At any Halloween festivity this year, you’ll no doubt see the usual suspects that made big splashes in 2016: Elevens mingling with Barbs and Christmas-light walls, Reys hanging out with Poes and sexy BB-8s, and a disarming amount of Trumps and Clintons ripping shots with Harley Quinns and Hodors.
2017 has introduced its own new set of pop culture costumes, and some of them could be fantastic with the right budget and design team (hello, Mandy Moore in old-age make-up on This Is Us). Other ideas might pop into your head and initially present themselves as golden Instagram opportunities — but it’s important to take a second and really think about whether you’ve stumbled onto a genius concept, or if your creative instinct is something to be re-examined.
Should you really go as the Mooch to happy hour? Is it worth all the effort to procure a Pennywise the clown costume? Is there any situation whatsoever when a Handmaid outfit is appropriate? Especially in pop culture, the line between original and over-done is bolder than ever, so here’s a handy guide of what to expect this Halloween, for better or worse.
You know what’s not funny? The Handmaid’s Tale. You know what will never be funny? The Handmaid’s Tale. You know what a literal million people are still going to dress up as for Halloween this year? The Handmaid’s Tale. To its credit, this freakishly topical costume is one of the easiest you could scrape together in a pinch: A sheet of red fabric, a pair of flats, one of those cute visors…. But tastefulness be damned, the real dealbreaker in whether or not you should attempt to be Ofhalloween strictly alligns with biology: If you identify as male, maybe consider not attending a party as the oppressed side of a totalitarian regime.
A different take: Ann Dowd! Find your best earth tones and practice saying “Hoo-loo.”
Sean Spicer and Friends
Oh hey, speaking of totalitarian regimes, you’d be hard-pressed to go to any Halloween function this year without seeing at least one partygoer riff on the current cast of characters from this season of American Politics. The 2016-2017 administrative cycle already has a few instant costumes: You’ll see Jareds and Ivankas, Sean Spicers behind podiums and hedges, Kellyanne Conways, and plenty of versions of Scandal-meets-Goodfellas goon Anthony Scaramucci, who you’ll likely see represented most frequently in the college demo by frat bros who think it’s endlessly funny to wear their ugliest suit and yell “Mooooooch” all night in between chugs of PBR.
A different take: Steve Bannon, if you can get past the bouncer.
An actually good costume! Wave through the window of a party you weren’t invited to by buying a fake arm cast and dressing as Broadway’s most anxiety-riddled millennial since Elphaba’s understudy.
A different take: Dear Evan… Rachel Wood?
Big Little Lies
The cool couple costume: Audrey Hepburn and Elvis Presley. The cool squad costume: Celeste, Madeline, and whatever character Shailene Woodley played (legend has it, she was in Big Little Lies, too). But the belle of any pumpkin ball is this year’s underdog icon: Laura Dern’s Renata Klein. In fact, be it Renata’s My Fair Lady glamour or her legendary “I said thank youuuu!” aesthetic, or even her upcoming Star Wars chic, you can’t go wrong with Dern. Unless you go as Bruce.
A different take: Big Little Lies’ fifth- and sixth-best characters, Young Sheldon and the city of Monterey
The Night King
Game of Thrones saved us all from certain existential dread for seven short weeks this summer, so be sure to applaud anyone you see taking one for the team and keeping the fantasy going on Halloween. But, as always, you’ll get your Daeneryses and Cerseis and wasn’t-that-two-seasons-ago-already Shame Nuns. This year, expect a new slate of Thrones looks: Blue-eyed dragons, steamy Jon Snow/Daenerys couples, and bold attempts at the granddaddy of villains — the stoic, sexy, opposite-of-smoldering king of the undead. Yas, king.
A different take: If you have the leather pants to pull it off, you can go as Euron Greyjoy and Roger from Rent.
Here’s something to get unironically excited about: Wonder Woman! Yes, the runaway psalm of summer is still reverberating in the fall, and Halloween presents a long-awaited opportunity for the non-Comic-Con crowd to honor their new heroine. If last year’s abundance of wee Reys was slightly tearjerking, this year’s Wonder Women, little and big, are bound to inspire even more beauty, so much so that you might catch yourself shedding a single tear for the hope of humanity into the leftover sugar of your Sour Patch Kids.
A different take: If Diana Prince isn’t your jam, you can always look to her underused sidekick Etta Candy for design inspiration; or, if you’re a Wonder Woman fan but your chromosomes are feeling more of a Steve Trevor vibe, consider replicating the Themysciran hot bath scene for maximum eye-emoji.
A different take: No, do the Porgs!!
Not satisfied with the shocking over-representation of Babadooks at Pride, your arts-and-craftiest LGBT friends are going to continue insisting that what started as an Internet joke is now a real part of gay pop culture history. Is it? No, no it’s not. (Besides, the greatest Babadook-related social media photo of all time has already been taken, so why waste the effort?)
A different take: Allison Williams’ Waldo sweater in Get Out.
At its core, Halloween remains an excuse for many girls to wear their tightest mini-dresses with only the laziest bit of additional pun effort. This year’s easy target: The three expecting Kardashians, represented via trios of otherwise-normally-dressed women who stuff a Casper pillow under their halters and call themselves Jenners.
A different take: Kris Jenner. I say with total sincerity that as far as comedy goes, you can never, ever, ever go wrong with a Kris Jenner costume.
All the versions of Taylor Swifts
No one made her release her long-restricted catalogue on Spotify the night rival Katy Perry dropped an album, or stay silent during the most ideologically important election of our time, or skip the 2016 VMAs after Kim exposed her on Snapchat, but look what you DID make her do: Dress up in a fun music video! All the different Taylor Swift aesthetics over the years are relevant once more, rife for costuming for a solo act or a group number, reputation (good or bad) not included.
A different take: One of her cats.
Fine. I don’t care anymore. Obviously nobody is going to listen to me on the subject of clowns, so whatever. Be a balloon. Be the yellow raincoat amputee kid. Be It. I can’t stop you. Good luck hooking up with literally anyone.
A different take: Anything else.
Beyonce’s twins, the cast of Riverdale, Milo Ventimiglia’s death scene on This Is Us, one of the peaks in Twin Peaks, Baby Driver, the women of GLOW, Hillary Clinton’s What Happened? book cover, Girls Trip, the “New Rules” video, one of the soldiers in Dunkirk, Rita Ora.