It’s the time of year when everyone is raiding their closet to come up with a great costume for Halloween. In order to help everyone out in this endeavor I’ve come up with the following list of characters and tips to make a great last minute costume.
James Bond – The classic spy costume. Just pull your tuxedo out of the back of the closet, dust it off, add a Walther PPK or Martini shaker and you are good to go.
Charlie Muffin – Muffin, created by author Brian Freemantle, is a down at heels spy who always manages to put one over on those gunning for him. A trench coat and nondescript suit ten years out of fashion are a good start but essential are a well broken in pair of brown Hush Puppies shoes. Add a pint of beer, glass of wine or bottle of scotch and the costume is complete.
Jackson Lamb – An untucked shirt with various unknown stains, loosened tie, a suit that looks like a charity shop threw it away and significant paunch will let the knowledgeable spy fiction aficionado pin down your spy character as Mick Herron‘s rude, crude Jackson Lamb. Add a bottle of Bushmills and you’re set.
Tara Chace – Greg Rucka’s MI6 spy creation in The Sandbaggers mold is a bit off the radar but well deserving of a place on the list. Chace’s clothing choices lean towards the utilitarian – turtlenecks or ghillie suits. A blonde wig is a must and be sure to add a bottle of scotch to complete the look.
Alec Lemas – A traditional early sixties suit is what is needed for Lemas, but be sure to sleep in it the night before so it has the proper “spent the night in jail after a drunken brawl” appearance. Throw in a bit of an Irish brogue and a bottle of whisky (I’m sensing a pattern here.) For added fun have your significant other dress as the Berlin Wall.
Emily Pollifax – Don’t think I’m leaving you ladies out with only one costume choice. You’ll be the belle of the ball dressing as Dorothy Gilman’s spy creation Mrs. Polliax. A senior citizen turned spy, throwing on a grey wig and karate gi will have all your friends immediately shouting out cries of “Mrs. Pollifax!!” as you walk in to the party and nab you that first prize in the costume contest.
George Smiley – Le Carré‘s most famous creation is easily pulled off. Thick glasses, a tie for cleaning aforementioned glasses, a suit and a hunched “frog” or “toad” like demeanor will get you what we costumers call “the full Smiley.”
Quiller – Quiller doesn’t drink, smoke or carry a gun. He’s described as “fit as an alleycat” but beyond that physical descriptions are a bit thin on the ground. I suggest going full 70’s and choosing some of the awesome outfits Michael Jayston wore in the short lived tv adaption.
Hopefully that will get you started. Please share your spy costume ideas below!