Why Group Costumes Are Like Producing ‘The Hobbit’
Heading to a Halloween party with a group of friends? Does your whole family trick-or-treat together? Maybe you have another occasion to coordinate costumes for several people. You have a choice here. You can either buy cheap off-the-rack costumes good for one use only, or you can take some time to create something truly memorable.
Obviously, building a unified costume theme for a group of any size can be challenging. Rather like garbing the new cast of “The Hobbit.” Are you prepared to produce an epic? A well-crafted group costume is exactly that.
Choose Your Passion As The Group Costume Theme
Whatever theme you choose for your group costumes, regardless of how many people will participate, go for something you’re all passionate about. Do you gather for marathon Star Wars parties? Does your whole family know the words to every song in “Grease”? Can you spend hours discussing your favorite movie or TV series?
Any of these activities can point to a passion for your costume group. If everyone feels strongly about the costume theme, you’ll find it easier to assemble the outfits and encourage everyone to become their character. It doesn’t matter if you’re passionate about Scooby Doo and not Les Miserables — the enthusiasm itself is what’s important.
If you need help choosing a theme, look for popular character ensembles that spark an emotional response. Whether it’s humor, mystery, thrills, or romance, a group costume concept should bind everyone together yet allow each person to become someone special.
It’s also important for the individual costumes to stand alone. This prevents problems if some people cannot attend, and makes the outfit re-useable. (How many Halloween costumes have you never worn again?)
To make lasting memories of your group costume event, Halloween or any other masquerade, each person should become intimately involved in creating a believable character. He (or she) should be excited to become that character for the entire event. Be sure you match the person with the right costume. No offense, but Mr. Incredible should be the only superhero with a spare tire. Miscasting will doom any group costume epic.
Characters for Group Costumes Should Have Strong Motivations
If you’re like me, you recognize a great character when you see one. Whether she’s described in a book, takes the lead role in a major motion picture, or has a walk-on during one series episode, the best characters make a lasting impression. You’re looking for a group of strong characters that also wear fabulous costumes, naturally. Else, what’s the point?
Retro characters like the Addams Family, the Flintstones, or Grease are immediately recognizable and popular for a reason. Each of these concepts carry good memories, which makes them natural choices for group costumes. Because they have costume themes that support a wide variety of looks, you’re not limited by the number of people who can participate. You can even pull out a pair of characters for couples costumes that work well together.
Halloween Costumes for Groups of Superheroes
Superhero costumes are a common favorite for smaller groups. Since most have their origins in comic books, they have very distinct characters. Plus, their well-defined costumes can really enhance the “believability” of your efforts.
To avoid a cheesy, cheap look (unless that’s your goal), find quality costumes that fit well, and add durable accessories. No superhero wants a wimpy weapon.
More important than the costume, though, is the person in the suit. A little research can go a long way toward presenting a superhero personality. On the other hand, if you’re putting together a group of alter-ego costumes, craft the personalities to fit the garb.
The Avengers are a hot ticket right now in Hollywood, as is the Dark Knight series. The newest Batman incarnation provides both superheroes and villains, which can really enhance the group costume dynamic. The most popular villain this year will be the evil Bane, with his creepy mouthpiece and zeal for destruction. Superheroes and villains are wonderful characters to populate a costume group. You can find really nice ready-made costumes in this genre for both adults and children of all ages.
If you need a more light-hearted costume theme, the Disney and Pixar movies are a popular theme for families who want to dress up as a group. Toy Story, Shrek, and any of the “princess” movies are good choices for family-friendly costuming. You can still find strong characters in these productions, so don’t wimp out just because it’s kid-fare.
Fantasy Group Costume Ideas
The fantasy genre, books and movies, has always provided a great source of strong characters and incredible costume inspiration. There are entire events dedicated to fantasy costuming, separate from any holiday. And you can trust that everyone is always in character, whether for evil or for good.
Game of Thrones, the wildly popular TV show, is a fantastic choice if you have a very large group of passionate fans. This concept would make a perfect party theme, too. If you have enough people, you can divide into several of the seven warring families. Each family has a distinctive look, so make the effort to reflect their sense of fashion – or lack thereof – from barbarians to courtly costumes. Attention to detail and accessories are very important to pull off a successful Game of Thrones group costume event.
Another group costume theme coming from the fantasy genre is steampunk. This is an entire sub-genre on its own, but if you think Victorian costumes with futuristic accessories and props, you have the right idea. The recent Sherlock Holmes movies are a fairly decent representation of steampunk, and the characters are so well-defined you can’t miss.
No group costume list would be complete without mention of vampires…and werewolves. The recently popularity of the “Twilight” books and movies and “True Blood” on TV has created a huge fan base for the vampire/werewolf stories. To create a cohesive group costume look for this theme, you’ll need to choose one mythology to follow. Whether it’s the classic Bram Stoker vampire legend, the retro Bela Lugosi movies, or the more recent incarnations (pardon the pun), your costumes should reflect one vision of how these creatures dress and act. Staying in character is especially important with this type of fantasy group costume.
The Final Challenge in Any Group Costume Effort
To pull your massive production together and present a great costume theme, each person must act his/her part and not just wear a costume. Interactions and dynamics within the group will greatly enhance the experience and provide long-lasting memories. Spend the time to build quality costumes and create believable characters that you can use again and again. Appreciate what you can accomplish by costuming together, and enjoy your group costumes this Halloween.