Thursday, October 20, 2016

7 Last-Minute Literary Costumes

Ah, Halloween. That time of year when people can dress like sluts and drink the night away and not be judged for it. Or, for some of us, the panic-inducing time of year in which we know we’ll have to go to parties and be judged specifically on what we’re wearing.

If you put in too much effort and it doesn't turn out just right, you feel like an absolute failure--the (nonexistent) judgmental glances of your peers poking so many holes in your self-esteem that your psyche starts to look like Charlie Brown’s ghost. But on the flip side, if you don't put any effort and don't have a good enough explanation as to what you are, people give you that little pitying smile and (at least in your head) start to wonder why they invited you anywhere. It's a fine line to walk.

You don't want to be cliche, you don't really want to spend three weeks making a costume you can only wear once, and you don't particularly want to dress like a slutty anything. So what do you do?

Which is... not much, at this point. And better spent reading. (source)

You dress like a literary character, of course. Here are seven literary costumes that won't take you more than one five-minute trip to the thrift store to complete with foolproof explanations that are guaranteed* to put you on even footing with everyone else at the party--or at least help you find the other literary nerds so you can venture together to find the host’s dog and bond over how much you hate parties.

Bonus: These probably won't win you the costume contest, so no extra undue attention!

*Guarantee is based on participant's social standing, ability to interact with people, sense of humor, and ability to recognize a joke, among other things.

7. Tricia McMillan

Who: Trillian is pretty much the only female character in Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. She was picked up at an earth party--in every sense of the word--by Zaphod Beeblebrox before setting out on a space voyage. (She was also played by Zooey Deschanel in the movie, but we're going to pretend that didn't happen. The movie. And her being in the movie.)

Just, no. To all of it. (source)

How: Put on a party dress. Or even just jeans and a sparkly top--really just whatever you can find in your closet that looks vaguely party-esque--and carry around two white mice. You could get real ones, but that might not go over well with your host. So you can find fake ones here or here.

What to Say: "Are you from another planet? No? Ah, well. You're of no interest to me. I'm Trillian, by the way."

6. Arthur Dent

Who: Like Trillian, Arthur is a character from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He's an unwilling hitchhiker on the spaceship The Heart of Gold who really just wants a good cup of tea.

How: Wear an old, comfy bathrobe over pajama pants. Carry a towel. Make yourself a cup of tea and carry that around, too. It's pretty much the comfiest costume ever.

Unlike Zooey, Martin was a perfect casting choice. (source)

What to Say: "Don't panic." If they still don't get it, they're really not worth your time.

5. Joseph

Who: Joseph is a servant at Wuthering Heights. He's an irritable, bible-thumping, all-around unpleasant fellow.

How: Wear your dirtiest yard work clothes, carry around a Bible, and when people you dislike try to engage you in conversation, just start going off in an unintelligible Yorkshire accent. You can find a quick(ish) tutorial here.

What to Say: "Yah're a nowt, and it's no use talking—yah'll niver mend o'yer ill ways, but goa raight to t' divil, like yer mother afore ye!"

4. Basil Hallward

Who: Basil is the underappreciated man who painted the picture of Dorian Gray. A friend of Lord Henry--the man who started Dorian's life on a downward spiral--Basil is shy, awkward, and devoted (probably to an unhealthy degree) to Dorian Gray.

Awkward and smitten. The easiest fangirl costume ever. (source)

How: Grab a paintbrush and a thrift store portrait and follow your loud, opinionated friend around. Bonus points if the portrait looks like your friend.

What to Say: *quietly* "I've put too much of myself in my work. I couldn't possibly explain it to you." Then let the opinionated friend take over.

3. Moby Dick

Who: The great White Whale is the ever-present force in his eponymous novel by Herman Melville.

How: Wear all white, pick the person(s) at the party you most don't want to talk to, and spend the entirety of the party running away from them. If they get too close, punch them.

What to Say: "Moby Dick, man. Is that---? Catch ya later!"

2. Holden Caulfield

Who: Holden Caulfield is the main character and narrator of The Catcher in the Rye.

How: Put an ugly, red deer hunting hat on your head and a rather large chip on your shoulder and walk around spewing teenage philosophies using grammar bad enough to show just how many schools you've been kicked out of.

What to Say: "If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth."

1. Bartleby

Who: A lesser-known short story by Herman Melville, "Bartleby, the Scrivener" is about a scrivener named Bartleby who refuses to do anything.

How: Wear whatever you want, just respond to every request with “I would prefer not to.” Occasionally opt to do nothing but stare at the wall.

What to Say: "I would prefer not to." Or buy a shirt that says it for you here.

But, most important of all, take your character’s book with you this Halloween. Take it in part to help explain your costume, but mostly because parties get boring and it's always nice to have something to do that doesn't involve talking to people or eating stale chips.

Which literary character will you go as this Halloween?

1 comment:

  1. It's so funny that I'm reading this now, because in my American lit survey we actually just read Bartleby and excerpts of Moby-Dick for class! Those are perfect GIFs though. XD