Spooky Season may have come and gone, but for those of you who are never happier than when you’re trawling Amazon for "Cruella wig" or "Roy Kent jersey," we have great news: there’s no time like the present to start planning for next year’s Halloween costume. We’ve collected some great ideas from the world of pop culture below; hit those post-October sales and get prepped for 2022.
Over the last few years "Stranger Things," the Joker (take your pick from Heath Ledger, Jared Leto and Joaquin Phoenix), Bill Skarsgård’s portrayal of Pennywise from "It," and "Game of Thrones" all dominated the pop culture costume field. 2021 has thrown some new titles vying for this year’s most ubiquitous crown into the mix, but this doesn’t mean you can’t reflect a memorable look from another decade courtesy of the monstrously large Tubi library. During the first Halloween episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) refers to the chance to indulge in a different style persona as "come as you aren’t night" and you might find some surprises in your own closet to keep it sustainable.
Below are 10 suggestions across a variety of genres from current and past favorites for next year’s festivities, and many Halloweens to come.
‘Squid Game’ and beyond: contemporary inspiration
Squid Game (Photo: Netflix)
If you were out and about this Halloweekend, odds are you saw more than a few costumes inspired by Netflix’s mega-hit. The color scheme, easy to recognize and duplicate, is ideal for either a group or individual scenario. Bonus: it’s also high on the comfort scale. A teal tracksuit, a raglan tee, and slip-on white Vans are a must for those doubling as a player, or a red jumpsuit and face mask (pick a symbol) will put you on the guard side of this dystopian nightmare. And if you pair that red jumpsuit with a Salvador Dalí mask, suddenly you’re in "Money Heist," making this a two-for-one costume that gets you plenty of bang for your buck. For those feeling more ambitious, either an ornate gold animal or a geometric mask will put you in the upper echelon of this power structure.
BRIDGERTON (L to R) PHOEBE DYNEVOR as DAPHNE BRIDGERTON and REGÉ-JEAN PAGE as SIMON BASSET in episode 101 of BRIDGERTON Cr. LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX © 2020
The year kicked off with Regencycore taking the fashion world by storm thanks to the historical fantasy romance hit "Bridgerton." Costume designer Ellen Mirojnick dialed up the fantasy with bold pastels, floral patterns, and ornate hair jewelry that has made audiences swoon and could make you the belle of the monster ball. Whether you are more Daphne Bridgerton or Lady Whistledown holding her powerful quill, a dreamy empire-waist gown might help you snag an elusive Duke — or at least someone who dressed for the part. Plus, season two is on the horizon, and it’s always good to be prepared for the next dose of Regency romance.
MIDNIGHT MASS (L to R) MICHAEL TRUCCO as WADE SCARBOROUGH, SAMANTHA SLOYAN as BEV KEANE, ANNARAH CYMONE as LEEZA SCARBOROUGH, RAHUL ABBURI as ALI HASSAN, CRYSTAL BALINT as DOLLY SCARBOROUGH, HAMISH LINKLATER as FATHER PAUL, ALEX ESSOE as MILDRED GUNN
Mike Flanagan can be counted on to deliver Halloween-ready ideas (see also, "The Haunting of Hill House," "The Haunting of Bly Manor" and "Doctor Sleep") and "Midnight Mass" adds a subtle twist to traditional archetypes from the small-town sheriff to the local priest. Starting the night with old-age makeup will add to the transformation effect, and make sure to have some fake blood to hand. And, if you want to choose the truly scary option then wings and a trench coat are required.
Elizabeth Olsen in "WandaVision." Photo: Disney+
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is overrun with Halloween possibilities, and while Miss Minutes from "Loki" or Yelena’s vest of many pockets in "Black Widow" are solid choices, no superhero project can beat designer Mayes C. Rubeo’s work on "WandaVision" for options. Not only is there an entire episode set on Halloween (complete with an homage to the original Wanda Marvel comics signature look), but there are multiple other decades to choose from. Acting as a love letter to TV sitcoms also ensures your Wanda costume will double as a nod to comedy icons like Lucille Ball and Elizabeth Montgomery. Alternatively, you can tap into your inner witchy villain and remind your friends it was Agatha all along.
Jason Sudeikis in "Ted Lasso." Photo: Apple TV+.
Apologies to the non-fictional sports teams of the world, but AFC Richmond was the team to emulate in 2021 and we don’t see that trend changing anytime soon. Sure, you could just throw a replica jersey on, but you’ve got time to plan and costume designer Jacky Levy has proved there are many ways to individualize athletic apparel. Start searching for Jamie Tartt’s crossbody bag and ICON baseball cap or Ted’s visor, v-neck and whistle. Alternatively, Roy Kent’s penchant for black (or charcoal grey) and Keeley’s power-dressing "Vanity Fair" attire could be a great couple’s pick. For a truly off-duty approach, consider Coach Beard’s striped party pants (actor Brendan Hunt also wore the glam rock trousers to a post-Emmys party), which are sure to be a hit on the Halloween bash dance floor.
Keeping it classic, from ‘Fight Club’ to Flushing
Brad Pitt and Edward Norton in "Fight Club"
It has been nearly 25 years since "Fight Club" first hit screens and the costumes brought to life by Michael Kaplan are still instantly recognizable. This is a thrift store treasure hunt in the making, whether you’re in search of Brad Pitt’s red leather jacket paired with a graphic print tee, or the ‘70s style wide collar patterned shirts that Tyler Durden favors. It is a singular aesthetic to draw inspiration from, but when in doubt, just throw some oversized red sunglasses on. Alternatively, a grungy pink bridesmaids dress or a disheveled white shirt will tap into Helena Bonham Carter and Ed Norton’s timeless attire next Halloween.
There are certain horror figures that instantly elicit scares; from mask-wearers like Michael Myers and Leatherface to the denim-clad BOB lurking in the corner of Laura Palmer’s "Twin Peaks" bedroom. One of the more flamboyant figures is the leather draped Pinhead from Clive Barker’s "Hellraiser" series. This intricate face design is for the crafty types looking to flex their metalwork with a deliciously dark sartorial statement. Currently streaming for free on Tubi.
"The Stepford Wives"
The term "Stepford Wife" has become shorthand for a perfectly attired (and brainwashed) woman living in suburbia with her perfect family. Two adaptations of Ira Levin’s novel of the same name (his book "Rosemary’s Baby" is another go-to stylish classic) offer up a rather simple yet effective Halloween solution that lets you tap into this terrifying vision with the uniform of the housewife past. The 1975 version dials up the glamorous large brim summer hat, delicate gloves and frill aesthetic that look more garden party than grocery shopping. Meanwhile, for the 2004 remake, legendary costume designer Ann Roth clad the likes of Glenn Close in mid-century floral frocks and headbands to nail the old-fashioned revival the women in this town have undergone. A glazed expression paired with an ultra-feminine outfit will nail this psychological horror staple. Currently streaming for free on Tubi.
Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman"
As Vivian Ward in "Pretty Woman," Julia Roberts wears a number of era-defining costumes dreamed up by Marilyn Vance, including the glamorous off-the-shoulder red ball gown (with white opera gloves), a fancy lady-about-town suit, and a brown polka dot dress (with a matching bow on her hat). But it is the cut-out white and blue Hunza G dress worn with thigh-high boots and a blonde bob wig that is seared into our brains. For those wanting to splash the cash next All Hallow’s Eve, Hunza G has brought out a re-edition of this original garment — though more affordable interpretations are also available.
Fran Drescher in "The Nanny"
Thanks to streaming, a new generation is getting to experience Fran Drescher’s highly covetable closet in her role as titular nanny Fran Fine in the ‘90s sitcom. Decking yourself out in head-to-toe bold color (think matching orange leather pants and jacket) and animal print might seem daunting on a regular day, but Halloween is made for indulging those fashion dreams and calling it a costume. This is another thrifting opportunity rather than buying new, which can then be incorporated into your everyday attire. Yes, you can carry on wearing a rainbow vest long after October 31 — just ask Fran.
About the writer: Emma Fraser is a freelance culture writer with a focus on TV, movies, and costume design. You can find her talking about all of these things on Twitter.
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