AboutContact Us

Q-Notes hot list for Halloween costumes
From celebrities to politicians - there's someone for everyone

by David Moore
Q-Notes staff

Halloween has always been at the top of the list when it comes to good reasons for gays and lesbians to dress up and party. For years it's been a favorite holiday in the LGBT community - probably because of the aspects of sheer abandon and creativity.
How clever or comedic can you get with a costume? How risque? Do you wanna be scary? Maybe you want to make a political statement with your choice of costume or perhaps you'd just like to pretend you're somebody famous.
Whatever the case, we came up with a list that provides an opportunity for everybody to have a little fun.

Tippi Hedren in "The Birds"
I've encountered this costume twice in my lifetime and on both ocassions I was sufficiently amused to want to include it here. You don't actually have to look like Tippi Hedren to pull this off but there are some easy things you can do to get close. Start off with a tailored knee-length woman's skirt suit in just about any color and a few drops of fake blood on your forehead and legs. Using a hot glue gun attach a few of those decorative birds florists use (try Michael's craft shops) at strategic points on your suit (fake blood is good around those points as well). Top it all off with a blond wig (you can add a bird or two there if you like) and you'll look just like you walked off the set of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest flick.

Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory
Go to any nearby Sears or K-Mart and pick out a button down shirt in light blue or yellow, a pair of khaki trousers and a standard blue blazer. Soap opera actor brown dye #3 will easily capture McCrory's cutting edge coiffure. Top it all off with a pair of medium-sized rimless glasses and you've got the look of Charlotte's anti-gay right-wing mayor down pat (no pun intended). Tips for really pulling it off: if you're hosting the party yourself start off the evening as a Democrat and change to a Republican about 15 minutes into your soiree. Welcome your guests openly at the evening's onset but midway through the event tell them you don't think they're appropiate for the venue.

Michael Jackson
There are so many looks to choose from here! If you're a brown or darker skinned African-American individual go for the "Thriller" period with a red leather jacket, high arched eyebrows, one sequin glove and a mullet-cut Jheri Curl wig. To capture the current style of the King of Pop (or the queen of whine) you'll need palest pale foundation, lots of contouring around the nose, red lipstick and a blunt-cut, medium length black wig. For clothes, the options are endless. Try a bright red shirt with epaulets, black slacks, white socks and dress shoes. If you're going for the "Michael on trial" look a simple business suit with an armband and a pair of silver wire-rim glasses will work nicely (for extra fun try adding a surgical mask and hire a Nation of Islam member to carry an umbrella for you). To be even more convincing - if you have kids (or can borrow some), slap 'em in colorful berkas and bring 'em along for the fun as they pretend to be Prince Michael Jackson Jr., Prince Michael Jackson, II (also known as "Blanket") and Paris Michael Katherine Jackson. Remember to speak in distraught, whispered tones at all times.

Barbara Bush
Easy drag for the manly man. Okay - you do have to shave your face for this one but the rest of it shouldn't be too hard. Once again, the thrift store is your friend! Go to the womens' section and look for solid or print dresses with large buttons and large spillover collars (doily collars are favored by Grandma Bush) and check out one of many Asian-owned wig shops in your area for an inexspensive white or silver short wig. Add a dash of pale pink lipstick, some low-rise Benjamin Franklin heels and a pair of droopy panty hose and you're good to go.

S.C. Rep. John Graham Altman
Wanna dress up as one of the yee-haw good ol' boys? Why not consider South Carolina's most nefariously anti-gay Republican State Rep. John Graham Altman? Altman's lived long and hard to achieve his monstrously good looks. For you to achieve that goal start off with a trip to the Big & Tall Men's Shop for the standard businessman's suit - either in brown, blue or black. You could capture Altman's handsome mug by sloughing on a few layers of face putty, but we recommend the quick and easy route: off to the costume shop for a rubber Richard Nixon face mask (yes, they still make those and the similarities between Altman's handsome as hell good looks and a rubber representation of the late Republican president are quite striking).Tips for really pulling it off: Wander around the party or nightclub of your choice spouting off such amazing parables of wisdom as: "Gay people just want to get married because they want to bugger each other" and "Don't waste your time outing people in power, society doesn't like that kind of behavior." Marvel at your own wisdom, then amble on. Your performance art portrayal of Altman will leave other party-goers white-knuckled with fear.

Of course, not everybody can pull this one off. But if you can, you're sure to have fun. Cher is the quintessential queer icon. She's been around for almost 60 years and she's managed to look somewhere around 30 for most of that time. Not much direction needed here - but this effort's going to be a bit more pricey than the others included on this list. The most easily recognizable Cher look is the long black wig and some kind of dramatic evening wear you'll probably need to borrow from your bestest drag queen friend. Hopefully, she'll be able to do your face, as well. Go rent "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean," "Suspect," "Mermaids" and watch a few episodes of the old "Sonny & Cher" show to get some examples of this diva in action.

Boy George
He's our favorite '80s retro pop-diva/drag queen/Brit rocker and boy did he leave us with a legacy of looks to choose from. We'll go for the most obvious and easy: a black bowler with multi-colored braids attached around the inside of the hat and ribbons on the end of every other braid or so. Makeup: heavy on the lips, heavy on the eyes, heavy on the foundation (check the internet for reference photos - there's a ton out there). For clothing, an oversized bathrobe in bright red, blue or yellow works well (if you can snag an asian print you're over the top). With some billowey pants and a pair of genie slippers you've got the early '80s Boy George look complete.

Sissy Spacek as "Carrie"
Here's a fun and easy trip down retro-horror flick lane. Any nearby thrift store will most certainly have a light-colored evening gown (with straps, preferably) that will easily hold splatters of red food coloring to create the illusion of blood. For skin and wig you're going to need to make a trip to the costume shop for some fake blood. Inexpensive long blond wigs from the children's costume section are perfect to top the outfit off and not much conversation required at all! Just walk around the entire night with a blank, zombie-like stare.

Jocelyn Wildenstein
This one's a bit more complicated. If you're not planning on speaking the entire evening a pair of wax lips will easily capture the look of La Wildenstein's soup-coolin' fatties. For those who want to interact with others, use a lip liner and draw your lips on well above the natural line to the most rapacious extreme you can achieve (think Ronald McDonald) and simply fill in with a dark red lipstick. If you go for option #2, when you do speak, do so in a nebulous eastern European accent and throw out words like "darling" and "fabulous" with frequency.
For clothing, check out Goodwill or Value Village for any "Dynasty" era evening outfits in satin or metallic. For Wildenstein's signature eyes, shadow going up and out from beneath brow's end and towards the hairline can create a cat-like look. If you're trying for a more realistic interpretation (or unrealistic, depending on your perspective) of Wildenstein, then a bit of clear surgical adhesive tape at the outer edges of your cheek bone, stretched up and tight and concealed with heavy foundation and a curly brown wig will have everyone convinced you're the queen of botched plastic surgery.

Mecklenburg County Commissioner
Bill James
A good one for all the hefty guys out there. If you prefer drag, however, you should be easily interchangeable with Barbara Bush (see above). From all outward appearances, Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James seems to have a propensity for beige, brown and dark blue. Try the Big and Tall Men's Shop for the standard business suit in any of the aforementioned colors. Seal the look with a left-side combover from just above the ear. Tips for really pulling it off: Throughout the evening pepper your speech with words like "moral sewer," "sodomites" and "feces." Glib rhyming phrases like "homos and lesbos" will be sure to convince everyone your Charlotte's scariest county commisioner.

Other options:

Always an easy one - think "Village People"

Get a red plastic rain coat, an axe and fireman's hat from the costume shop and you're set.

Bride of Frankenstein
A flat white bed sheet with three holes for your head and arms, ace bandages to wrap up your arms from wrist to shoulder, an afro wig combed up and back (think promoter Don King), clown white for your face and black lipstick (which also actually works well around your eyes, too). Don't forget the spray-on gray for the silver stripes on either side of your wig.

Another easy one - think "Village People"

Any costume shop will have you covered on this one.

Sailor or soldier
Visit your local Army/Navy surplus store or check out costume and thrift shops.

Doctor or Nurse
Scary drag queen nurses are always a hit at Halloween parties. Try your local costume shop or uniforms outlet.

Accident victim
Wear whatever you want, just rip a few strategic holes here and there and go to town with the fake blood.

Roller Disco Queen
You can do this as a twinky gay boy or in drag with a pair of daisy dukes, a tight T-shirt and a pair of old roller skates. For extra-added authenticity throw some glitter or sequins on the t-shirt and your body.
Middle eastern woman in a Berka
You can order these online and you'll be covered head to toe. No one will ever recognize you through your eye slits! Drinking or smoking may prove to be a challenge, however.

Construction Worker
Flannel shirt, hard hat, worn out jeans, industrial boots. How easy can you get?

WWW Q-Notes.Com

Ride ’em cowboy! Queen City Stomp spurs up
Technology tests candidates
N.C. House expulsion could have LGBT impact
Center finds new home
Pride releases 2007 finances
European Scouts take liberal stance on sex, drugs
N.C. gay rights profit from Senator’s wife
10-year study debunks bisexual ‘phase’
Ketner files for coastal congressional run
AFFA celebrates year of achievement
Neal receives key endorsement, makes another
Couples face tax headaches
New website refutes the ‘ex-gay’ myth
HRC to launch second annual True Colors tour

Organically yours: a labor of love
Organic gardening and food tips
Easy ways to live greener
‘Stop-Loss’ examines unjust war policy
Kaki King dreams of another brilliant year
A call for rural queer youth support


find a Q-Notes Newspaper near you