Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Best Two-Person Literary Costumes

It’s been two years since I last compiled literary Halloween costumes to spotlight on this blog. That’s how long it has taken me to recover from the sheer cleverness and creativity of those bookish ensembles. But recover I have, and now I’m hungry for more!

The aforementioned blog entry featured a costume of Dr. Watson, earning the “Best Supporting Costume” for excellence in accepting the role as living prop. What I failed to realize at the time was that I had unintentionally spotlighted Sherlock Holmes as well. That’s right. My “Top Ten” is really a “Top Eleven,” and I could have been sharing twice as much costumey goodness the whole time!  Well, I’ve learned from my mistake this year. Prepare yourself.

Good vs. Evil

One way to make your two-person costume set memorable is to pair up a protagonist with their antagonist. This works well for all ages and all types of relationships. That said, you better be comfortable in your relationship before you suggest that your significant other personifies absolute Evil for Halloween. Here are a few of my favorite literary Good Vs. Evil costumes:

Queen Jadis and Aslan from The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis

Many people are familiar with The Chronicles of Narnia, but I’ve found that The Magician’s Nephew, the first in the series, doesn’t get a lot of love. As a prequel, it focuses on the roles that Aslan and the evil Queen Jadis (who later becomes the White Witch) play in the creation of Narnia. Lewis wrote it shortly after completing The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to answer a friend’s question about the conspicuously modern lamp-post in Narnia. I guess it’s easy to forget about the prequel once the Pevensie children burst through the wardrobe, gallivant around Narnia, and become kings and queens.

These costumes take inspiration from the movie adaptations, but I don’t fault them for that. What I appreciate about this set is that, separately, each individual has a great costume. No need to stick by each other at all times so that others will get it! Of course, Aslan would just be a lion at that point.

Ursula and Ariel from The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen

Most people are familiar with The Little Mermaid from the popular 1989 Disney adaptation, which these costumes epitomize. That’s probably for the best, as Hans Christian Andersen’s original tale is much darker than its animated counterpart. In fact, I would advise anyone who loves happy endings to keep some distance from Andersen’s works. They tend to be downers.

These costumes, however, are delightful. The only thing better than being a villain for Halloween is making your little sister be the villain for Halloween!

But, in all seriousness...  Can you imagine the patience and perseverance one must possess to even attempt to completely paint a toddler’s face like that? 

Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf from the classic children’s fairy tale

One surefire way to make an impression on Halloween is to dress as a character that is immediately recognizable to everyone. Fairy tales are ideal for this tactic, because they have been handed down through the generations for centuries. Red Riding Hood, for example, was popularized by the Grimm Brothers, but its origins can be traced back to a 10th century Italian folk tale. Stories don’t hang around that long if they don’t make an impact.

We have another sibling rivalry on our hands with these costumes, and again the younger child is the arch adversary. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that this a tried-and-true recipe for adorableness. If these two were trick or treating at my house, I would probably upend my candy bowl into their bags and call it a night.

On the Same Side

Another workable option for a 2-person costume set is to be teammates! Whether your aim is to display closeness and camaraderie or simply to discourage animosity among small children, being on the same side as your costumed companion can be just as fun as pretending to be enemies. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

Thing One and Thing Two from The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

As the younger of two children in my family, I am very familiar with Thing One and Thing Two. Those were among the nicknames used by my parents for my sister and me (and the parents of all two-child households, I imagine). You can’t really fault them, as the Things are the spirit of young children cast in ink—wild and carefree, with a penchant for chaos. As long as parents don’t store their children in a large red crate like the Cat does, it’s all good.

Check out these little ladies’ interpretation of the Things. I love when people get creative by adding their own flair to a character’s appearance while remaining loyal to the original design.

No, the Things did not wear bows or tutus in the book, but now I kind of wish they had.

Curious George and the Man with the Yellow Hat from the Curious George by Margret and H.A. Rey

Here’s another series of books that have been delighting children for generations. Last year, George celebrated his 75th birthday, and he’s not slowing down thanks to many film and television adaptations over the past decades. There’s something so satisfying about witnessing George explore new places, only to be rescued from a jam at the last second by The Man with the Yellow Hat.

The duo makes for an inspired costume combination for all ages. It also seems like it’d be pretty easy to make happen. You just need to check out your favorite department store’s clearance section and buy all the brown and yellow clothing you can find!

Did you know that Curious George’s name was changed to Zozo in the UK during King George VI’s reign? You do now!

The Grinch and Max from How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

I know I already featured Dr. Seuss characters here, but there are two reasons why I had to include this pair. (1) I wanted to spotlight a villainous twosome. Sure, arguments can be made that that the Grinch has a change in heart by the end of the story and that Max is just a dog, not evil at all. But they’re on the same side, and one of them is pretty nasty most of the time, so I feel justified calling them villainous. (2) I couldn’t pass up a Christmas-themed costume set. My husband once wore a Christmas sweater and Santa hat for Halloween, passed out candy from a stocking, and said a hearty “Merry Christmas” to every trick or treater. The trick or treaters that year were seriously freaked out. I can still hear the yells of “It’s not Christmas, it’s HALLOWEEN!” Ah, memories…

This is a perfect costume choice if you frequently have cold Halloweens. There’s nothing more disheartening that seeing children with winter coats over their costumes. These ones look nice and toasty, though!

 Big and Little

There aren’t many things in this world that I enjoy more than wit. So when people get clever about their Halloween costumes, you know I’m going to be all about them. The costumes in this category demonstrate their deftness by taking advantage of the physical size of the attired allies: 

 Jack and the Beanstalk from the classic children’s fairy tale

As I said earlier, you can’t go wrong dressing up as fairy tale characters, because everyone is familiar with them. Jack and the Beanstalk, of course, is the tale of a poor boy who trades his dairy cow—his family’s sole source of income—to a peddler for a magic bean. This, of course, leads to a grand adventure in the clouds, so marvelous and fantastic that one tends to overlook the fact that Jack earns his Happily Ever After through thievery. 

Let’s just continue to overlook that small plot point and turn instead to the costumes. What an absolutely prodigious personification of this classic tale! This is an outright ingenious infant and caregiver costume combination. Babies need to be held, so why not use that fact to your advantage when planning your costumes? Plus, you’ll have the honor of being the only person dressed as a beanstalk in your neighborhood on Halloween night. Bonus points!

Pinocchio and Geppetto from Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

There’s something about Pinocchio and his desire to become human that has plucked at our heartstrings since his debut in 1883. Since then, this precocious puppet has been adapted and re-imagined in many forms of media. Most famous of these is, of course, Disney’s 1940 adaptation, which is considered to be one of the finest animated films of all time. (It has a freshness rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes!) 

This illustrious story is ripe for 2-person costume ideas. Here, we have an excellent use of the pair’s differential heights to bring the woodcarver Geppetto and his masterpiece to life. Too cute! But the ideas don’t stop there; Pinocchio could just as easily be paired up with the Blue Fairy. Or, get a smaller child involved, dressed as Jiminy Cricket.

No matter what, you just can’t go wrong with this precious puppet!

 Harry Potter and Dobby from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

You can’t talk about literary Halloween costumes without talking about Harry Potter. You just can’t. This whimsical wizard has brought magic and delight to millions upon millions of people for 20 years. And as the movies, plays, and theme parks demonstrate, the hype isn’t dying anytime soon. 

There is a plethora of characters in the Potterverse to choose from, so there’s practically no limit to the number of costume combinations. If you’re looking for an adult and child duo, though, look no further! Dobby, the helpful house elf, is the perfect accompaniment for The Boy Who Lived. I love that Dobby has on one sock. Tiny details like that one can make a costume a huge success.

Now all I need to see is a minuscule Harry paired with a colossal Hagrid for my life to be complete.

Thank you all for checking out my list of the Best Two-Person Literary Halloween Costumes! Let me know which one is your favorite in the comments below. If you have any other ideas for great literary costumes, I would love to hear them as well!


Disclaimer: The images included in this post were found at www.costume-works.com/literary_costumes

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