All Hallows Eve will soon be upon us, and like every year, pop culture offers a myriad of costume choices. We expect to see a lot of Black Panther, Thanos and the recently resurrected Michael Myers.
But we surveyed the year (so far) in pop culture to come up with a few unexpected options. Because we can all do better than Kanye West in a “Make America Great Again” hat.
It should really go without saying but none — we repeat, none — of these costumes necessitate darkening your skin or pretending to be another race or ethnicity. Just. Don’t. Do. It.
Ally in “A Star Is Born”
If you want to dress as Lady Gaga’s character from Bradley Cooper’s well-reviewed remake, you have choices. One is to copy Gaga’s look during the drag bar scene, when Ally wows Jackson with a stunning rendition of La Vie En Rose. The clothing is minimal here — you’ll need a simple black slip, sheer black stockings and a pair of understated black pumps. Pull your hair into a sleek, high bun (bonus points if you can manage a few curly tendrils). The other key to nailing this look is the make-up. You’ll need to cover up your eyebrows and draw them on pencil-thin with black eyeliner. Swipe on some shimmery eye shadow, a vibrant red lip and voila! Carry a rose with you, or incorporate it into your hairstyle.
Another option is to dress as Ally the first time she sings on stage with Jackson. This requires even less effort: wear a mostly white t-shirt, tied in a knot at your waist, and a pair of black pinstripe pants adorned with a body chain if you have one. Throw on a lanyard (for your backstage pass) and a few quirky rings on your fingers as you cover your eyes and belt out:
We expect to see a lot of people dressed this Halloween as Teddy Perkins, the eccentric and enigmatic character at the centre of an extraordinary season two episode of Donald Glover’s Atlanta.
You’ll need white body paint, since Teddy — reportedly played to method perfection by Glover — has a chalky white complexion he attributes to a mysterious skin condition. (Critics also gleaned clear references to Michael Jackson in Teddy’s pale skin, sculpted featured and high-pitched voice.)
Some contouring skills would come in handy to help achieve Teddy’s chiselled nose, chin and cheekbones. You’ll also probably need a wig to replicate Teddy’s fluffy black coif. You can get a good look at him in Vanity Fair’s Notes on a Scene with Atlanta director Hiro Murai.
Beyond that, you will need a burgundy robe (preferably velvet), an ornate scarf and a crisp, white collared shirt to go underneath the robe. If you’re extra crafty, you can accessorise with one of those oozing, soft-boiled Ostrich eggs Teddy likes to eat for breakfast. And if you’re going all in, you can carry a voice recorder with you to leave voice notes for the butler you don’t have.
Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson
The summer’s most-watched couple is officially kaput. But Grandson, as these two young stars were collectively known, endures in our hearts, minds and ... Halloween costumes.
For Ariana, you’ll need to sport a high ponytail (with extensions if you want to be really authentic), knee-high boots and an oversized jacket. If you’re going for post-breakup Ariana, you might as well grab a few band-aids to cover up those regrettable tattoos.
Davidson, meanwhile, favours expensive streetwear, so think crisp graphic t-shirts and oversized hoodies, paired with joggers and fresh sneakers.
You could also incorporate hats and recreate one of the erstwhile couple’s more unfortunate looks, which Davidson poked fun of on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update.
Betty, Veronica, Cheryl et. al
You’ll find a plethora of costume options on Riverdale, which blends the Archie comics with the allure of teen TV. Go for preppy sweetness — topped with a ponytail — if you’re a Betty, throw on some pearls, heels and a swipe of crimson lipstick if you’re a Veronica. Archie and the gang would make a great group costume, and the fandom around this show is such that you can actually buy a replica of Jughead Jones’s signature beanie. You can also go the Josie and the Pussycats route.
But you’ll probably have the most fun as Cheryl Blossom, whose queen-bee status goes into hyperdrive on the CW series. Above all else, you’ll need fiery red hair and a deliciously bad attitude. The rest is really up to you because Cheryl does what she wants.
The Crain Family
The siblings from Netflix’s creepy thriller The Haunting of Hill House, inspired by Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel, would make a great group or family costume. The possibilities are endless here since we follow the Crains and their demons from childhood to adulthood. You can even add a ghost or two to your clan. Just make sure the Crain sisters all have long glossy brown hair. That’s important.
Miriam “Midge” Maisel
If period costumes are your thing, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Amazon Prime’s award show darling, provides a host of costume options. The most obvious one is Mrs Maisel herself. To channel the budding stand-up comedian, played delightfully by Rachel Brosnahan, you’ll need a dress worthy of an 1950s Upper West Side housewife, er, divorcee, a vintage microphone and lots of chutzpah.
Cardi B and Bruno Mars
This look is inspired by the music video for Bruno Mars’s Finesse remix, which features rapper Cardi B. You can achieve it with some classic 90s gear (Mars paid homage to In Living Color, in his video), so be ready to wear a lot of bright colours.
For Cardi, start with a backwards baseball cap — she wears neon green in the video, but any bright colour will do. Throw on a graphic t-shirt (crop top optional), some distressed denim and a cute bomber jacket. Be sure to accessorise with large hoop earrings (the bigger the better) and some chunky gold rings and bracelets.
Mars also gets in on the gold accessories with several braided chains and a flashy watch. Pair a striped hooded t-shirt with a long-sleeved shirt and baggy jeans, and you’re ready to go.
This would be a great couples costume. It’s also an out-option for parents of small children, adding (adorable) new meaning to the line: “Drippin’ in finesse with my baby.”
A Las Encinas student from Netflix’s “Elite”
Have a pristine prep school costume and some fake blood? You can be one of the secretive students from this buzzworthy Netflix show, where boiling tensions at an elite private school lead to murder. The show is set in Spain, so make sure you pronounce it “Grathias” when you say thank you for your candy.