For the past 4 weeks, we here at Comics Bulletin have been suggesting almost every horror movie and TV special for you to consume on this, the spookiest day of the year. Besides candy and reruns of Hocus Pocus on ABC Family, the best part of Halloween is of course the costumes. Expect your Facebook and Reddit feed to be filled with guys dressed as various Avengers, Psy, and the 12th Doctor., and ladies dressed as sexy Avengers, sexy Psy, and sexy 12th Doctor.
When you get tired of seeing these said costumes, you can come back to this list where you’ll find the 5 best pop culture costumes, from both film and television. Because much like a signature cocktail, a great Halloween costume can perfectly capture the essence of a character.
Murder Party (2007)- The Cardboard Knight
If you don’t have a Halloween costume an hour before the party, you should probably just cut some holes out of a cardboard box and be a robot. Or if you have a few hours to kill, make a cardboard knight, as the protagonist Christopher in 2007’s micro-low budget film Murder Party. The film follows a group of NYC artists who, in competition for a grant, attempt to murder someone as the inspiration for a piece of art.
After sending out random invitations for a Halloween party around the city, the group only hears back from one individual: Christopher, a lonely traffic enforcer. After tying him up and drugging him, the artists spend a majority of the film trying to determine to best way to kill him while making sure he doesn’t escape.
Christopher’s costume perfectly captures the essence of the film’s low budget and DIY ethos. Shot by a group of friends in a basement, Murder Party feels less like a feature and more like a group of friends getting together for a beer and shooting the shit. And instead of the shit, they decide to shoot a stranger. In an era where literally every film seems to have a devoted fan base, this film is criminally under-watched. Seek it out; it’s worth it, if not for Christopher’s costume alone.
Friends “The One With the Halloween Party” (2001)- Spudnik
Dr. Ross Gellar is responsible for my middle finger alternative, the dual-side fist bump. Whenever someone cuts me off or is generally being a dick, I just give them the bump, and they know I mean business. Or they laugh at me.
Mostly the latter.
But Ross has also provided me with not only one of my favorite TV costumes, but my favorite Joey line. After Ross walks into Rachel’s Halloween party in the aptly titled Friends episode “The One with the Halloween Party” dressed in a potato suit and wearing a colander on his head, Joey responds in the most Joey way possible: “Heh, he’s doodie.”
Ross later dressed up as the Holiday Armadillo, which is more remembered, but his Spudnik is easily sillier and more defining of his character. He spends all of the show well-meaning, but mostly fails with hilarious results. I really just want to know where I can get the potato suit so I can be Spudnik for Halloween next year.
30 Rock “Believe in the Stars”/”The Fun Cooker” (2008/2009) – Princess Leia
Elizabeth Miervelda “Conworthy” Lemon is many things: head writer for TGS, food lover, sexually repressed due to an accident involving roller skates and a Tom Jones poster. But above all, she is also Princess Leia. Even though in the series she never wears the costume on Halloween, she has used it on multiple occasions to get out of having to go to jury duty. Armed with a stack of 1980’s copies of Playgirl, Liz Lemon slaps on her costume so to look crazy so that she can avoid having to attend jury duty.
Of the two episodes in the series in which she wears the costume, this is only successful once, in Chicago (in the episode “Believe in the Stars). However, when she tries her trick in NYC, the judge sees right through her, mostly due to the fact that she is not the craziest looking person in the pool of people, including a little boy with a beard and a man covered in Christmas lights.
Liz Lemon, as mild-mannered as she may be, is also incredibly conniving. She once transferred a guy she liked’s girlfriend out of state so that she could date him, then later got him blackout drunk the day before his wedding. She once roofied a doctor after going through his mail. But using Princess Leia as a trick to skip out on jury duty is both disrespectful to Carrie Fisher and the American people.
Which means it’s extra hilarious for the viewers.
Trick ‘r Treat (2009)- Little Red Riding Hood/Anna Paquin
Yes, Anna Paquin is one of my favorite pop culture Halloween costumes. It makes sense; just trust me.
My favorite Halloween movie ever, Trick ‘r Treat is finally starting to get the love it deserves. It's an anthology film weaving together many plotlines, all taking place on Halloween night. Although there are many different stories, only one actually involves a costume. One of them involves Laurie (played by Anna Paquin), a 22 year old virgin going out to a party with some more “promiscuous” of her friends. While they are dressed as various different slutty Halloween costumes that women are legally required to wear, Laurie is dressed as a demur and conservative Little Red Riding Hood.
However, when she gets to her party, which happens to be a large group of women with captured men surrounding a bonfire in the middle of the forest, she removes not only her Little Red Riding Hood costume, but her Anna Paquin costume as well to reveal that she is actually a werewolf.
Trick ‘r Treat has set the bar high for lesbian cult werewolf orgy/human sacrifice set to the Marilyn Manson cover of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" meetings I’ve seen captured on film so far. And lesbian cult werewolf orgies/human sacrifices are something that should be in more movies, just so I can keep writing about them.
Parks and Recreation “Greg Pikitis” (2009)- T-Pain
Aziz Ansari is currently sitting on my “Oh-No-No List”, a concept I stole from his character Tom Haverford on the breathtakingly amazing NBC sitcom Parks and Rec. In the show, the “Oh-No-No List” is a list of various character traits that could end a relationship for Tom (not loving 90’s R&B music is number three).
z, however, has landed himself on Dylan Garsee’s “Oh-No-No” when, during his latest AskMeAnything on Reddit, he skipped my totally amazing and highly upvoted question “What is your favorite R. Kelly record, and why is it Chocolate Factory?”
But I’ll let bygones be bygones, because his take as T-Pain on the 2009 Halloween episode of Parks and Recreation “Greg Pikitis” is inspired. It shouldn’t be too hard to wear a T-Pain costume, just slap on something shiny, a gold lamé suit, some fake dredlocks, and a top hat are all you need. However, Tom pulls off the certain swagger that T-Pain brings to life. To be T-Pain, one must be incredibly confident and slightly in on the joke of how ridiculous you are.
I should know, because I am T-Pain (or at least what his iPhone app tells me).
Dylan Garsee is a freelance writer/bingo enthusiast currently living in Austin, TX. He is studying sociology, and when he's not winning trivia nights at pork-themed restaurants, writing a collection of essays on the gay perspective in geek culture. An avid record collector, Dylan can mostly be seen at Waterloo Records, holding that one God Speed You! Black Emperor record he can't afford and crying. You can follow him on twitter @garseed.