Fonz.
Mr. Peanut.
Mark Zuckerberg.
Aron Ralston.
Ferris Beuller.
Forrest Gump.
The Situation.
Hank Williams Jr.
Princess Leia.
posted by argonauta at 8:52 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

It only takes a t-shirt and a month of hair growth to be Norville "Shaggy" Rogers

A set of normal preppy clothes and a party hat for Jughead Jones
posted by rollick at 8:59 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

My favorite costume my husband has done is Shaun of the Dead. Black or charcoal trousers, disposable white dress shirt with red on it, super-cheap red tie, cricket bat (generic fraternity paddle from craft store). If you have approximately the hair for it (short, blond or red), you don't even need the Foree Electronics "Shaun" nametag. Total cost, not including perfectly good dress slacks and shoes, was about $30 for the shirt, tie, red Bic pen, and "cricket bat". And if you loosen the tie, it's no worse than dressing for work.

I dressed as a zombie.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:18 PM on October 4, 2011 [6 favorites]

Charlie Sheen would be easy-- button down short-sleeved shirt and shorts, drink with Tiger Blood on the can, etc.
posted by misha at 9:34 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mister Rogers
posted by changeling at 9:37 PM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

I wore a pirate costume with some discs on it once. I was a software pirate. Modify for 2011 as needed.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 9:41 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

You could be a sim.
posted by yb2006shasta at 9:44 PM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm female, but I was Steve Martin one Halloween ('70s-era) and everybody got it but one person. And that person said, "Why would Colonel Sanders have an arrow through his head?"
posted by queensissy at 10:05 PM on October 4, 2011 [4 favorites]

Donnie Darko. This one works if you have the skeleton hoodie and sufficiently emo hair.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:07 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

TBH I don't think you're going to beat Waldo for iconic, instantly recognisable character in regular clothes than isn't from a TV show... although I do love the Sim idea for minimalist costume ideas (can you buy those plumbob headbands?)
posted by missmagenta at 1:25 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'll give the answer I gave to another asker a while back, Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. All you need is a dark suit and slicked back hair, maybe some fake business cards. If you search for the question, other posters give ideas about how to round out the costume.
posted by Jubey at 1:28 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Jaime from Mythbusters is a real person but not the type of ripped-from-the-headlines guy you were talking about--particularly good if you don't have much hair on top and a goatee. White button-down, black beret, paper towel tube done up like a stick of dynamite.

Another group costume: the gang from Clockwork Orange. Did that one year with a bunch of coworkers who all had white outfits as part of our uniforms.
posted by tchemgrrl at 4:10 AM on October 5, 2011

Harry Potter - wire-rimmed glasses, a lightning bolt scar, a black robe, and a wand.
posted by Flood at 4:58 AM on October 5, 2011

I went as DB Cooper one year. Wore a dark suit with sunglasses, and had a backpack with some vinyl looking stuff hanging out (my parachute) and monopoly money.
posted by COD at 5:57 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Simply trawl all the Halloween specials on Homestarrunner.com and use the little pop culture costume set-piece at the end of each as a pick-list.
posted by KMH at 6:10 AM on October 5, 2011

Depending on your height and hair, Frankenstein('s monster) is dead easy. Esp. the Peter Boyle version.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:39 AM on October 5, 2011

Which Reservoir Dogs character do you most resemble? Either way, black suit and sunglasses. I'd think it's pretty iconic.
posted by bessel functions seem unnecessarily complicated at 7:12 AM on October 5, 2011

If 70s TV culture is iconic enough-- Hawkeye Pierce from MASH.

Army green; Hawaiian Shirt; martini glass; done.
posted by travertina at 7:42 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Stanley Kowalski
Rocky (does the no-sports thing matter for a movie character?)
Rhett Butler

Jack Torrance
Marty McFly
John McClane (Die Hard) - gun taped to back would nail it
posted by timepiece at 9:40 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Malcolm Reynolds.

posted by myShanon at 10:42 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Tan bathrobe, white t-shirt, bermuda shorts, sunglasses, white russian = The Dude. Goatee and longish hair helps too.
posted by platinum at 10:46 AM on October 5, 2011

Pretty much anyone from the Venture Brothers cast?

(This is what we did a few years back)
posted by FatherDagon at 11:36 AM on October 5, 2011

If you came in a black suit and sunglasses, I'd think you were a MiB. But that wouldn't be a bad thing.

(Add an earpiece and it's a done deal.)
posted by wintersweet at 12:04 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Actually, though not all of these fit your criteria (might require masks, makeup, or "costumes"), this list might be a good starting point (they would all be pretty iconic)

Empire Online - 100 Greatest Movie Characters

Amusingly, 4 of my former suggestions are on it, though I didn't see it until after I made them.
posted by timepiece at 12:41 PM on October 5, 2011

Agent Smith from the Matrix. Or, gee, anyone from the Matrix. ...although you might get mistaken for an MiB.
posted by hishtafel at 12:50 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

A priest. Sew a white square on the neck of a black mock-turtle neck.
posted by ilona at 3:51 PM on October 5, 2011

Bathrobe and towel (or however he was dressed when the world blew up), Arthur Dent!
posted by myShanon at 12:59 AM on October 6, 2011

Calvin, from Calvin & Hobbes. Stripey shirt, long shorts, spikey hair, optional stuffed tiger.
posted by meggan at 11:49 AM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

My husband likes to wear the same kind of costume. Some are instantly recognizable only if you hang out with the same kind of nerds that we hang out with.

Some of his choices from the last few years:

-- Here he is as Charlie Brown (yellow t-shirt with the iconic black zig-zag, shorts, he's already got a shaved head. Bonus: our dog looks kinda like Snoopy).

-- Jayne from Firefly (Blue Sun T-shirt, silly hat)

--Tobias Funke from arrested development (button down shirt, shaved head, mustache, Analrapist business cards)

--Shaun from Shaun of the Dead (white button down shirt, black pants, smear with blood, make a Foree Electric

--Clark Kent -- button up shirt, khakis, fake glasses, Put a superman t-shirt underneath & unbutton a few buttons.

This year, I think is plan is The Dude. It doesnt get more laid back than basically wearing pajamas to a party.
posted by nuclear_soup at 12:29 PM on October 6, 2011

seconding Steve Jobs in light of his passing. I, myself, am wearing a black turtleneck, faded levis and running shoes today in his memory.
posted by rw at 1:32 PM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Some of these might work better or worse depending on what you look like, but a few ideas...
Charlie Chaplin (resemblance aided if you're willing to grow/glue on the right kind of mustache)
James Bond (tux, slicked-back hair, gun, attitude, done.)
Forrest Gump
Uncle Sam (don't bother with a white wig, just wear a red bow tie and a dark blue jacket, find/make a passable hat and that'll be recognizable enough.)
The Fonz
Pee Wee Herman (might not be super recognizable without a prop or two, I don't know...)
posted by aka burlap at 9:27 PM on October 6, 2011

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