Fall has fallen and autumn has autumned, and now it’s October. Which means everyone can participate in the official countdown to Halloween — and, with it, the cruel ticking, ever-speeding clock on costume construction for the big night and all preceding parties. Are you an early planner whose 36-piece ensemble has been carefully collected from assorted five-and-dimes over the last 12 months? Or, like the rest of us, has the past year granted you a few rare strikes of wardrobe inspiration that would have turned out great, had you not waited until Oct. 30 to collect the very simple items you probably needed?
Whichever camp you fall in, one of the best parts of Halloween is the spectrum of costumes new to the zeitgeist that year. That’s not to say that they’re all good — in fact, reactionary costumes are among the more regret-laden of choices in retrospect — but they do speak to the sundry nature of the pop culture we endured this year. Scandals! Imperators! Minions! Some of these costumes will plague your Halloween parties and séances, and some may even be sitting atop your own wishlist. Use our guide to determine how to prepare this Halloween — or what to be prepared for.
Chris Pratt fending off raptors
It’s not enough to channel Bryce Dallas Howard’s heels or Jake Johnson’s T-shirt to demonstrate love for Jurassic World; the true costumer will capitalize on the meme when going Mesozoic.
What You’ll Need: Strong jawline, sexy vest halfway between Han Solo and barista, toy raptors glued to your arms (3), forced perspective where people only Instagram you from behind.
Mad Max and Imperator Furiosa
Summer’s badass pair of desert road warriors are going to leave their mark on your Halloween party. Because anything they touch will literally leave one.
What He’ll Need: Goalie shoulder pads, a large and malleable fork, geographically untraceable accent, dirt everywhere.
What She’ll Need: Black eyeshadow, one arm, dirt everywhere.
Dead Jon Snow
Be warned: When you leave the party, people will keep asking whether you’re coming back next year.
What You’ll Need: Sheared wool of wild black northern sheep, longblade forged from the finest Valyrian steel, leather kit crafted by artisinal maesters of Westeros, gentle eyes.
The cast of Inside Out with questionable make-up
The only approach to send up the Pixar film is with a straightforward, brightly colored homage, unless someone figures out a way to make Sadness sexy (which will absolutely happen).
What They’ll Need: Assorted face paints and wigs, optional pyrotechnics (for Anger), five friends who won’t judge each other.
PRO TIP: Whenever anyone sees you, they cry!
Taylor Swift (“Bad Blood”)
Especially helps if last year you went as “mad love.”
What You’ll Need: Lingerie, bazooka, 17 friends, an estimated $1 million.
Just make sure you bleep that beep-boop.
What You’ll Need: White and orange underwear, and maybe, like…roller skates?
One Direction minus Zayn
Employ a fifth, more ambitious friend to hold up a photo of Naughty Boy and start fights every few minutes by tweeting fellow party guests.
What You’ll Need (Harry): See Lorde.
What You’ll Need (Liam): See Beckham.
What You’ll Need (Niall): See Lucas (Super Smash Bros.).
What You’ll Need (The other one): See Fourth member of One Direction.
Aren’t you clever.
What You’ll Need: Suit, wig, face paint consisting of melted down Crayola Macaroni & Cheese crayons, outrageous views on women and equality.
But will you go as the small Minion, the slightly taller Minion, or the third, other Minion!? If you must, at least pick one with two eyes.
What You’ll Need: A long, hard think about what you’ve done.
FYI, a fur coat does not a Cookie Lyon make. Don’t insult Taraji by giving anything less than your full budget to this wardrobe.
What You’ll Need: Cheetah print coat, purple feather boa, gold jewelry, readily accessible list of Cookie’s best quotes.
Every bro scrambling for a last-minute costume will think he’s stumbled onto Halloween gold by grabbing an old Patriots shirt or crop top or whatever they call them (jer…sey?) and a flat ball.
What You’ll Need: Deflated football, girlfriend who looks like Gisele Bundchen.
Be on the wrong side of history AND Halloween!
What You’ll Need: Intolerance, and one of those smocks you wear in children’s art class or the underground prison from Kimmy Schmidt.
Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover
She’s an inevitable target this year, but what you choose to do with the crème one-piece is up to you; it’s what you say while wearing it that separates your being a tribute from just being a tool.
What You’ll Need: White one-piece bathing suit, the thighs to pull it off.
Ariana Grande and a donut
Throw back to the nation’s dumbest pastry-related scandal.
What You’ll Need: High pony, donut
Left Shark (yes, still)
It’ll be about eight months since relevance, yet Katy Perry’s back-up fish will be everywhere you look. Well, on the left of everywhere you look.
What You’ll Need: The exact Left Shark costume from the Super Bowl, otherwise you’re just wasting everyone’s time.
Batman vs. Superman
If you think your physique is sculpted enough to match that of human Ken doll Henry Cavill or human Skipper doll Ben Affleck, do yourself and all horny Halloween guests a favor and just make it happen already.
What You’ll Need: There is literally no costume on this list more easily attainable.
“Miley, what’s good?”
VMA truthers will be eager to shout the question at every party guest and tailor the query to specific costumes; sadly, it won’t be funny by the sixth time you say “Daenerys, what’s good?!”
What You’ll Need: Lingerie, anaconda.
Olivia Pope and/or The Pope
With the advent of Scandal returning and the Pontiff visiting the Chipotle capital of the world, expect at least one pun to offend both Shondaland and Vatican City.
What You’ll Need: White pantsuit (left over from your Judith Light costume last year), the Pope hat thing.
BONUS: Annoy everyone if you pair up with a Kim Davis costume.
Two dancing girls emoji
The world’s most cherished ballerinas since Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis are always a good staple for any last-minute costume party.
What You’ll Need: Black leotard (2), bunny ears (2), handcuffs (2 stick 2gether all night).
Shock the world by going as last year’s second-biggest spoiler.
What You’ll Need: An empty promise that you’ll be there.
“Dad bod” or “Man bun”
If you know anyone who doesn’t even need supplies for this, perhaps arrive separately.
What You’ll Need: Beer belly or long hair but please dear God not both.
Cersei and Shame Nun
The true test in this couples’ costume is deciding who will be shamed and who gets to do the shaming. The answer isn’t as obvious as you think.
What You’ll Need: Hair clippers, dirty potato sack (2), cowbell, probably more cowbell.
The Joker and Harley Quinn
Suicide Squad is still a ways off, but Margot Robbie’s hottie Harley and Jared Leto’s absolutely disgusting Joker are fair game early this season.
What She’ll Need: Crop-top, baseball bat, chalk dust in assorted colors.
Taylor Swift (All Purpose)
Taylor’s many looks outside of the “Bad Blood” video include old-timey bathing suit, silent film star, Shakespearean lady dressed as man dressed as lady, fancy award show gown, and early 2000’s Gap model – spring collection.
What You’ll Need: Giant sunglasses, red lipstick, James Dean daydream look in your eye, Starbucks lovers.
Don’t go as pizza rat.
What You’ll Need: Nothing, because you are not going as pizza rat.
You’ll see far more than 25 costumes, though, I promise you. Be on the lookout for these honorable mentions:
- Kimmy Schmidt and Tituss
- Grace and Frankie
- Meryl Streep enthusiastically leaping to her feet during Patricia Arquette’s Oscar plea for gender equality and Jennifer Lopez pretending to also care a few seconds later
- Don Draper meditating
- American Pharaoh
- A pun version of American Pharaoh that requires a lot of explanation and saying “Get it?” multiple times
- McDonald’s sexy new Hamburglar
- A group of lazy frat bros with average but not incredible but also not negligible bodies doing Magic Mike XXL
- Meryl Streep and Grant Gustin
- Age of Adaline through the ages