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File:Curtains2 7285.jpg

Preach it, Supergirl!

Polonius: I hide behind curtains 'cause I have a fear of getting stabbed.
"That's what tapestries are for."

There are only so many places a person can hide, but one that's available in most indoor locations is the common curtain. When someone's coming and you've got to get out of sight quick, just duck behind ones of these and you're golden. Oh, drapery—where would Exact Eavesdropping and Wacky Hijinx be without you?

Bonus points if you see the shoes peeking out under the bottom. Triple bonus if the shoes were specifically put there to throw the searcher off the scent.

Close cousin to the Closet Shuffle. May lead to a Dramatic Curtain Toss. Not related to The Man Behind the Curtain, although one of those may use this.

Examples of Curtain Camouflage include:

Anime and Manga

  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni: Jessica in Banquet
  • Pani Poni Dash!: One character freaks another out by showing she has an eye in it, scaring her into hiding behind a curtain.
  • When Madlax comes to visit her target the night before the assassination on the account that it was himself who ordered his own death, she initially conceals herself behind a curtain from neck down. This was to hide the fact that she was wearing an cocktail dress and has actually come to comfort the man before he goes. She is funny like that.


  • The page image comes from the Superdictionary—appropriately, for the word "curtain."


  • Disney's Hercules has Herc do this. Meg spots him easily—the twitchy feet kinda give it away.
  • Beauty and the Beast - Lumiere is caught doing inappropriate things to a feather duster behind some curtains.

Film--Live Action


  • In the Sherlock Holmes story "Charles Augustus Milverton," Holmes and Watson break into a blackmailer's house; when they hear noises coming toward the office, they quickly duck behind a curtain in time for some Exact Eavesdropping and a little murder.
    • In The Valley of Fear, the assassin hides behind the curtain to catch the victim off guard. Properly Paranoid victim spots the shoe behind the curtain and attacks the murderer, who ends up being accidentally and rather gruesomely killed in the ensuing Gun Struggle.
    • In The Mazarin Stone Holmes hides behind one to spy on two men to learn where they hid the titular diamond. It works because they think the shape they see is actually a wax bust of Holmes that he made a point of showing them earlier that evening.
  • In Robert E. Howard's "The Shadow Kingdom", Kull does not notice the spy, but at the end of the first scene, a tapestry moves.

Live Action TV

  • Carnivale: The former Creature of Light hides behind curtains to keep a sense of mystery about himself.
  • Father Ted: Ted and Dougal are playing hide-and-seek, and Dougal stupidly "hides" by concealing just his face behind a curtain, leaving the rest of his body plainly visible. When it's Dougal's turn to be "On," Ted finally concedes the fact that there just aren't many good hiding places in a caravan and hides himself in the very same way!
  • An episode of Charmed has the sisters being persued by various B horror movie villains due to a spell gone wrong. One of them, being chased by an axe murderer, no less, hides in the shower.

 I'm being chased by an axe murderer, and I hide in the shower?

  • Parker does this to hide from the Big Bad in the Leverage episode The Wedding Job.
  • Happens in Chuck, when they're spying on a spy in a bedroom who is going undercover.
  • In a vehicular variant, Klinger on M*A*S*H once hid a tank by draping an army tent over it, effectively surrounding it with curtains on all sides.


  • In Hamlet, the title character stabs someone he thinks is Claudius through the arras he's hiding behind. It turns out to be Polonius. Though technically an arras is a heavy tapestry, it's still this trope in essence, meaning...
  • The Lion in Winter has an example that takes this up to eleven: King Philip ends up with all of King Henry's sons hiding in various places around his room as each of them visits him in succession on the same night, remarking, "That's what tapestries are for."
  • A different subversion than the shoes one occurs in the play The Murder Room: the protagonist hides behind the curtain of a window as his antagonist comes to the house - unfortunately for him, he didn't think that hiding behind the curtain means he's quite visible from the outside.

Video Games

  • In the second Laura Bow game, Laura can hide behind a tapestry in one area of the museum in order to eavesdrop on an important conversation.
  • A minigame in Super Mario RPG has Mario hiding behind a curtain while Booster's Snifits try to find him.

Western Animation

  • The scene from Hamlet (above) was parodied on The Simpsons in "Tales From The Public Domain." Bart's Hamlet stabs Chief Wiggum's Polonius, who states that he was hiding behind a curtain for fear that he would be stabbed.
  • The animated series of Police Academy had one episode where Capt. Harris and Lt. Proctor hid behind the curtains when a criminal showed up to rob the bank. They were just trying to prevent the criminal from seeing them but they accidentally fell on the criminal, capturing him by a stroke of luck. Harris quickly started hogging as much glory as he could.

Real Life

  • How many of us tried this out in games of "Hide and Go Seek," only to find the results disastrous? It turns out curtains generally don't hide the bulky shape of a human as well as the movies would have us believe... and of course, feet really do poke out the bottom.
  • Not exactly a curtain, but many kids hide behind their mom's skirts when they are scared, serving the same purpose.
  • During WW 2 when Charles de Gaulle went to the White House to meet President Roosevelt, the Secret Service became convinced that he'd try to assassinate the President and hid behind the curtains of the Oval Office. The sight of their shoes poking out from under the curtain did not facilitate post-war US-French relations.