Most years P and T know what they want to be for Halloween from about November 2 of the previous year. Oh, they change their minds a few times, of course, but they've always had thoughts on the matter. I guess they're getting older because this year come October 1 they didn't really know. First they both thought they might like to be Gubble the troll from The Tales from the Five Kingdoms series. But they refused to have their faces painted green and we didn't have green pants or tights or turtlenecks for skin, and it just seemed awfully hard to put together a set of distinctive traits to make a recognizeable troll. Then just last week inspiration struck. P declared that he would be Gandalf, and T claimed Dumbledore. So we bought a bit of white furry material, and at some point in the next 11 days I'll be making wizardly beards!
As for Gandalf and Dumbledore, I got looking at the way they've been depicted by various illustrators through the years. Gandalf will have a wooden staff and a grey robe, while Dumbledore will have his half-moon glasses and a wand. Hats? Well, I already got grey felt before I refreshed my memory and saw that Gandalf's hat is blue. Oh well. And Dumbledore? In the movies he seems to favor funny embroidered fez-shaped things, though I think he's described as having a more classic tall pointed hat at least once. As for his robe, it could be turquoise or something bright, but since I already made T a dark blue robe for a former costume, that will have to do for her again.
I've topped the page with an illustration of Gandalf by Maurice Sendak, who was proposed as an illustrator for The Hobbit in the US, though it was not to be. I really like this one, and I think it's especially appropriate for The Hobbit, as opposed to the more serious Lord of the Rings Gandalf. A less whimsical Gandalf appears in the painting by Alan Lee, who was a concept artist for the Lord of the Rings movies. There have also been some pretty goofy portrayals of Gandalf through the years, and here are two I get a kick out of.
As for Dumbledore, here's a U.K. version from Thomas Taylor, although not the first. The original cover picture depicted a youngish wizard, which the fans objected to. So it was replaced with this properly white-bearded Dumbledore in subsequent editions. It does get at his delightful eccentricity. But in my opinion the right and proper version of Dumbledore is that by Mary GrandPré, seen below, sadder and tireder than usual, in a picture from the US edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
The versions that will be presented by P and T on Hallowe'en will be pretty sketchy, I imagine, especially as I can't even think about starting work on costumes until after this weekend's Natick Artists Open Studios. (Come by if you can!) But if everyone has fun, then as far as I'm concerned they'll be perfect.
[Pictures: "Gandalf meets Bilbo," ink on paper by Maurice Sendak, 1967 (image from SciFi Mafia);
"Gandalf and Bilbo," watercolor by Alan Lee, featured on a 1993 calendar, but I can't track down its original source (image from here);
"Gandalf meets Bilbo," scratchboard by Mikhail Belomlinsky for the Russian translation of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1976 (image from MB web site);
"Gandalf," I don't know the artist, but this is from the Rumanian translation of The Hobbit, 1975 (image from Power of Babel);
"Dumbledore," color on paper by Thomas Taylor, from back cover of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling, after 1997 (image from The Harry Potter Journey);
"Dumbledore," pastel on paper by Mary GrandPré, from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 2003.]