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So it seems likely that I am going to a Halloween party this year. I may yet duck it because I'm so unspeakably busy freelancing, but failing that, I will be attending my first fancy-dress soiree in a couple of years.

Now, it is very likely that I will spend a terrible amount of my precious time selecting and constructing just the right costume, intricate, clever and played to the hilt, only to show up at the party and see a hundred store-bought Austin Powers and Sexy Nurses drunk on Goldschlager. That's fine. I've made my peace with that. The only person I need to satisfy is myself, and to a far lesser extent, you.

The problem is, there are but a few costume options available to your middle-aged fat man, and they grow fewer as I get older and fatter. I lack the élan of a Homer Simpson, the perspicacity of a Peter Griffin, the tonsorial daring of an Uncle Marvel. And so I turn to the classics.

The possibilities:

IGNATIUS J. REILLY (from John Kennedy Toole's novel A Confederacy of Dunces)
GEAR NEEDED: floppy hat, false moustache, lumber jacket, cardboard cutlass, overactive pyloric valve
ADVANTAGES: easily accomplished, hilarious, possibly recognizable, gives opportunity to speak in overwrought pseudo-medieval argot all night
DRAWBACKS: possibly not recognizable, likely a tad too predictable for a self-loathing fat man

BENNY PROFANE (from Thomas Pynchon's novel V.)
GEAR NEEDED: cowboy hat, black jeans, cowboy boots, drinking problem, low self-esteem
ADVANTAGES: I already have all those things
DRAWBACKS: not recognizable, character is rather younger than me, boring

PIGGY (from William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies)
GEAR NEEDED: Coke-bottle glasses, British schoolboy outfit, ass-mar inhaler
ADVANTAGES: possibly recognizable, easily converted into Angus Young costume
DRAWBACKS: sight of me in British schoolboy outfit likely to trigger epidemic of vomiting and uncomfortable looks

GREGOR SAMSA (from Franz Kafka's story The Metamorphosis)
GEAR NEEDED: giant cockroach outfit
ADVANTAGES: role would require simply donning giant cockroach outfit and avoiding human contact
DRAWBACKS: much like my normal life except with expensive giant cockroach outfit, homemade cockroach outfit would be very expensive and time-consuming, store-bought cockroach outfit would be very expensive and cheesy

BIG BROTHER (from George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four)
GEAR NEEDED: false mustache, military uniform, glowering expression, fake TV screen to stand behind
ADVANTAGES: easily accomplished, recognizable, would give me the opportunity to have people arrested for treason
DRAWBACKS: unnervingly similar to dressing up like Hitler or Stalin

DR. GONZO (from Hunter S. Thompson's book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas )
GEAR NEEDED: Hawaiian shirt, flowered briefcase with "Chicano Power" sticker, loud tie, huge knife
ADVANTAGES: fun, possibly recognizable, gives opportunity to get outrageously fucked up on drugs and alcohol
DRAWBACKS: possibility that I will be murdered by cocaine dealers

CHARLES FOSTER KANE (from Orson Welles' film Citizen Kane)
GEAR NEEDED: false mustache, smoking jacket, patrician demeanor, cigarette holder, billions of dollars
ADVANTAGES: easily accomplished, possibly recognizable, possibility dancing girls will sing a song in praise of me
DRAWBACKS: a tad grandiose

KASPAR GUTMAN (from Daishell Hammett's novel The Maltese Falcon)
GEAR NEEDED: all-white suit, bald pate, cane, sadistic homosexual henchman
ADVANTAGES: easily accomplished, recognizable, entertaining, chance to match wits with drunk guy dressed as Bogart
DRAWBACKS: possibly addictive

MR. SOPHISTICATION (from John Cassavetes' film The Killing of a Chinese Bookie)
GEAR NEEDED: false mustache, extremely garish tuxedo, microphone, severely creepy banter
ADVANTAGES: inspired, simple
DRAWBACKS: unsettling, absolutely the most pointlessly obscure costume in history of mankind

OLDER JAKE LAMOTTA (from Martin Scorsese's film Raging Bull)
GEAR NEEDED: sweaty tux, big cigar, hot blonde to verbally berate
ADVANTAGES: easy, involves hot blonde
DRAWBACKS: really not so much a costume as just a suit, involves repeatedly bashing bare forehead against concrete wall

And now, inevitably, the part where you fill out a form.

Poll #1074054 Hell(oween) is for Children

What should be my Halloween costume this year?

Ignatius J. Reilly
Benny Profane
Gregor Samsa
Big Brother
Dr. Gonzo
Charles Foster Kane
Kaspar Gutman
Mr. Sophistication
Jake La Motta
you shouldn't wear a costume
you shouldn't even go to the party
those ideas are all terrible and I hate you
don't know/don't care
I have an even more great idea which you can read about in Comments


Oct. 19th, 2007 01:12 pm (UTC)
Here's a new life rule I'd like to start-
"If one ever has the opportunity to pretend to be Sydney Greenstreet, then, by all means, one should."
Oct. 19th, 2007 02:57 pm (UTC)
A most remarkable character, sir!
Oct. 20th, 2007 12:27 am (UTC)
"If one ever has the opportunity to pretend to be Sydney Greenstreet, then, by all means, one should."

I concur. There is no question in my mind of who you ought to attend this party dressed as. Though I doubt Gutman would approve of my grammar in that last sentence.
Oct. 19th, 2007 01:33 pm (UTC)
I think you should wear one of those t-shirts that reads, "this is my costume!"
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 19th, 2007 03:09 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I seriously considered a Deadwood costume, but I wanna save that when I'm going to a party with people I know a bit better.
Oct. 19th, 2007 02:04 pm (UTC)
Why not just an older Orson Welles?

"Muaaaaa, the FRENCH ..."
Oct. 19th, 2007 02:47 pm (UTC)
Wow. Unless you go to a smartypants party, have fun explaining your costume to any/everyone.

This coming from the girl who has no part of her costume put together, and is going to a serious party where PORTRAITS of costumes are going to be taken. Good god.
Oct. 19th, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah, like I said, I'm at peace with no one understanding, or caring about, my costume. It's a work party, basically -- not sponsored by work, but thrown by co-workers.

So what did you decide on for your costume?
Oct. 19th, 2007 05:58 pm (UTC)
I'm leaning most towards Starbuck. I found some tags on ebay and am willing to pay the crazy expensive fast shipping from Singapore, but I don't know that even if I do that they'll still get to me by Friday. That's what I get for sitting on my hands for weeks. :(
Oct. 19th, 2007 02:54 pm (UTC)
I was gonna rig a gelatin-filled water balloon double-neck prosthetic, grab some heavy blankets and go as the newsreader on Rome, but I'm a shut-in and never leave the house, so I'd basically be doing it for myself ...
Oct. 19th, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
Ha ha, maaaaan. That's a keeper, though, a fine idea...
Oct. 19th, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC)
Pig Bodine (in any of his manifestations) is a more suitable Pynchon fatso for the depraved older gentleman, but if they're a less literary crowd you can always go as Mr Creosote.

GEAR NEEDED: big white suit, waxed moustache, 300 gallons of cream of vegatable soup, one wafer thin mint.

And I can't tell if you're in favor of hundreds of "Sexy Nurses drunk on Goldschlager" or not. Assuming one or two will be female....

Oct. 19th, 2007 04:12 pm (UTC)
I think you should go as Carl from Casablanca (S.Z. Sakall).
Oct. 19th, 2007 09:50 pm (UTC)
Points for obscurity, but I am not quite that old or that fat (yet), and I have a moral objection to dressing up as someone named "Cuddles".
Oct. 19th, 2007 06:15 pm (UTC)
I was in fact considering going as Gregor Samsa this year, due to the availability of a very large rubber cockroach (and by very large, I mean that this thing was half as big as me) in the Halloween U.S.A. near my house. Unfortunately, even with the creepy guy who ran the store offering me a discount, I feared it was too much on my pocketbook. Should you find yourself in a situation where you have the opportunity to buy a large cockroach, I suggest you take it--wear an unfashionable suit and affix the cockroach to your back somehow to suggest the transformation into cockroach rather than, simply, the cockroach itself.

You could always tuck a pillow under your shirt, act like you're best buddies with the crown prince, and go as Sir John Falstaff.
Oct. 19th, 2007 08:32 pm (UTC)
I am shocked that more people didn't select Charles Foster Kane. It seems like the no-brainer winner.
Oct. 19th, 2007 10:11 pm (UTC)
Proving again that checkmarks are inherently superior to dots, I really wanted to choose Kaspar Gutman as well.
Oct. 19th, 2007 10:55 pm (UTC)
I dunno, man, Uncle Marvel sounds like a rocking costume to me. Failing that, you could always review calamityjon's "Fat Superhero" collection, and just buy the corresponding off-the-rack costume at Target or wherever.
Oct. 20th, 2007 03:11 am (UTC)
Oct. 20th, 2007 03:24 am (UTC)
I still think you should go as Isaac Babel.

GEAR NEEDED: wire rim glasses, driver's cap, turtleneck or an old, dark suit (with shirt and tie), trenchcoat or Red Army coat, and a cute brunette mistress. If you don't want to shave your head bald, wear a bald wig, or at least give yourself widow's peaks, keep your cap on at all times.

ADVANTAGES: a display of wit and snark are obligatory; plus, cute brunette mistress.

DRAWBACKS: no "happily ever after" ending. But given some of your other costume ideas, that shouldn't be a deal-breaker.
Oct. 22nd, 2007 10:23 pm (UTC)
How the Christing hell can I be the only one who thinks Mr. Sophistication is the most beautiful costume idea ever?


flavored with age
Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator
Ludic Log


Leonard Pierce is a freelance writer wandering around Texas with no sleep or sense of direction. If you give him money he will write something for you. If you are nice to him he may come to your house and get drunk.

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