Help me brainstorm an amazing costume idea.
September 8, 2019 4:58 PM   Subscribe

I have a very decadent Halloween party to attend this year and I want to totally slay the costume. I am a fairly experienced costumer, as I live in New Orleans (we dress up for literally any reason at all). Normally I LOVE coming up with a costume concept, figuring out how to execute it, doing all the crafting, and applying elaborate makeup. This year, I'm drawing a complete blank, and I've got less than a month to pull this together. Help!

Some details:

1. This party has a vague Egyptian/resurrection theme; however, I don't necessarily plan to stick to it. I certainly don't want to show up as one of a million Nefertiti/Anubis/Cleopatra.

2. I have moderate crafting skills, but don't sew actual clothing from scratch. I have good makeup skills but nothing special fx. I have enough of a budget for most anything.

3. Things I've done for Halloween/Mardi Gras recently and don't want to repeat: Lady Beetlejuice, Lady Pennywise, Scar from Lion King, Jem (from the Holograms).

4. I want something this year that is maybe on the elegant/feminine side, is easily recognizable but not overdone, and is somewhat elaborate. Nothing too obscure or nerdy but also nothing basic like a mermaid/unicorn/baby deer or whatever the kids do these days. Ideas I've pinned but don't love include Black Swan, a phoenix/firebird (hand-feathered cloak??), or Lady Thor.

5. I am an average-sized lady. I prefer costumes with wigs and elaborate makeup. I don't mind being a little sexy if it fits the costume. I do not want to but a pre-made costume.

6. It will likely still be warm here, so weather isn't a huge factor. The ability to pee in it easily is, as I'll be out drinking all night in whatever I wear.

Help me, creative minds of MeFi!
posted by tryniti to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (39 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Miriam Blaylock from The Hunger? She was Egyptian. Don't forget the ankh.
posted by some little punk in a rocket at 5:16 PM on September 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Queen Arachnia, from Voyager's Bride of Chaotica! More images: (Full) (color)
posted by katra at 5:21 PM on September 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Eve (as in “Adam and”) has a lot of crafty possibilities, fun green makeup and possibly snake body paint, definite wig potential, can be subversively sexy or less so, feminine, and if you do it as a dress, easy to pee in. Nothing really to do with Egypt although you could go with the garden of Eden being in Mesopotamia lol
posted by tatiana wishbone at 5:29 PM on September 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Miss Havisham - you can make it as over the top as you want!
posted by sallybrown at 5:30 PM on September 8, 2019

The ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor is associated with beauty, sexuality and love, fertility and the sky, and is linked to Venus and Aphrodite. She gets this slinky red or turquoise outfit, but even better she gets this fabulous headdress with cow horns and a sun.
posted by nantucket at 5:36 PM on September 8, 2019

I also recommend one of the gods of Egypt. You can do Sekmet, the lion-headed goddess of war. Hathor is a good choice too with the horns, sun and cow ears.
posted by jadepearl at 5:45 PM on September 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

I mean it doesn't quite hit the elegant/feminine side of the requirements, but who doesn't love an ornately decorated mummified cat?
posted by notquitemaryann at 6:25 PM on September 8, 2019 [8 favorites]

Or if you could get your hands on a large round gold balloon and some iridescent black fabric for a winged cape, you could be a sacred scarab helping to make sure the sun keeps rolling across the sky.
posted by notquitemaryann at 6:28 PM on September 8, 2019 [5 favorites]

This may well fall in the obscure-to-nerdy bucket, but you'd hit so many of these criteria--and undoubtedly be one-of-a-kind--if you dressed up as a Nymphaea caerulea.

Horus also suggests a wide (and colorful!) range of possible costumes, without being too obvious.

Or go as the Nile. Maybe with pyramids and the Sphinx on a headband/earrings/necklace, then Luxor and the Aswan Dam on your top half, Lake Victoria near your feet, etc.. I could see a river of silver facepaint running from your hairline down your face and over your lips to your neck or decolletage, transitioning there to a meandering line of aluminum foil going all the way down your body. Maybe with red lines of string crossing it to mark the country borders. I'd probably just wear all black (or beige) underneath. (I've constructed/worn something along these lines years ago and it was a HUGE hit -- plus super comfortable!)

Please feel free to memail me if you'd like to explore these or other ideas. I can visualize them better than I've probably been able to describe them. :)
posted by argonauta at 6:31 PM on September 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Eostre, the Germanic Goddess of dawn, who is possibly the source of Easter myths--very resurrection--might be a good choice. Hares are the dominant image associated with her, but "dawn" gives you lots of motifs.
posted by crush at 6:49 PM on September 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: A few follow up points since I got wordy above:

Easily recognizable for an average person is really key; the theme is not important for costume choice. These are some really creative ideas, but if I have to Google it, the average person won't get the costume. Thanks!
posted by tryniti at 6:50 PM on September 8, 2019

Medusa? I don't know why that jumped in my head, but it ticks the boxes of elegant/feminine, easily recognizable, wig/makeup heavy with a lot of options on how to play it, sexy if you want it to be but doesn't have to be, etc.
posted by true at 7:03 PM on September 8, 2019 [6 favorites]

What about a famous woman-ghost? Vaguely fits the resurrection theme plus it's spooky! It is Halloween, after all.

So Anne Boleyn, Bloody Mary, one of the many different ladies in white? Lots of potential for being feminine and elaborate, and I would think reasonably recognisable.

Have fun!
posted by BeeJiddy at 7:22 PM on September 8, 2019

Marie Antoinette a la Belle Poule, but scarabs and feluccas or the temple at Karnak instead of an 18th century warship. Keep the powdered wig, keep the shape of the dress, change the color scheme and accessories.
posted by VelveteenBabbitt at 7:23 PM on September 8, 2019

Maleficent. Not as clever as most of these suggestions, but it is very recognizable, easily made feminine/elegant, and pretty easy to put together in terms of the basic purchasable bits of the getup (dark purple dress, black robes or cloak etc.) but you can get as elaborate as you want to with detailing, particularly on the headgear. All that really matters is that you get the horned headpiece, which you can make into a work of absolute crafting art if you so desire, or just twist some aluminum foil into the right shape and spray-paint black. You can make it as sexy you want, or not. Green makeup if you want to go original Disney villain, or super vampy contouring and red lips if the recent Angelina Jolie remake.

And if you want to work in the resurrection theme and more of your makeup skills ... I guess you could do zombie Maleficent? Haha.

(Alternatively: Aslan from Narnia, given resurrection & that you already have a Scar getup.)
posted by alleycat01 at 7:42 PM on September 8, 2019 [4 favorites]

(... uh but not Sexy Aslan. Please.)
posted by alleycat01 at 7:43 PM on September 8, 2019 [4 favorites]

Can you reuse part of Scar and go as a Sphinx? Probably the Greek one, not the Egyptian one (more opportunity to be elegant/feminine, and you can still hand-feather a cloak to serve as wings), but even the Greek one was understood to have come from Egypt.
posted by babelfish at 7:47 PM on September 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Easily recognizable? Well, I would go with Bast, the cat goddess. But if Egypt is not the theme well, a Valkryie gets you feminine with weapons. Thanks to the MCU you got some flexibility to be a stylish Asgardian with no need for chariots pulled by goats or anything. super recognizable would be Medusa, as suggested above.

Of course, you could be the person imitating a piece of art or portrait and carry around an empty picture frame while you are in costume or the frame is attached to your costume in such a way to enhance the portrait.
posted by jadepearl at 8:06 PM on September 8, 2019

Frida Kahlo? Morticia Addams? Bride of Chucky? Madame Delphine Lalaurie, if the party is in New Orleans.
posted by aka burlap at 8:30 PM on September 8, 2019

Easily recognizable and amazing? Webex Meeting. I'm an engineer and I use Webex many times per week, and I imagine a scientist like yourself does also. I have a bucket list item to wear a really amazing Halloween costume just once in my life, but since I never get invited to any Halloween parties I'll give my idea to you.

If you do decide to use my WebEx meeting costume idea I'd be glad set up an actual Webex meeting for you, and when it's time you can join the meeting. You can also feel free to forward the meeting invite to other people at the party, and I can say things like "Who just joined?", "We're still getting set up here.", and "Someone needs to mute their microphone." to make your costume even more awesome.
posted by Rob Rockets at 8:37 PM on September 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Building on the "mummified cat" idea above, you could mummify the stereotypical "halloween cat" costume.
posted by pykrete jungle at 8:48 PM on September 8, 2019

The library of Alexandria! Sexy bookish danger and doom!
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:53 PM on September 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Is there some way you could go as a tarot card? I think if you could include the frame of the card, it might be enough for somebody to get a general idea of what you're going for.

Or in New Orleans what about something like Marie Laveau? Pulling that one off might depend on your race though.
posted by willnot at 9:30 PM on September 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Either Crowley or Aziraphale from Good Omens. (These are so commonly cosplayed by women I've literally seen a male Crowley once. )

Mom from Umbrella Academy would be so much fun I can't stand it.

The Scientist from the Pandemic board game is unusual and easy to put together and it's really easy to add a ton of visual clues to the costume to make it easily recogniseable.

Mai from Overwatch is my favourite cosplay but I inhabit a world where she's easily recogniseable and also I enjoy painting clounds on blue PJ bottoms.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:36 PM on September 8, 2019

Hoda Kotb with a mic doing Mardi grad interviews from the 1990s when she was a local reporter? She's got a really distinct look and manner is mega-famous and has had a pretty recent late life renaissance with a new baby in her 50s. And she's fun and kinda famous of drinking on air, you could have fun pretending to be her. The 90s styling would be fun for people who remembered her as a local reporter.
posted by fshgrl at 9:55 PM on September 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Sexy fish! (from the Nile, you know.) Sexy snake!
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:57 PM on September 8, 2019

The Night Sky is a costume i see versions of occasionally and it’s always beautiful. Blues, blacks and purple layers of dress/long skirts/loose trousers with tiny lights all over, bonus if they really light up but glow or glitter works too. Veil optional but adds a lot of mystique. Gloves, maybe painted with stars or with lights? Face paint optional. Glitter a must. Headdresses of all types work here too, and vaguely Ancient Egypt head/hair adornments would fit the costume nicely. It’s good for lots of themes, but I think incorporating elements from the theme you’re sorta working from could give you lots of good ideas for each piece.
posted by zinful at 10:32 PM on September 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Victorian Egyptologist / grave robber / mummy botherer? Cursed or non-cursed.

Should be understood well enough by the general public. Plus you get bonus points for (politely) harassing all the Ancient Egypt themed partygoers for selfies.
posted by Tiny Bungalow at 12:16 AM on September 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

A pyramid (cardboard?) Or the Sphinx?
posted by b33j at 3:43 AM on September 9, 2019

Bride of Frankenstein is such a fun classic costume. Kind of mummy-ish and resurrection themed.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 5:39 AM on September 9, 2019

How about Death from the sandman comics? She always wore an Ankh.
posted by rileyray3000 at 7:45 AM on September 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

You could go in drag as Hercule Poirot, in Death On the Nile mode.

Men's suit, hopefully a pith helmet but not necessarily, slick back the hair, and draw on a little waxed moustache -- voila!

Add French accent all night long, talk about 'leetle grey cells'.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:50 AM on September 9, 2019

Have a look at the costume ideas at Take Back Halloween. That's pitched more to be friendly to people who aren't frequent costumers, but they have some good ideas; the upshot of the site is "here's a bunch of costume ideas for women that aren't yet another variant on the 'sexy [blank]' model", with an emphasis on notable women of history and mythology.

For extra inspiration, have a look at the photo galleries from their annual costume contests; they have some people who've done amazing work with cosplay that's based on the Take Back Halloween ideas.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:12 AM on September 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

In another vein, when I look back at my old Mardi Gras pictures, my favorite costume was also super simple: a coverall, very oversized, zipped down far enough to show pink ruffle undies. I had a nice tall pompadour wig, a big fake moustache, and a whole bunch of eye makeup (black and glittery.) Steel toe boots and a plain white tank top. Not really a character, but very easily understood, and I felt sexy as hell without everything hanging out.

Especially if you're walking around all day and night, it's nice to be able to regulate temperature a bit. The coverall can be taken down to your waist and knotted if you get hot.

I always go to Le Garage at least once during the process of getting a costume together, maybe that's where the coverall came from.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 8:18 AM on September 9, 2019

Salome, with the head of John the Baptist on a silver tray? (I'm not sure how recognizable this is to the general public, but either way, carrying around a prop head on a platter is spooky) The story has been retold and reimagined many times, I personally would go with the early 1900s costuming, sort of a silent film siren look.
posted by castlebravo at 8:50 AM on September 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

It isn’t elegant, nor Egyptian, but how about a doll? You can take it a lot of different ways, from creepy to sexy, porcelain Victorian doll to Raggedy Ann, or just about anywhere in-between. there are really cool, elaborate make-up ideas online. For the resurrection theme you could be a “repaired” doll – patches on your dress, a “crack” on your face with a Band-Aid, etc. I did this for a last minute invite to a fancy dress party a few years ago, and always wished I’d had a bit more time, because I think you could do some fun things with it.
posted by Sabby at 9:22 AM on September 9, 2019

Belly Dancer?

Aside from that, Egypt plus resurrection suggests archaeologist. (Well, actually, it suggests mummy, but that's a terrible idea. ) Which suggests Tomb Raider. Which suggests Lara Croft.
posted by SemiSalt at 9:45 AM on September 9, 2019

Lady Thor made me think of Valkyrie, which has the benefit of some fun (and recognizable) makeup. You could go with this look or this one.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 2:26 PM on September 9, 2019

I would go as Parvati, the Hindu goddess of love and fertility. It’s reasonably elaborate (she has many arms) and recognisable and feminine.
posted by Jubey at 4:34 PM on September 9, 2019

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