If you've ever stood before a long mirror, late on Halloween afternoon, with a TV remote in one hand and the television stopped on a favorite film scene, you know the challenge of attempting to replicate a famous character's clothing for your own trick-or-treat-ready get-up.
You can pause and pause a film, studying, but getting it perfect? A challenge.
You can, of course, visit the actual costume in question early on Halloween evening, if you jump onto a special designer-led tour at Hollywood Costume, the exhibit currently on inside the May Co. building at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue.
Yes, "designer-led" is the key term; Deborah Nadoolman Landis, Deborah L. Scott, and Chrisi Karvonides will be leading 30-minute walks through the show early on Halloween night.
Ms. Karvonides has designed clothing for "American Horror Story," Ms. Scott for "Titanic," and Deborah Nadoolman Landis is both the exhibit's curator and the costume designer behind Indiana Jones's iconic fedora and leather jacket.
It's a treat, all right, to learn from the artists who created the looks we all know and attempt to emulate, sometimes in our daily dress but very often on Halloween. Everyone who saw "Titanic" remembers the big, big, big bow hat; now picture yourself standing with Ms. Scott, the film's costume honcho, before that very hat, chitchatting about all matters of style.
How to get on one of those special tours, before you yourself head out later in the evening on Friday, Oct. 31? You'll need to purchase a timed ticket from 6 to 7 p.m.
And if you don't have ghoulish plans for after the walk-through, stick around and soak up the sartorial splendor a bit more: Hollywood Costume, which is presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Victoria and Albert Museum, will stay open through 9 p.m. on Halloween night.
Figure you can be out and about among homemade James Bonds and Darth Vadars, or you can linger before the real things. Homemade costumes, of course, do charm, but sometimes one needs to go directly to the source of much of our annual Halloween dress-up inspiration.