Coming up with original — and usually stupid — Halloween costumes based on recent movies was a favorite tradition of mine at the old Spout blog, so I’m carrying it over to the indieWIRE version. I think this is technically the third annual list, but the old ones are no longer available, and I’m not certain. I can assure you I won’t be repeating any of the ideas from the previous years, not even the suggestion of going as Pepper Pots to represent the lack of interesting female characters in superhero movies. She was on screen again this year, but at least “Iron Man 2” also had Black Widow kicking ass for about ten seconds. Plus, there was Hit-Girl from “Kick-Ass.” And yeah, costumes for the character do exist, and are even marketed to young girls. That might actually be worse than a version for adults, which would further sexify the role in a totally wrong way. It’d be worse than those sexy Sesame Street costumes out this year.
All of this year’s suggestions are relatively easy to accomplish. Maybe not on your wallet, but in lieu of official costumes for most of them, you should be able to impress without too much physical effort. And as always, I want pictures submitted in the comments section if anybody takes any of these ideas. They’re pretty much all jokes, but none are totally unlikely or terrible, if I do say so.
Avatar-less Jake Sully from “Avatar”
There will be a ton of “Avatar” characters running around out there this Halloween, but most are going to be the blue-skinned Na’vi. Some people will go crazy with the make-up for authenticity. Others will do the store-bought variety, like this Na’vi version of Jakesully. Maybe there will be a few ambitious folk who go all out with impressive homemade costumes of Col. Quaritch in his robotic armor. So, let your friends do that stuff while you take the simple route and just be human Jake, in his wheelchair. The best thing is that you can just use a basic modern wheelchair. There doesn’t seem to be much innovation on them in the future. Then you just need a gray shirt and jeans, which shouldn’t be hard to find.
Stitch from “Lilo & Stitch” as Toothless from “How to Train Your Dragon”
There are official Toothless costumes out there, but I kinda wish there wasn’t. It would make this idea more necessary. Still, it’s a way to show your appreciation for animators Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois while also satirically recognizing their recycling of a particular character design. Basically Toothless is just Stitch with wings and his ears pulled back. So go find an old Stitch costume, paint or dye it black and get some basic bat wings from Party City, and you’re all set. The boy on your back is an optional accessory. And you really big Sanders & DeBlois fans should also get some kind of anti-Disney emblem to wear.
Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear from “Toy Story 3”
For some strange reason there are no official Lotso costumes being manufactured for the kids. Because he’s the villain? Halloween is all about villains. This might be one of the more costly costumes on this list, as it will possibly require you to buy a giant bear mascot costume, which you’ll then dye hot pink. Then you’ll need a little wooden cane. And final touch is one of those strawberry-scented air fresheners, which you can wear around your neck for the character’s authentic odor.
Too-hot ‘Loser’ Chick from “Easy A”
Everyone thinks Emma Stone is so cute and awesome in “Easy A,” but then why don’t her schoolmates agree? A girl that hot is supposed to be invisible? I don’t think so. It’s the classic glasses & overall thing from “She’s All That,” later lampooned in “Not Another Teen Movie,” and redone even less believably in this highly derivative high school comedy. Get a redhead wig, a black bustier, a big red ‘A’ to sew onto your boob — and cover that all up with some overalls. And real nerd glasses instead of the sunglasses. Closet gay friend is optional.
Asexual Chic Female from “Inception”
Everyone who went as pregnant Juno a few years back, raise your hands. Okay, this one’s for you. No stuffed belly or stripey shirt, but another Ellen Page character criticized for not being much different than her breakout role. Officially her character is named Ariadne, but it doesn’t matter. You’re dressing up as the asexual graduate-student that Vulture’s Emma Rosenblum says is dressed in “the thrift-store look,” “indie-girl duds,” looking “childish” like “a cross between a boy scout and the Swedish Chef,” “dreaming about her youth spent as a boy sailor.” She also tells us exactly what you need for the costume: “ill-fitting corduroys, ratty jackets, and scuffed, oddly pointy motorcycle boots … and, strangely, a neckerchief.” And don’t worry about getting the exact items just as you see them above. Though it’s hard to tell at first, Page wears a few different outfits throughout the film, though they all pretty much look the same.
Anyone from “The Expendables”
Wear some black clothes, boots and a beret, maybe a black vest. Hold a machine gun. If anyone asks, you’re one of “the Expendables.” When asked further, which one, say it doesn’t matter. Because it really doesn’t. They’re really all the same exact character. The most boring, redundant ensemble compiled ever.
The Winklevi Effect from “The Social Network”
You’ve no doubt seen others jokingly — yet also seriously — suggest going as the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler. But has anyone clarified how to dress up as identical Adonis-like WASP rowers? My idea, based on the special effect employed by David Fincher, actor Armie Hammer and body double/actor Josh Pence for “The Social Network” is to simply do the best you can to look like one of the twins. Then you get a friend to wear a mask of your face. Just print out a straight-on life-size photo of your head and have your buddy tie it around his own head with string. You may not necessarily resemble the real “Winklevi,” but you’ll pull off a cheap representation of the film’s trick. Either a suit and tie or Olympic rowing outfit is equally fine for the below-the-neck part.
J.P. from “I’m Still Here”
Maybe now that the film has been confirmed to be mostly fiction there’s no interest in a bearded, “retired” Joaquin Phoenix — aka rapper “J.P.” — costume. Maybe it was funnier or more interesting last year or the year prior, when it was still just a joke rather than … a joke. But with the new context the costume will be different. No more fake beard from the local costume shop. This time you need something even more artificial. Like a paper beard. Even before Casey Affleck admitted the falsehoods of “I’m Still Here” it was so obviously fake that you need to appropriately reflect that blatant artifice. Wear paper pants and shirt, too. Paper sunglasses. Whatever you can do to look as unbelievable as can be.
Banksy/Mr. Brainwash from “Exit Through the Gift Shop”
Unlike the Joaquin Phoenix movie, the Banksy doc is still a mystery as far was what’s real and what’s made up. Is Thierra Guetta, aka Mr. Brainwash, aka “MBW,” really just an alias of Banksy? We may never know. But you can address the question in masquerade form by dressing up as a combination of the two “characters.” All you need is some facial hair (sideburns and mustache, real or fake), a pork pie hat and a retro polyester shirt. That’s the MBW part. Then, over that you wear a black hoodie, obscuring most of your face. It’s your choice if you want the underneath costume to ever be revealed to people, but in that case the gag is only appreciated by you alone.
Catfish from “Catfish”/”Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives”
Rounding out the trio of elusive docs is this literal “Catfish” costume. You can tell people that it actually has to do with that suspenseful non-fiction film about online dating; few people will know or care that there isn’t really a catfish in the movie. Or, if they’ve seen the movie they can say they get the costume — you’re a metaphoric representation of [redacted]. And for those of you who have really hip cinephile friends, the costume, which can be another expensive mascot suit, may also be said to be a more direct character from this year’s Cannes-winning Thai film, “Uncle Boonmee … ” Maybe one of those hip friends can join you as a monkey ghost.
Bonus: Nina Sayers from “Black Swan”
I haven’t yet seen “Black Swan” and chances are you haven’t either. Most people haven’t. It comes out in December. But if you want to do something based on a hot film that’s not yet been released, this is the one to choose (yeah, “Uncle Boonmee” is another not-yet-released film, which is why I paired it up). Enough people have seen the trailer and poster for this likely Oscar-nominee to recognize you if you do this right. All you need is a black ballet outfit (tutu, tights, shoes, etc.), a tiara, red-eye contacts and that really scary make-up. Extra bonus points if you put a little feather or whatever sticking out of your upper back.