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You don’t need to have a pumpkin spice latte in hand to start thinking about Halloween costume ideas. Compiling a slew of clever outfits for October 31 is a year-round pursuit for some, this writer included. 2023 has been a banner year for pop-culture fodder, and for yanking Halloween costume ideas straight from the headlines. From the Barbie bonanza to more niche moments like Doja Cat’s Met Gala carpet ensemble, there’s a clever costume out there for everyone this year.
Whether you’re a meticulous planner or more of a last minute, what’s-in-my-closet kind of person, we’ve compiled 21 Halloween costumes to get those cauldrons bubbling. From Wednesday Addams to Shiv Roy and, of course, Barbie, here are the best costume ideas of 2023.
This year, you’ll probably be hearing “Hi, Barbie!” just as much as “Trick or Treat!” There are an endless number of Barbies to choose from, most of which just require a few additional accessories, but Stereotypical Barbie is a good go-to. Model this look after Margot Robbie’s character and go for a super feminine, flouncy dress with fun floral accessories — and, of course, high heels. Pretty much any pink combo is fair game.
According to recent Google search data, Wednesday Addams is on track to be the most popular Halloween costume this year. Halloween lovers already have wardrobes full of black clothing, so this one’s pretty easy as far as last-minute looks are concerned. Stand out in a sea of Wednesdays by channeling the character’s off-campus look with more casual jeans, sweaters, and boots instead of the Nevermore Academy uniform. Just remember to keep the color palette strictly black and white.
If standing out is the goal, Kate McKinnon’s Weird Barbie is the solution. A bright pink baby doll dress, messy hair, and some random face makeup are really all you need to make it obvious. Plus, this costume is a great excuse to wear Birkenstocks.
Mojo Dojo Ken
Why go as Barbie and Ken when you could go as just Ken? Harness your inner horse-lover and take your interpretation of Ryan Gosling's Ken to the max with Mojo Dojo Ken. A gigantic, faux fur coat is key, but a bandana, sunglasses, and leather vest will get the point across, too. (And yes, for the record, this would make a great couples costume too.)
Ariel from 'The Little Mermaid'
Dressing up as the Little Mermaid for Halloween is a tale as old as time — or at least 1989, when the original animated film debuted — but this year, we’re all about the live-action version starring Halle Bailey. If rocking a sequined tail (or skirt) and bra top isn’t realistic, go for Ariel’s best look on two legs with a light blue corset-style dress and thick-pick knit headband. Either way, shimmery mermaid makeup is a must.
It’s-a-me, Princess Peach! Fans of Super Mario will instantly recognize the princess of the mushroom kingdom. Again, a pink dress or gown is crucial to this Halloween costume, but it’s the jewelry — turquoise necklace and earrings and cute crown — that make the look legit.
Why go vaguely ‘70s-inspired when you could inhabit Daisy Jones for an evening? This might be the most stylish costume idea on the list, as trends from the era — like corduroy, fringe, and batwing sleeves — are on our 2023 mood boards. For an off-stage look, no-makeup makeup is the way to go. Or take onstage glam to the next level by layering on the eye shadow. Wavy undone hair and simple gold jewelry show attention to detail, while the microphone (and the band) is totally optional.
Taylor Swift’s Eras
Pick an era, any era. Dressing up as your favorite Taylor Swift Era is a guaranteed way to find yourself in good company this Halloween. Copy a look from the actual tour — like the sparkly snake one-piece, à la Reputation — or pay tribute to a specific iconic album. Just make sure everyone knows it’s Taylor’s Version.
Beyoncé Renaissance World Tour
If you had trouble deciding which head-to-toe silver outfit to wear to the Renaissance concert, you’re in luck: Halloween is a great excuse to debut a second look in honor of Queen Bey. Try to imitate the 32-time Grammy winner with over-the-top accessories, knee-high boots, and bodysuits with cutouts. Extra credit if you can get a friend to dress up as Blue Ivy and make a surprise appearance.
Chef Sydney from The Bear
Still saying “Yes, Chef!” every time you’re in the kitchen? Then Sydney Adamu should provide plenty of Halloween outfit inspo. Stick to the basics: a blue apron, white short-sleeve button-down, hair kerchief, and hand towels. Or, opt for season-two Sydney and DIY a Thom Browne chef’s jacket. Just don’t forget to say, “Thank you, Chef.”
Doja Cat as Choupette
A costume within a costume is for next-level Halloween fans. Make like Doja Cat at this year’s Met Gala and sport a silvery catsuit in homage to Karl Lagerfeld’s fluffy feline companion. Go the extra mile with cat-like facial prosthetics, or keep it tame with a fierce manicure and drawn-on makeup. Add a few of Doja Cat’s recognizable arm tattoos, and break out the bling to complete the look.
Queen Charlotte from 'Bridgerton'
You don’t need Lady Whistledown to tell you that Queen Charlotte makes for a most elegant Halloween costume. This is an opportunity to go big or go home with voluminous skirts, waist-cinching corsets, and glamorous jewels. While the young version of the Queen is indisputably chic, the elder version is equally — if not more — alluring. Either way, your costume will rule.
Amy Lau from 'Beef'
From the moment Ali Wong’s character, Amy Lau, popped up on screen this spring, we knew she had major Halloween potential. The quirky, cute entrepreneur’s signature style exudes major Eileen Fisher vibes, with loose, breathable basics and ‘90s-era hats and accessories. Carry a plant for added effect; just leave the road rage at home.
Janine Tiegs from 'Abbott Elementary'
Even if “back to school” isn’t on your calendar this year, fall is always a great time to pay tribute to your favorite teachers. Right now, we’re all about Miss Tiegs, the second-grade teacher at Abbott Elementary. Channel the effervescent educator by wearing a combination of loud prints and vibrant colors; think a green turtleneck with a floral midi skirt and tan boots, or a striped dress with a bedazzled belt. No matter what, don’t forget your ID card and lanyard — it’s an Abbott essential.
Keeley Jones from 'Ted Lasso'
When it comes to a Keeley Jones Halloween costume, it’s all about the hair. Start at the top, with a super-high pony, then add oversized hoop earrings and layers of necklaces or a choker. Channel sporty Keeley with a matching tracksuit, or go for corporate Keeley in a smart, brightly colored cropped jacket, min skirt, and boots. An over-the-top faux fur coat in a color not found in nature completes either look.
Nadia from 'What We Do in the Shadows'
There’s no better time to be a vampire than on Halloween. Pay tribute to Staten Island’s finest by dressing up as Nadja, the centuries-old bloodsucker of Greek and Romani heritage currently residing in New York’s southwest borough. Fangs are a given, but don’t forget: Nadja has a glam, if oddly antiquated, aesthetic. The bigger the sleeves and skirt, the better. Opt for a dress with a vaguely Victorian vibe, paint your lips blood-red, and, if at all possible, carry around a small, identically dressed doll. In head-to-toe black, obviously.
Midge Maisel from 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel'
If you prefer your Halloween costumes to be on the brighter side of the color spectrum, you’ll want to opt for an outfit befitting of the ‘60s comedienne, Mrs. Maisel. Vintage stores are your best bet for scoring a matching suit and jacket with the right retro proportions. A coordinated hat and handbag are a must. Or make it a showstopper with a little black dress, stockings, and a radiant red lip. Don’t forget: Tits up!
Shiv Roy from 'Succession'
Obsessed with the “quiet luxury” aesthetic? There’s a Halloween costume idea for that: Succession’s Siobhan Roy. The ruthless redhead favors the finer things, like silk or cashmere tops, wide-leg trousers, oversized sunglasses, and designer handbags. Just do everyone a favor and don’t carry a ludicrously capacious bag.
Joan Is Awful from 'Black Mirror'
No spoilers, but this Halloween costume idea is a fun group costume idea. One friend should wear a Kelly green pantsuit and jacket with a light-blue button-down. The other should opt for a yellow jumpsuit. The key here is the hair: brunette with white money pieces in the front. Try to DIY with some clip-in extensions, or look for a two-toned wig and style accordingly.
The Cast of 'Euphoria'
Here’s your chance to wear a going-out top and jeans (or a little black dress with shimmery makeup) and call it a costume. Really, you just need to stick a few rhinestones around your eyes, but if you want to go the extra mile, do your makeup with products from Half Magic, the vegan, cruelty-free makeup line from the show’s makeup artist extraordinaire, Donni Davy. It adds just enough authenticity to an otherwise low-lift look.
Dressing up as a doll for Halloween is relatively easy. Embodying M3gan, the artificially intelligent toy who becomes self-aware, is another story. Yes, you’ll need the requisite beige babydoll dress with buttons, and her signature striped bow, plus a striped shirt, opaque white stockings, and on-trend mary janes. But what it really comes down to is the eyes: make sure to sufficiently smudge your liner below your lashes, and that those brows are on point.
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