Besides the fact that The Exorcist is a classic horror film, this movie had a major impact on me personally. Growing up Catholic, possession movies really freaked me out before I became an atheist and gave up on the church. On top of that, I watched The Exorcist (and The Amityville Horror) for the first time at an impressionable age with older people (my cousin and her friend) and they scared the shit out of me.
Now usually when someone thinks about dressing up as a character from The Exorcist they jump straight to dressing as Regan and specifically when she is possessed. Since I’m trying to use items of clothing that I already have in my possession (haha) and avoid altering them so I can use them again, I instead chose to dress as Regan’s mom, Chris MacNeil. No split pea soup for me, thank you.
This outfit is a London Fog trench coat that was a hand-me-down, Style & Co dark brown wide leg trousers that I got secondhand when I worked an office job, and these Kenneth Cole Reaction Pete Cheeks Mary Jane suede wedges that I bought at a thrift store. I love them, but rarely wear them because the color palette doesn’t jibe with my standard attire (black on black). Also, I wore my not quite a turtleneck shirt discussed in the Annie Wilkes post since Ellen Burstyn’s portrayal of Chris MacNeil includes a variety of turtlenecks.
Because I didn’t want to buy yet another wig, I chose an outfit where most of Chris MacNeil’s hair is covered up by a scarf, and you can only see her bangs. That way I could reuse the same wig I used for Sidney Prescott, Rose Armitage, Dr. Abigail Tyler, and others.
I chose not to wear any makeup since most of my face was going to be covered anyway. Technically, in this scene, Chris has a black eye, but I don’t particularly like to see my face with a black eye–fake or not. You could choose to do up your face, but please realize it might be triggering for survivors of violence.
For my first accessory, I have a pair of Ralph Lauren sunglasses that cost $2.99 at a thrift store. I’m not really a brand whore, but sometimes the things I buy secondhand end up being name brands. I’m not gonna go out of my way to avoid them, if the item is something I was already interested in obtaining.
For my second accessory, I have a pair of Fownes Brothers blue leather driving gloves that were giving to me by my grandmother. Please don’t get on me for mixing black, brown, and blue. We’re working with what we’ve got on hand to avoid buying a black or brown pair of gloves.
For my prop, I have a lit cigarette. After all, it was the the 1970s. (No mom, I’m not smoking nicotine cigarettes again.) This is a Redwood Reserves Pure Hemp Flower CBD cigarette. I smoked nicotine cigarettes for 18 years of my life. (I could’ve raised a child into an adult in that time!) Quitting was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, and it took me multiple attempts before it stuck. I am not advocating for anyone to smoke any type of cigarette here, but if you already do and have some on hand, it will definitely help elevate your Chris MacNeil outfit.
If you don’t want to use a cigarette as a prop, you could have a buddy go in costume with you. Having a Regan in a blue nightgown (with or without vomit) or a pal dressed up as Catholic priest would help ensure people connect your outfit with The Exorcist.
Catch me back here tomorrow for another “work with what you’ve got!” Halloween costume, cosplay outfit idea.
In the meantime, check out The Exorcist: Chris MacNeil Vibes board on Pinterest.