vintage, dance, costume

Top 5 Unique Literary Based Costumes for 2020

Whether you choose to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve or refrain for any number of reasons, we all know what makes the holiday so popular: CANDY!!! Ahem. Let’s try that again. What makes Halloween the bee’s knees and the crow’s toes??? COSTUMES!!! (Okay, most kids would choose candy, but budding cosplayers know what butters their bread.)

Hardcore Halloween-lovers have had their costumes ready since, well, probably the day after last Halloween, but there’s always plenty of people looking for unique costume ideas close to zero hour. With two weeks to go, and thrift stores turning a decent trade right now, why not try something that will stand out among the sea of Walmart specials?

victorian, woman, lady
  1. For daring girls: Becky Sharp – Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackery
    Not to be confused with the character of similar name from The Flash, Miss Sharp is a temerous picara whose behavior flies in the face of society’s ideals. Despite, or arguably because of, this she rises from obscurity to a life of comfort. A quick read of Becky’s Wikipedia page might have you asking, “Her behavior sounds downright immoral – how is this at the top of your list?!” Bear in mind Becky’s behavior was consider debauched and unwholesome by Regency Era standards. In fact, many of her machinations are no different than tactics employed by the men of her time. If a man connived to marry a wealthy woman and put her aside, well that was just business, whether it was the right way to treat a woman or no. So, for girls who want to show others that strong women have been around for centuries, Becky is your gal.
  2. For incisive boys: Hercule Poirot – Agatha Christie
    Yes, yes, everyone thinks of Sherlock Holmes when they think of great detectives. From Basil Rathbone with his dry delivery, to Jeremy Brett’s soulful soliloquies, to Will Ferrell’s veritable buffoonery, generations keep coming back to Sherlock. So why pick M. Poirot? Poirot is a flawed character, to the point that even Christie became tired of him, and yet there is something about the fastidious, iron-willed and egg-shaped (as Hastings described him) detective refusing to capitulate in the face of truly horrifying minds that brings forth a cheer. And who can forget Poirot’s brimming disdain for being mistaken for French? He is an irascible element that we love despite being cuddly as a thistle bush, perhaps because of Suchet’s portrayal with a double dose of personality. Bonus points if you wear a Suchet-style mustache.
  1. For bigs and littles together: Various – Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift
    (I’ll tell you a secret – I almost named one of my sons Lemuel after the main man, Gulliver himself.) When people think of Lemuel Gulliver, they think of Lilliputians. The diminutive people of Lilliput were never meant to be a winsome race. In fact, they exemplify the basest of human nature despite Hollywood’s obsession with portraying them as quirky little curiosities. Certainly, if you have a wild child on your hands, dressing them as a Lilliputian to your Gulliver would get you a sympathetic nod from fellow Swift fans when they survey the frayed ropes from your recent escape attempt. However, why not go the other direction, with your child and let them step into the hero’s role as Gulliver while you dress as the physically repellent yet morally and intellectually attractive Brobdingnagians. As the voice of reason and virtue, you are completely justified to admonish little Gulliver, “Only take one piece of candy!”
  2. Cute creatures:
    1. Mrs. Frisby/Brisby – The Rats of NIMH, Robert C. O’Brien
      I include the alternate spelling from the movie “The Secret of NIMH” because it will probably trigger more memories. A red cape and a red “sparkly” pendant are all you need for this look, with some mouse ears and a tails for extra measure. Miss Frisby is so driven by love for her children that she braves one terror after another, even reflecting, “I must be crazy!”
    2. Walter – Walter the Farting Dog, William Kotzwinckle
      Poor Walter, the source of so much controversy. Librarians, educators, and even parents love to pick on this pooch. But like it or not, some kids find flatulence hysterical. This can be another simple costume for your bathroom humor advocate. Don’t forget to pick up a handheld farter to complete the effect. Or maybe don’t. There is such a thing as over-egging the pudding.
  3. For siblings: Multiple – The Sneetches and Other Stories, Dr. Seuss
    1. Forget Thing 1 and Thing 2. Overdone. Hackneyed. Trite. For twins the Zax practically prances onto the scene. My husband is a twin, and a grown man, but mention bickering twins and the look of a pained tween crosses his face. You might remember the story of the cantankerous Zax who comes upon another Zax, each refusing to yield to the other while life goes on around them.
    2. Triplets or more call for Sneetches! Avert potential arguments by attaching the stars with Velcro. Your Sneetch can have a star or no as they choose, or if things really head south, have a whole family of Sneetches with no stars upon thars. A lesson in how arbitrary the basis for discrimination can be.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *