Seven Deadly Sins
Chances are that the opportunities to portray sins, does not crop up too often in most people’s lives or even at parties. However, in our ceaseless search to suggest novelty theme ideas (and inspired by past adverts for a certain ice-cream lolly), we thought we would try working with the Seven Deadly Sins – Envy, Greed, Pride, Gluttony, Sloth, Wrath and Lust (but not least). Despite everything, they offer more possibilities for improvisation than the Seven Virtues, and most people like the opportunity to be wicked for once.
The approach we have adopted is to take each sin, identify a potential theme colour around which a costume or look could be created or, as an alternative, suggest off-the-peg costumes or potential role-model characters which might fit the bill for each type of transgression. Unfortunately, the Sins do not always keep themselves to themselves, so we may find a few multi-tasking.
Also known as Jealousy, green is the obvious theme colour: Jealousy is supposed to be the ‘green-eyed monster’ and naturally there are special coloured contact lenses available which can change your eye colour. At Props n Frocks we have wigs, costumes and make-up in shades of green and black that can convey the character quite well. Given that, in an envious situation it is said that ‘looks could kill’, your would-be personification of jealously might be armed with a fake knife and scabbard – just right for those cutting comments, which are so much a feature of jealousy.
Role models for Envy are Iago, Othello’s treacherous second-in-command; Jezebel, either the biblical one or the shameless hussy portrayed by Bette Davis, and almost anyone from the Apple of Discord incident of Greek myth.
Gold is the obvious colour choice here, although with money also being the alleged root of all evil, there are opportunities for the ‘mean green’ also. (British banknotes have more colour variation than their American counterparts so this doesn’t work as well. Most of the off-the-peg costumes incorporating money elements are of American origin and based on the dollar anyway, so it should not be a problem). For some, of course, money is a little passé, so one can accessorize with credit-card replicas, including costumes.
Role models for Greed are King Midas (who turned everything he touched, including his daughter, to gold) and his modern-day equivalent, the Bond villain Goldfinger. Also a little too greedy for their own good is Gordon Gekko (from the film ‘Wall Street’) and Cruella de Vil, taking up mass dog-napping in her desire for a dalmation fur coat!
Potentially the most difficult of the seven to portray: One option is for the party-goer to turn up exactly as they are because they can’t be bothered to buy, hire or make a costume! The obvious theme colour is grey and if we really need to look for role-models and suggestions, we have the Couch Potato, in one form or another, a Snail or Slug (although off-the-peg costumes for these are, strangely, hard to find) or a furry creature with three amphibians on its back – a three toad sloth! More basic (and less bother) is to turn up in some kind of sleepwear.
Now we are quite pleased with some of these suggestions. Pride equates to vanity and in this context, we suggest Silver as the theme colour, reflecting (so to speak) the mirror-element which can be so essential to those of a vain disposition. There are plenty of role-models from literature and film – from Titania (Midsummer Nights Dream) to Scarlett O’Hara (Gone With the Wind) and Ming the Merciless (Flash Gordon) to Satan himself (Pride goes before a Fall, as the poet John Milton might have put it). Alternatively, if you are looking for costumes to portray Pride, the choice is probably between a Peacock (technically a male, although many of the costumes on the market are made for females) and a Beauty or Prom Queen. Those looking to go as a couple or group might consider lion costumes as, of course, in a group they are a pride.
No problems with the theme colour for Wrath – Red. Of course although he’s already been mentioned above Satan or the Devil can work well here, and aside from His many names and manifestations (Beelzebub, the Horned One, etc.), He can equally well be a She (as portrayed by Elizabeth Hurley in ‘Bedazzled’). There are those who feel that the Devil is more devious than wrathful and that it’s the God of the Old Testament who was more disposed to wrathful smiting and vengeance. However, rising above religious considerations (although we are considering the Seven Sins here) we can consider the case of Carrie, the eponymous heroine, who gets to work with two of the Deadly Sins – firstly the Pride of the Prom Queen (even if the vote was rigged) and then a deadly form of Wrath once she discovers the truth. Hopefully this does not give too much of the plot away to those unfamiliar with this classic horror film (based on the Stephen King novel), but there is actually a Carrie-style Prom Queen outfit available, albeit not the most glamorous ensemble, and certainly somewhat different from the traditional Prom/Beauty Queen. For those wanting something a little more mainstream, there are a range of possibilities with warriors of all kinds. Unfortunately many of these might accessorize with weaponry which might itself incur the wrath of certain authorities.
Our initial choice of theme colour was yellow to symbolise the fat-related issues involved, but one can equally well argue for candy-floss pink, chocolate brown or an assortment of colours of those things people find most tempting to eat! A knife and fork might prove useful costume props, and one might even run (or walk slowly) to other dining-related items as part of the ensemble. In terms of costumes, the ‘Jolly-Wobbly’ styles of outfits can prove useful (a role model is Mr Creosote, the gourmet diner who explodes in Monty Python’s ‘Meaning of Life’) but equally well one can mention Henry VIII who had something of a reputation for eating, as well as his predilection for wives.
We thought purple could be an appropriate theme colour (as in ‘purple passion’), but in theory most of our customers should not need much guidance here, given the current trend for short ‘n’ sexy costumes for females. Those who feel they can carry off such costumes are therefore spoilt for choice and one might add that there are also some novelty costumes on the market, primarily designed for males, featuring buxom versions of objects of ‘lust’ such as Hula and Harem girls and the ever popular French Maid. For males not favouring the ‘drag’ angle, one can choose between the options of the street-cred slicker, lounge lizard or pimp (although in a couple scenario, this might involve the debatable option of the other half in the ‘ho’ (street girl) role), or one of the multitude of superheroes (especially as many come equipped with an in-built ‘six-pack’). For those looking for something a little more conventional, there are always the Screen Idols to explore – Valentino in his ‘Sheik’ role had the ladies swooning, Clark Gable’s Rhett Butler sent many hearts a-flutter and even nowadays there are many stars who have what it takes to give good box-office. The opportunities for females are more varied – the Silent Screen had its Theda Bara, whilst Betty Boop was touted as an early sex-symbol (even though she was a cartoon) and her popularity still endures. Dietrich (‘The Blue Angel’) and Monroe (‘Seven Year Itch’ and ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’) are also potential choices, but when it comes down to it, under the circumstances, if one’s trying to portray Lust are you looking to dress-up in what works for you or what is going to get the appropriate response from others?: As we’ve said before, we doubt all our French Maid hirings really fancy some domestic cleaning work, and there can’t be that many girls who slip into a Catwomen suit with totally honourable intentions!