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Classic Horror Monster Costumes
Tales of monsters and the supernatural have always given the human race a thrill. Unexplained creatures, the undead, and the cursed have always haunted the minds of men, women, and children.
Universal Studios cashed in on these monsters in a string of horror films starting in the early 1930s. From the immortal vampire, Count Dracula, who rose from the dead to the creature bought back to life through science in Frankenstein, the silver screen horror classics changed the world in 1931. The Mummy followed in 1932 and The Wolf Man howled his way into viewer's minds in 1941.
Something about these timeless characters has always stuck with us. Even though they've been reimagined many times since their first beginnings, these classic horror monsters make some of the best Halloween costumes!
Blood-Sucking Star of the Silver Screen
Since 1897, the fictional account of the mysterious Count Dracula has haunted our imaginations. Written by Bram Stoker, the tale introduced us to the Transylvania vampire. Since then, our thirst for vampires has never been slaked!
In 1931, Bela Lugosi played the infamous Count Dracula in Universal Studio's adaption of Stoker's novel. The dapper count, dressed in a tuxedo and cape, with his gentlemanly manners and debonair style memorized viewers.
Although vampires are a deeply rooted part of pop culture, Count Dracula is pretty much the king of them all. Dozens have portrayed the Count in films and on television. Lugosi originated the role but Christopher Lee, Gary Oldman, and John Carradine have given their own versions of the Master of the Night.
The modern image of vampires has rapidly evolved, due to films, television and books like Twilight, The Lost Boys, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Vampire: The Masquerade, Angel, Moonlight and many others. But the iconic image of Count Dracula, in his white tie, tuxedo tails, and cape remains one of the classics.
Your Home-Made Costume starts with a white dress shirt. Bow tie is optional, as well as a vest. Black pants and black dress shoes are a must. If you want to go all out, find a tuxedo with tails. Find a cape with a high collar. The gold medallion is optional as well. To complete your look, slick back your hair with some gel. Adding black spray-on hair dye is optional, if you want to go for the Lugosi-style Dracula. Pop in a pair of fake fangs, and voila, instant Count Dracula!
Transylvania accent is optional.
Dracula (1931) Trailer
Frankenstein's Monster - It's alive! Alive!
Some background about your costume...
Ever since the 1818 publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein we have shivered in fear of the pieced-together creature that haunts our nightmares. When Boris Karloff starred as the monster in the 1931 Universal Studios' classic film, the image was forever burned into our minds. Frankenstein's monster became a regular Halloween stand-by, for kids and adults alike.
The monster was cemented further into pop culture history when The Munsters television show arrived and lovable Herman Munster gave new meaning to the creation of Dr Frankenstein. Many movie versions of the monster have come and gone, but the idea remains the same.
Your Home-Made Costume is relatively simple to put together. An over-sized jacket, heavily padded to make your shoulders broader. Thick-soled boots you can stomp around in. Some yellow-green makeup (or grey, if you're going for a classic "silver screen" look), some "stitches" drawn on your wrists and neck, perhaps some plastic bolts as well. A flat-top head isn't a requirement but does complete your look. Now feel free to stomp down the sidewalk, arms stretched out in front of you, moaning.
Remember! You're the Monster, not Dr Frankenstein!
The Mummy - Death is Just the Beginning
Some background on your costume...
Ancient Egypt and the practice of mummification have always fascinated us. The discovery in 1921 of Tutankhamun's tomb and the idea of a curse fueled public interest. After the success of both Dracula and Frankenstein, the race was on to bring an Egyptian-based horror film to the silver screen.
Although the story changed several times, the mummy of the film was given the name of Imhotep. Imhotep was a chancellor to the Third Dynasty king, Djoser. He is also considered to be the first architect and engineer, as well as a physician, in early history. After his death he was afford divine status as a god of medicine and healing, usually a status not given to commoners, and also had a cult in Memphis devoted to him. His self-built tomb has never been discovered.
For the purposes of the silver screen, the character of the mummy, made famous by actor Boris Karloff, was changed to an Egyptian priest. Imhotep was mummified alive for attempt to resurrect Ankh-es-en-amon, his lover. Imhotep, resurrected by two archeologists who accidentally bring him back to life with an ancient spell, enlists their help in trying to find the tomb of Ankh-es-en-amon and bring her back yet again.
The 1932 film became a classic. It was never given a sequel but instead was "remade" during the 1940s. The Mummy's Hand was followed by The Mummy's Tomb, The Mummy's Ghost and The Mummy's Curse. These films focused on a a mummy named Kharis.
The 1959 film The Mummy, produced by the British Hammer Film Productions, was a remake based on the Kharis films. In 1999, The Mummy received a "reboot" in the form of a new version staring Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, and Arnold Vosloo as Imhotep.
Your Home-Made Costume is can be a bit trickier to come by then the other classic monsters. Try taking two white t-shirts, cutting one into holes to look like bandages. Wear them layered, with the destroyed shirt over the untouched one. Find a pair of white pants and try wrapping them in white crepe paper to simulate bandages. You could even use multiple rolls of toilet paper as "bandages" but that's not a cheap costume!
Remember: you've been buried under the hot, desert sands of Egypt and your limbs are a little stiff, so drag a leg and moan a lot.
The Mummy (1932)
The Wolfman - Mark of the Beast
Some background on your costume...
There have always been legends of men, cursed by the mark of the beast, that are forced to "shift" into the form of a wild wolf during the full moon. Such creatures of lunacy are perfect for the silver screen! Universal Studios' 1941 film, The Wolf Man was not its first attempt at a werewolf picture -- 1935's Werewolf of London predates it -- but The Wolf Man starred horror film legend Lon Chaney, Jr. and co-starred Bela Lugosi (of Dracula fame) and became one of the world's most famous monsters legends.
Although The Wolf Man never had any direct sequels, the werewolf creature did go on to be a part of several other Universal Studio monster films. The creature was remade in the 2010 update entitled The Wolfman, with Benicio del Toro starring as Lawrence Talbot.
Your Home-Made Costume is simple enough to assemble. All you need is regular street clothes, make up and fake hair or fur to create your transformed wolf face, and some plastic fangs and claws.
Now run around and howl at the moon, terrorizing the neighbors for some candy!
The Wolf Man (1941)
Still Want Ideas?
Don't forget that there's not just these classic horror monsters to choose from!
- A couple can go as Frankenstien's Monster and his Bride!
- There's the Creature from the Black Lagoon!
- Wrap your face in bandages, don some sunglasses and a hat: instant Invisible Man!
- A velvet sport coat, white face paint, blackened eyes & a keyboard: Phantom of the Opera!
Which is YOUR favorite?
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