To me, Halloween is a uniquely cinematic holiday.

Watching films can be a form of escape; we leave our dull, dreary lives behind and fall into a dream-like trance without questioning our willful suspension of disbelief.

Is dressing up on Halloween any different? For one night, normal people get to inhabit a character of their choosing and play along with whatever terrors and tricks come their way.

So why not combine these worlds? If you’re a film-lover, Halloween is your chance to dress up as your favorite character and have a good time. Here are just a few ideas if you’re looking for a place to start.

Pascal from The Red Balloon

Screen capture taken from "The Red Balloon."
Screen capture taken from “The Red Balloon.”

The little boy in this whimsical 1956 French classic has a style that’s very easy to emulate. All you need is a grey turtleneck, some grey pants, a small leather satchel and a red balloon to carry around. It’s so easy to put this costume together that I did it myself two years ago.

If you’re interested in going as a couple, there’s a little girl in the film with a blue balloon. Squeeze some magnets in your balloons so they are attracted to each other. How cute would that be?

Frank Booth from Blue Velvet

Screen capture taken from "Blue Velvet."
Screen capture taken from “Blue Velvet.”

This is also an easy one. Get a black leather jacket, a medical oxygen mask and a six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Constantly drop “f-bombs” and make sure whatever party you go to you take control of the music and add a bunch of Roy Orbison to the playlist. When “In Dreams” plays, get really sad. Then after it’s over get really angry.

The Warriors from The Warriors

Screen capture taken from "The Warriors."
Screen capture taken from “The Warriors.”

Another simple costume idea, though this one requires you to have several friends. Get some red leather vests and wear them sans shirts. Maybe carry around some plastic Wiffle ball bats too so your rival gangs know you’re a force to be reckoned with. Bonus points if some of you have afros.

Ada from The Piano

Screen capture taken from "The Piano."
Screen capture taken from “The Piano.”

This costume is a bit more difficult. It requires a large Victorian-era dress and an enormous bonnet. Since you can’t lug around an entire piano, I’d recommend getting a light toy keyboard of some kind. Thankfully, since you’re playing a mute Scottish woman, you don’t actually have to say anything at any of the parties you go to. All you have to do is look angry and make sounds with your keyboard.

Fitzcarraldo from Fitzcarraldo

Screen capture taken from "Fitzcarraldo"
Screen capture taken from “Fitzcarraldo”

If you’re an emotionally unstable German man, this is the costume for you. You only need three things: a white suit, an antique phonograph and a crazed look in your eyes. If anyone tries to talk to you at a party, simply respond by yelling about your plans to build an opera house in the middle of the jungle.

Divine from Pink Flamingos

Screen capture from Pink Flamingos

This gender-bending costume is perfect for anyone who wants to represent local Baltimore cinema. First, you need to get a ridiculous red prom dress, then shave your head so your hairline is literally on the top of your skull. The last step is to make your hair and makeup as fabulous as possible. Remind everyone you meet on Halloween night that you are the filthiest person alive, and to prove it to them, all you need to do is follow around a dog...

Arnold Schwarzenegger from Pumping Iron

Screen capture taken from “Pumping Iron.”

Though it’s the most difficult costume on this list, it’s still doable. All you have to do is devote years and years of your life to becoming a bodybuilding champion. Once you’re one of the strongest men on Earth, you need to take your shirt off, rub some oil all over your body and speak in an Austrian accent. This costume may be more of a challenge for many female readers, but I remind you that you can do anything you set your mind to.

WritersBloc_Headshots_05Matt Kubisiak is a senior broadcast journalism and film studies double major. He can be reached at

One response to “Seven Halloween Costume Ideas for ‘Cinephiles’”

  1. […] The first of Maya Deren’s own films screened after the documentary is likely her best known: Meshes of the Afternoon. Made in 1943 in California with her second husband Alexander Hammid, this film operates purely on dream logic and exhibits quite a bit of surrealism. The film’s creepy cloaked figure with a mirror for a face almost made my list of Halloween Costume Ideas for Cinephiles. […]

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