Couples match costumes every Halloween, and you may even find a few trios out there willing to combine on a single theme. If you really want to raise the stakes, however, try getting seven people together and join them with a common costume idea. You can all wear the same costume if you like--going as Imperial Stormtroopers, for instance, or a pack of werewolves, or the characters from Harry Potter--but to really set the standard, look for a few themes that play exclusively into the number seven. There are more out there than you think.
The Seven Dwarfs
"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" provides the most obvious idea for a seven-man costume theme. You can attain generic results by dressing in medieval clothes and sporting long white beards, but better results come from tailoring the clothing to match the iconic Disney dwarfs. Six of them had white beards without mustaches--the seventh, Dopey, was beardless--and they all wore brown leather shoes, breeches, a black belt with a gold buckle, a medieval shirt, and a floppy nightcap-style hat. Color is very important, as is attitude. Assign a particular dwarf to each party member--Grumpy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Bashful, Happy, Dopey and Doc--and make sure they sport the correct emotion while you're out on the town.
Seven Deadly Sins
The Seven Deadly Sins can embrace a wide variety of themes, from the comical to the truly horrific. Once you agree upon an emotional direction, select costumes that get to the heart of each sin. Lust needs a sexy outfit which reveals a fair amount of flesh, while Gluttony should use a fat suit and copious food stains. Greed can dress like a Wall Street banker--a sharp suit and tie--or perhaps a faux fur coat and a lot of gold lame. Envy is a bit trickier: dress entirely in green and use reptile-print fabrics if you can. For Sloth, dress in flannel nightclothes and carry around a pillow, while Pride can wear garish make-up and gaze constantly into a mirror (a beauty queen's sash and crown work well too). Wrath can go the punk-rock route: chains, leather and maybe a rubber weapon like a crowbar. If the look is too subtle, have each sin work his name into the costume to let onlookers know who you are.
The Seven Samurai/The Magnificent Seven
Though quite subtle, these costume ideas are perhaps the easiest to assemble. The Seven Samurai appeared in Akira Kurosawa's classic adventure film, protecting a village of peasants from marauding bandits. The Magnificent Seven were their cowboy follow-ups, doing the same for a Mexican village in the Wild West. The basics are easy: cowboy hats, dusters, and six guns for the Magnificent Seven; samurai kimonos and katanas for the Seven Samurai. If you're more ambitious, take a look at the movies carefully, and find outfits that match those of the characters. Yul Brynner wore all black in "The Magnificent Seven," for example, while Robert Vaughn wore a black string tie, black gloves, and a gambler's vest over a white shirt. The Seven Samurai used similar variations: Toshiro Mifune wore a top with a feather pattern and carried a two-handed nodachi sword, while Takashi Shimura wore a striped shirt and sported a wide dark sash. ("Seven Samurai" was filmed in black and white, so you have options as far as the color goes.)
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