Summer is officially over, which means it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to wear this Halloween. Are you hoping to dress up but worrying that you might be too old for costumes?
Don’t panic: this year 47% of consumers plan to wear a Halloween costume, so you’ll be in good company! Halloween lovers are already scouring the internet, particularly Pinterest and Facebook, for the year’s best Halloween costume ideas for adults.
Knowing you’ll have so many other costumed adults to compete with, you might feel like thinking up a creative outfit that will get you noticed and that people will remember for years to come is too big of a challenge. (Hint: if you want to stand out, stay away from the witch costume, which consistently ranks among the most common adult costumes year after year.)
But before you give up and settle for a generic pre-made costume kit from a novelty store, take a look at these great suggestions that are a little more imaginative and memorable. Whether you’re a guy, a girl, or looking for outfits to wear as a couple, one of these trendy Halloween costume ideas might just work for you.
Costumes for Him
Last December’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens is currently the highest-grossing domestic film of all time. Sci-fi guys and fans of the Star Wars franchise might enjoy dressing up in homage to Kylo Ren, the movie’s mysterious villain and a new Darth Vader for future generations. Ren wears a Vader-like black mask for most of the movie, so if the force is strong with your DIY skills, this is the perfect costume pick for you (but skip it or buy one pre-made if you’re not a fan of crafts).
For a Kylo Ren costume, you’ll need:
- A mask (here’s a good tutorial if you’re making your own).
- A black cape with a hood.
- A black robe.
- A black turtleneck and black pants.
- A black leather belt and black boots.
- A red-bladed lightsaber (you can go simple or fancy).
If you’d rather do something a little less conventional and a little more silly, consider a gender-bending twist on the fairytale princess costumes popular with women, like “Cinderfella.” To make the look recognizable, you’ll need to create as much of a visual match with the iconic character as possible, so swap out the fluffy ballgown for an old tux in the same shade of light blue, and cover your shoes in glitter to create “glass slippers” (if you’ll be hanging out indoors all night you can try wearing just one shoe as an extra wink to the original story).
Are you brave enough for this head-turning, laugh-inspiring look? You’ll need:
- A blue ’80s tux with a ruffled shirt (start scouring thrift shops now).
- A pair of cheap canvas sneakers.
- Glue and silver glitter or glittery fabric paint.
King Llane Wrynn
King Llane is the noble leader of Stormwind, one of the seven kingdoms featured in the summer blockbuster Warcraft and the online game it was based on. Llane wears a complicated suit of armor, so unless you’re a serious cosplayer this might be one you want to buy pre-made. Don’t forget the crown and sword!
Grown-Up Harry Potter
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the play about the former boy wizard’s adult life, has been selling out in London’s West End since it opened this past July. Many of today’s adults grew up with Harry Potter as part of their childhood, so it might feel special to dress up as adult Harry if as a kid you dressed up as his younger self. According to the play, grown-up Harry is an overworked civil servant, so you won’t need robes or a colorful scarf, just a sensible suit, something you probably already have in your closet.
Give your muggle suit a magical Harry touch with these accessories:
Costumes for Her
Despite all the controversy, the 2016 all-women reboot of the classic comedy film Ghostbusters turned out to be an awesome, fun, and spooky celebration of girl power. This ghost-themed look is especially Halloween-appropriate, not to mention comfortable!
To copy the ghostbustin’ girls’ onscreen uniform, you’ll need:
- A khaki jumpsuit, plus orange and white electrical tape or fabric paint for the stripe details.
- A belt, black gloves, and black boots.
- A black backpack.
- A Ghostbusters logo patch.
- Optional: you can paint a Nerf or Super Soaker black to get the look of a proton gun.
When Beyoncé dropped her visual album on HBO back in April it instantly became a viral hit. In the album’s most iconic scene, Queen Bey storms down a city street in black platforms and a yellow Roberto Cavalli dress, smashing cars with a baseball bat. This is a costume that’s simple, instantly recognizable, and something you might actually wear again.
To recreate Beyoncé’s Lemonade look, you’ll need:
Everybody knows moms are the world’s unsung heroes. This funny, creative costume is a nice reminder of all the superhuman feats moms accomplish on a daily basis. You can swap out the classic superhero utility belt for a belt full of mighty mom tools like wet wipes, diapers, and tissues instead of tasers and grenades.
For a Supermom costume, you’ll need:
- A blue long-sleeved leotard.
- A red skater skirt.
- A red cape.
- Your supermom utility belt.
- A red “M” emblem for your chest (“m” for mom, of course).
Female Death Eater
Although most of the well-known Death Eaters in the Harry Potter universe are men, like Lucius Malfoy and Fenrir Greyback, it’s important to remember that Death Eater costumes aren’t just for boys. To channel the look of Voldemort-loving ladies Bellatrix Lestrange and Alecto Crow, you’ll need to wear a lot of black. The signature Death Eater accessory is a seriously cool mask, so if you enjoy working with papier-mâché, this costume is a great opportunity for some mask-making DIY.
Here are all the components of a great Death Eater costume:
- A gothy, long-sleeved black maxi dress like this one.
- A black hooded cape.
- A black leather corset.
- A wand.
- A Death Eater mask or choose this.
- A Dark Mark temporary tattoo.
Costumes for Him or Her
Pokémon Go Trainer
Guys and girls alike were swept up in the Pokémon Go craze when the game went live back in July. If you played, chances are you designed your Pokémon trainer avatar to look just like you and spent some time customizing his or her outfit until it was exactly right. Why not put all that design work to use by bringing your trainer’s look to life in the non-virtual world?
What you’ll need will depend on the items you chose to put on your trainer, but guys will probably want to shop for black track pants and colorblocked pouch-pocket hoodies while girls should look for black leggings, colorful running shorts, and cropped bomber jackets. Either way, be sure to get a backpack, a visor or baseball cap, and a pair of running shoes.
Everybody loves the goofy gingerbread man from the Shrek film franchise. Technically Gingy is a guy, but he’s got a high-pitched voice and a head made out of gingerbread, so he’d be a cute costume choice for a girl as well. You can buy a head-to-toe sports mascot-style Gingy costume online, or adapt this tutorial for a more comfortable, handmade look.
Snapchat Filter, Emoji, or Hashtag
If you’d like an idea for something quick, easy, and super-current, look to social media for inspiration. A hashtag costume can be thrown together in just a few minutes with basic craft supplies like poster board and string. Facial expression emojis like “winking face” and “heart eyes” are easily made into masks.
One particularly fun app-inspired idea is to dress up as one of Snapchat’s famous selfie lenses, those cool animated filters that helped create your friend’s rainbow-puking selfie. You have two options here. If you like to try cool makeup effects, the internet is full of makeup tutorials that teach you how to recreate the alien or butterfly crown looks. If you’d prefer to just stick to a mask, you can make photobooth prop-style animal noses on sticks and ears on headbands to recreate filters like the puppy or the deer.
These spooky zombie-like creatures from the hit fantasy show Game of Thrones are a great challenge for people who love to use Halloween to show off their advanced makeup skills. White Walker makeup tutorials are certainly daunting, although contouring pros will find many of the techniques familiar. Don’t worry, though: you won’t need as much time for your look as the actors playing White Walkers on the show, who spend six hours getting their makeup done before every shoot!
Once your makeup is finished, you’ll need to add:
- A white or grey wig, or temporary hair paint.
- Blue contacts.
- White body paint.
- Worn-looking warrior attire, like ripped pants, leather skirts, and fur vests, in earth tones.
Costumes for Couples
Nemo and Dory
Sometimes it can be a blast to ditch the grown-up costume and wear something that speaks to your inner kid. Thanks to the popularity of Pixar’s summer hit Finding Dory, you’re likely to see lotsof little Nemos and Dorys among this year’s trick-or-treaters. But there’s no reason adults can’t join in on the fun.
Nemo and Dory make a great his-and-hers costume set for playful couples. There are lots of different ways to interpret these characters, so you can go classic, comfy, or whimsical depending on your relationship style.
Trump and Hillary
In 2015, over a quarter of a million adults were expected to wear a Halloween costume inspired by politics. Falling a week after Halloween, this year’s election day will wrap up an eighteen-month showdown between two iconic public figures. Since the presidency will be on everybody’s mind, you can count on seeing lots of Trump and Hillary costumes come October.
Trump and Hillary together may seem like a strange choice for a couples costume, since the two clearly don’t like each other very much, but on the other hand, if you and your date get into an argument during the evening’s festivities, you can just brush it off as pretending to be in character.
- A Trump mask.
- Alternatively, a very fake-looking wig.
- A “Make America Great Again” hat.
- An expensive suit.
- A red power tie.
Bowie and Prince
2016 will forever be remembered as the year the world lost arguably its two most iconic music artists. Bowie and Prince were a lot alike: both were shy misfits who used makeup, costume, and experimental sounds to bend ideas of gender and transcend musical conventions. Considering they played each other’s music, worked together, and even used the same tailor, there’s no doubt that these two are hanging out together wherever it is rock gods go when they die.
A Bowie and Prince costume pairing is a wonderful way to pay tribute to these great artists, and it’s a great costume for couples in any configuration of guy and girl, since either can pull off the musicians’ most iconic looks.
- A Ziggy Stardust wig.
- Metallic leggings.
- A metallic moto jacket.
- Face paint crayons to recreate the lightning bolt makeup look.
Harley Quinn and The Joker
The deranged supervillain and his wacky psychiatrist sidekick-slash-lover have evolved through many different looks throughout their long history as popular bad guys of the Batman universe. To keep your costume current for 2016, you’ll want to reference the characters as they appeared in the recent DC movie Suicide Squad.
Although the characters’ origins are in the comic book world, the Harley and Joker of Suicide Squad are anything but cartoonish, wearing modern street-savvy outfits with an edgy, urban gangster touch. These two crazy kids may be messed up, but they love each other, so they’re a good costume choice for couples who want to push the envelope.
- A platinum wig with pink and blue highlights.
- A red and white raglan tee (you can buy a replica of the exact tee Harley wears in the movie).
- Red or blue sequineddance shorts.
- Black fishnet tights.
- Heeled sneaker boots.
- A studded belt.
- Lots of makeup.
- Temporary tattoos.
- A baseball bat (again!).
- A purple trench coat (again!).
- Black pants.
- Green temporary hair paint.
- Lots of makeup.
- Temporary tattoos.
- Lots of bling.
- A fake grill.
With so many choices available, what’s the fun in pulling out the same vampire or pirate costume you’ve worn for the last five years? There’s something on this list for everyone, whether you want a look you can invest a lot of time in or something you can throw together in five minutes, whether you love makeup or would rather wear a mask, and whether you’re flying solo or planning to party with your other half. No matter what you have in mind, one of this year’s top trending adult costume ideas can work for you.