The brutal Queen of Hearts is known worldwide to be one of the most terrifying rulers in literary history, made famous in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. You’d be scared to even say hello to her or even compliment her in fear of being beheaded. However it’s a great Halloween costume (partly so you can just yell at people all night), and we at MorphCostumes will advise you on the best ways to do it from the different types of media she has popped her (very large) head into. Don’t tell her we said that…
Carroll describes the Queen as a “blind fury”, and we see this in every adaptation of the character. She is a tyrant and incredibly quick to anger, shouting her famous line “Off with their heads!” whenever someone slightly irritates her. She uses live flamingos for mallets and live hedgehogs as croquet balls of which she is famous for championing.
While in modern adaptations she exists as a villainous character but in Carroll’s original, she was not intended to be portrayed as such. She was just to be shown as one of the many mad inhabitants of Wonderland, and to be an obstacle for Alice’s journey through Wonderland, a potentially threatening obstacle nonetheless. Some say she was inspired by Queen Victoria or Queen Margaret of House Lancaster.
Sir John Tenniel’s illustration of her is very interesting. He drew the card people in a similar way as the cards were traditionally drawn however, due to her grumpy nature, she is often very big-headed as opposed to Alice’s petite little frame. Her costume is often very elaborate and reminiscent of the dresses of the 1860s and 1870s, and she is also often drawn with a bright red face, in order to portray her quick and fiery temper. The costume can be a bit difficult due to the traditional intricacy of the dress she wears but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. So long as you have a bustle of sorts, a crown, and you’re wearing shades of red, you should be easily identifiable.
Possibly the most famous interpretation of the character. The Queen of Hearts in the Disney classic is very similar to the book version, and truly is an adaptation of Carroll’s character. She is childish, selfish, treats her husband the King of Hearts like a doormat, and visibly enjoys her effervescent anger. Disney’s Queen costume is the most identifiable, and the simplest of the few times she has been portrayed on screen. The red, yellow, black and white dress is very simple and seems to be based on the silhouette of the 1730s/1860s again or – as modern terms define it – the ball-gown. Alongside a small golden crown and slightly messy black hair, you’re ready to go.
Tim Burton’s Adaptation
Helena Bonham Carter’s interpretation of the Queen really amped up the idea that she was a very childish woman, taking tantrums and she even based the behaviour of the Queen on her then 2-year old daughter, Nell. Bonham Carter described the character as a “tyrannical toddler” and even said that their daughter had no empathy or sympathy for other living creatures, she was a dictator who just spouted constant demands. We hope she has grown out of this now that she is around 8 years old!
This re-imagining of the character actually combines the Queen of Hearts and the Duchess from Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with the Red Queen from its prequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass. The bossy character actually brings a strange kind of light to the film, despite being so terrifyingly unpredictable.
Bonham Carter’s Queen of Hearts costume was incredibly intricate, as was her makeup. As much as her makeup was beautifully done and can easily be recreated, you’ll have to settle for having a normal sized head instead of the weirdly large one she has in the film. We have you sorted with the costume, having one in our store but the makeup you can do yourself.
For this makeup look you’ll need to glue down your eyebrows due to her very high, very thin ones. Sounds weird and feels a bit weird to do but there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube, like this one here. Once you’ve blocked them out, paint yourself white including your lips, ears and neck but not pure white like Jack Nicholson’s Joker – let a little bit of your skin to shine through. Give yourself very thin black eyebrows, half way up your forehead, and paint the space between your new brows and your eyes with a baby blue colour. For your under eyes, apply white eyeliner to your waterline, white mascara to your bottom eyelashes and attach false eyelashes below your white ones as this will make your eyes look much bigger. Apply mascara and more false eyelashes to your top lashes and that’s the eyes done. Woohoo!
The only other makeup she wears is lipstick and a little beauty mark on the cheekbone below the eye which you can do with a black eyeliner. The lips are very simple too but tricky to get perfect. Make sure your lips are white all over then in the centre, with a red lip pencil first, draw a heart. This heart will be your new lips so it may be better to over-line a little, Jenner style. Then once you’re happy with the heart you have drawn, fill this in with a bright red liquid lipstick. Of course you can use a regular matte lipstick but the liquid lipstick will have hardy lasting power so you shouldn’t have to retouch a lot during the night (if you’re going out in it that is). Once you’re done, powder your whole makeup with translucent powder, dust off and you’re ready to go! You could highlight the high points of your face with some white powder but this isn’t necessary. With makeup like this and the costume from our store, you’ll be fit to yell OFF WITH THEIR HEADS at anyone you fancy!
You may have heard of the video game duo American McGee’s Alice (AMA) and Alice Madness Returns (AMR) but not many have. These video games really focus on the dark side of Wonderland and they’re not for the faint hearted, tackling very evil and even triggering some emotional stuff. So be warned.
The Queen of Hearts in these video games merges with the Red Queen once more and is known to be highly dangerous, and very insane – coming to embody Alice’s insanity. In the first game, Alice defeats the Queen because to save Wonderland, the Queen must be slain. Once the Queen was dead, Alice became sane was allowed to leave the institution she was residing in, named Rutledge Asylum. However, the second game is true to its name – Alice’s madness returned, which meant that the Queen had returned.
Her real appearance is hidden by a puppet in both games. In the first game she was hidden behind a strange monster type puppet that defies description of we’re totally honest, but we think the Queen’s puppet of the second game would make the best costume. This disguise is of a small woman, with a very young looking face and she wears a grand ball gown dress reminiscent of the 1860’s, in dark reds and maroons, with details in gold – this is easily customisable obviously but in order to stay true to the game, the grand ball gown is the way to go.
Her makeup is pretty simple too – paint your face a pearly white, using hues of blue and purple to contour and deepen the eye socket. Then take a black eyeliner line your eyes which you will then smudge and smoke out with a clean eyeshadow brush, so it doesn’t have to be neat. The piercing green contacts will always be an asset but again, this is a personal choice. Add a black bob wig, a small crown (which floats in the game but it’s rather difficult to get the illusion perfect in real life), a gold staff with a heart at the top and the look is almost complete.
There is one final finishing touch however – The Queen of Hearts has huge, bright red claws. Your claws don’t have to be as big as hers, size doesn’t matter after all. They just need to be the same sort of colour. This can easily be achieved with red body paint, with white and black to mix in as contours and highlights; pictures of the hands can be found online so you can get those colours spot on.
Once Upon a Time (In Wonderland)
The Queen of Hearts in the world of Once Upon a Time and its spin-off named Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, is named Cora, and is one of the more brutal characters in the family friendly series. Her cold-hearted nature may be due to the fact she doesn’t actually have one – it’s in a box in a garage full of other hearts. They call it a vault in the show but it’s similar to finding that dust covered, 10 year old Furby in the attic.
To dress up as Cora is an excuse to hold yourself higher than some others which is quite fun once in awhile. Again, she has multiple looks so we will cover two; Storybrooke Cora and Wonderland Cora. Storybrooke Cora is a brilliant last minute costume for this Halloween because it’s super simple. Skinny jeans, a v-neck or tank top, a blazer, a pea coat all in black and a red scarf; in combination with red lipstick and hair falling loosely around your shoulders, and that’s the costume! The only thing that could make it better would be to make yourself a model of Rumpelstiltskin’s dagger, which Cora was determined to use in order to become the Dark One.
Wonderland Cora however, is much grander and similar to the other interpretations of the Queen of Hearts. Like the Queen of Hearts at the weekend compared to during the week. In a red and white ball gown with a high collar and hair up in a beehive type of ‘do, slick on some red lipstick (Cora’s staple), some black eyeliner, and get yourself a full masquerade mask complete with headdress – with these you have now become Wonderland Cora, the Queen of Hearts.
The mask is easy enough to make but you will most likely have to make this yourself. You’ll just need a gold mask, a butterfly felt mask, cardboard, a similar material to the one on the headdress, trimmings to finish the headdress and red gemstones to bring the butterfly mask to life. It’ll be pretty easy to make, you just need a good reference photo, time and a hot glue gun. It looks a lot more complicated that it actually is, we have faith in you. We know it’ll be beautiful when you’ve finished!
Queen of Hearts costumes are grand and are usually as regal as she is. Be manipulative and conniving, or be like the terrible two-year-old Helena Bonham-Carter intended her to be. No matter what, it’s OFF WITH THEIR HEADS.
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