With the amount of offensive, appropriating, and generally problematic Halloween costumes that have made their way in and out of popular culture over the last decade or so, it’s beyond time to bring some more uplifting, empowering, and positive characters to the forefront.
The following women (fictional and non-fictional) have impacted and carried feminist ideals throughout their stories by standing up for themselves, others, or both. And they’ve each done so in unique and empowering ways that reflect their own personal strengths. Whether it’s through comedy, athletics, music, law, fantasy, or storytelling — among other talents — each of these individuals are icons who deserve recognition. They may not qualify as conventionally scary costumes, but they’re definitely worthy of any Halloween costume contest’s first prize. And if your friends don’t think so, they have some explaining to do.
For the majority of these looks, all you really need is a two-day shipping buffer (thanks, Amazon), and you may even be able to source some of these outfits from our own closet. Scroll down to see 10 feminist Halloween costumes that you can easily put together with a little online shopping.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg
To embody one of the United States’ most influential supreme court justices, you’ll need the appropriate honorable black robe (from $22; amazon.com) and jabot. Ginsberg wears many jabots, including her classic crocheted lace one, but her most iconic has to be the dissent collar: a shiny studded piece that, according to her, just “looks fitting for dissents.” The collar has become so popular among her fan base that tons of recreations have been produced, including this Notorious Necklace from Banana Republic. Pair it with some large specs like these ($11; amazon.com) and a judge’s gavel ($5; halloweencostumes.com) and be prepared to defend women’s rights all night long.
Remember how controversial Serena Williams’ post-childbirth catsuit was at the 2018 French Open? It was actually banned from future matches by The French Tennis Federation — and that’s exactly why you should wear one for Halloween. As it turns out, Williams’ choice to wear the figure-hugging garment was rooted in style and functionality due to the blood clots she experienced during pregnancy. An exact replica of the suit isn’t available for purchase, but other black catsuits like this one (from $16; amazon.com) are. Add a red sash around the waist and your favorite pair of Nike kicks to better resemble Williams’ look.
El from Stranger Things
El has always been an inspiring role model for young girls, but her Stranger Things 3 character is particularly emboldened. In the process of getting to know herself as a teenager, she finds her style with this now-iconic black and yellow printed shirt ($30; spirithalloween.com) and matching black pants, along with a few other titularly ‘80s looks. To fully embody this version of El, you’ll need to recite this particular line without flinching: “I dump your ass.”
2019 was a metamorphic year for U.S. women’s soccer, and Megan Rapinoe had a lot to do with that. Not only did she help her team win the 2019 Women’s World Cup, but she stood up for herself and teammates in the face of hate and discrimination on multiple occasions. To dress like her for Halloween, grab a U.S. Women’s Soccer jersey ($90; urbanoutfitters.com), a pink pixie wig ($17; amazon.com), and a soccer ball to kick at any haters.
Thanks to the release of not one, but two movies featuring her superhuman badassery in the past year, Captain Marvel costumes are aplenty. Pick up the full suit from Amazon (from $37; amazon.com) or your local Halloween store, and warn friends that your super strength and agility will conquer all party games.
Beyoncé at Coachella
Beyoncé quite literally broke the internet when she was the first black woman to headline Coachella in 2018. And that moment, as well as her on-stage look, are definitely worth recreating. You can purchase a golden hoodie like the one she wore on stage from her merch website. Wear it with some denim shorts and a pair of knee-high silver boots like these (from $33; amazon.com). Unfortunately, her extremely talented drumline is not included.
Hermione Granger from Harry Potter
She’s a classic costume character, but an empowering one nonetheless. There are a couple of options for dressing up like the witty and intelligent Miss Granger — one is her classic Gryffindor robe ($35; spirithalloween.com), another is her everyday school uniform with a gold and maroon striped tie ($6; amazon.com) and a white collared shirt under a black sweater. Just don’t forget the wand, you muggle.
Rosie the Riveter
Another classic feminist icon is Rosie the Riveter, who also has a seriously easy-to-achieve look. The shirt-pants variation is one you can have a little fun with — most people just wear jeans and a denim button-up like this Levi’s one (from $32; amazon.com). The most important parts are her red bandana headband ($4; amazon.com) and her signature bicep flex.
Okoye from Black Panther
As the general of the Dora Milaje, a group of female bodyguards, and the head of Wakandan armed forces and intel, you can’t get much closer to a fierce female leader than Black Panther’s Okoye — and thankfully there are ready-made costumes available online ($40; spirithalloween.com).
Midge from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
She may be relatively new to the constantly growing and changing entertainment realm, but there’s no doubt that The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a symbol of women’s empowerment. In a 1950s society that refuses to make space for her in the comedy scene, she makes room for herself. Not to mention, she has some incredible style. If you’ve dressed up as Audrey Hepburn before, Maisel’s signature stage look is similar: a black cocktail dress (from $30; amazon.com) with bows tied in the straps, a string of pearls, elbow-length black gloves ($9; amazon.com), and most importantly, her signature retro pin curls.