Halloween Costume Ideas: Obscurity

The term obscure is a difficult one when applying to costume ideas. What is obscure to one group of people will be immediately recognizable to another. Then there’s the chance that you will be a costume idea so obscure that almost no one anywhere will get it. The trick to picking a great obscure costume is knowing your audience and just how far you want to go in terms of how few people will get it. Of course, some people enjoy the idea of nobody else having the slightest idea of the point of their costume.

Obscure TV Characters

If you are going to show up in costume at a party filled with twentysomething, you have much greater leeway in choosing an obscure TV character than you would have showing up at a party filled with fiftysomethings. The key to choosing an obscure TV character is to either pick one that your target audience is either too young or too old to get, or else choosing a character that only appeared briefly. The original Kolchak the Night Stalker by played Darren McGavin is well known enough among those over 40, but many younger viewers are also familiar due to Sci-Fi Network reruns. His costume is simply a powder blue suit that doesn’t fit and his trademark straw hat. Most people know Chachi, but Fonzie’s nephew Spike remains obscure but well known enough for some people to get. Oliver, the hated cousin for the Brady Bunch, is an easy costume to make with a goofy blonde pageboy wig, John Lennon glasses, and awful 1970’s clothing. The live action version of The Tick lasted less than ten episodes but developed a hard core cult following and provides truly memorable costume ideas.

Obscure Objects of Desire

Fads that fade are a terrific resource for making an obscure costume. One of the first fads of the 20th century was the popular Gibson Girl with her massive hair piled up onto her head into a ridiculously huge bun. The Gibson Girl was the epitome of feminine beauty in the first decade of the last century. In the 1950’s practically every kid in America was sporting a Davy Crockett coonskin cap and trying to learn a new toy called the Hula-Hoop. Build yourself a box with a lid as a hat and place yourself inside as the dumbest fad of the 1970’s, the Pet Rock. Buy a bear costume and tailor it to look like one of the weirdest fads of the 1980’s, Teddy Ruxpin.

From Infamy to Obscurity

Many, many people have become front page news in America for a few weeks only to disappear into complete obscurity over time. This propensity for infamy and widespread media coverage has created an extraordinary resource for obscure costume. Those with a sense of exhibitionism might consider donning little more than a G-string and a banner saying Vote For Mills to become Fanne Fox, the stripper that led to the downfall of a powerful Congressman in the 1970’s. Hetty Green was known as the richest female miser in America, so dress up in shabby clothes and fill your pockets with play money while you go around begging people for money. Choosing to go as a now-obscure infamous person is perhaps the easiest route to take when deciding an obscure costume idea.