My name is Shay and I'm a millennial. I've hand-picked 19 Christmas gifts that are sure to please the gals of my generation.
Welcome, Ladies! Get Your Best Halloween Costume Ideas Here!
This is your one-stop-shop for costume ideas. I have a whopping 101 ideas for you below with pictures and links and other goodies to help you make an epic costume come to life. A lot of costumes are pop culture in theme, but I also have some that are more DIY or classic, and a ton are either costumes I'd like to do (or have already done) myself, or are costumes that I've seen other people do.
These costumes are organized into 13 categories (ooo spooky):
- Character Costumes from the 80s and 90s
- Halloween Costumes in Movies and TV
- Female Celebrity Costumes
- Classic Character Costumes
- Horror Costumes
- Last Minute Women's Costumes
- SUUUPER Last Minute Costumes
- Classic Women's Costumes with a Twist
- Fun With Makeup
- Commercial Costumes
- Group Costumes for Women
- Costumes for Two Women
- Why Not Dude
Character Costumes from the 80s and 90s
Go old school for something unique.
1. Gozer From Ghostbusters
Gozer the Gozerian from the first Ghostbusters movie is a magical being from another realm with big red eyes, a jumpsuit that looks like it’s made out of bubbles, and a wicked flat top. Oh, and she shoots lightening out of her hands.
If you’re doing Gozer, I anticipate a hearty Michael’s visit in your future. I’d start with an off white unitard, then get some cellophane, iridescent fabric, lace, and maybe some Christmas tree ornaments. It’s a craft project run amok, and one I hope to undertake one day.
2. Kelly Kapowski From Saved By the Bell
Pair Kelly’s signature sweatshirt with some high waisted jean shorts (you can find ‘em everywhere these days) and some sparkling white sneakers, then style an epic cascade of mall bangs.
3. LeeLoo From The Fifth Element
There's "Thermal Band" LeeLoo and the gold pants + white crop top + orange plastic suspenders LeeLoo. You could also make a multi-pass.
4. Wendy Peffercorn From The Sandlot
(Just don’t let any snot nosed little nerd kids try to trick you into giving them mouth to mouth.)
5. Vivian From Pretty Woman
6. The Blind Melon Bumble Bee Girl
Remember that tap dancing bee from the Blind Melon song “No Rain”? She would like you to use her costume to spread tap dancing bee joy to the masses. Refresh your memory with the video above.
Halloween Costumes in Movies and TV Shows
. . . . aka Hollywood Goes Halloween
7. Cher as a Mermaid From Mermaids
It’s one of my dreams to dress up as Mermaid Cher from the movie “Mermaids.” Feel free to steal my idea. I’m stocking up on my seashells and baubles right now.
8. Mean Girls Halloween
The Plastics dress as sexy animals (a playboy bunny, a black cat, and a mouse DUH), which is a cinch to do considering how much our Halloween industry caters towards “sexy” lady costumes.
If you don’t want to go that route, you can always dress up in Cady’s costume – an “Ex Wife.”
9. Daniel-son as a Shower From Karate Kid
10. A DNA Double Helix From Never Been Kissed
Don't touch the Hydrogen, it's rented.
You know the prom scene in Never Been Kissed where all the “nerds” come in dressed as DNA? I think this would make a most excellent group costume for Halloween. All you need are hooded white jumpsuits, googles, and some rope and you won’t lose any of your friends in a crowd.
11. Anything From Roseanne
No one does Halloween better than Roseanne. My personal favorite is the headless Marie Antoinette (it’s a costume for two!), but there’s also a Prince Costume, The Three Stooges (all on one body), The Birds, a Ventriloquist’s Dummy . . .
12. The "Slutty Pumpkin" From How I Met Your Mother
The “Slutty Pumpkin” in this episode of “How I Met Your Mother” is played by Katie Holmes. She wears an amorphous pumpkin costume (it’s really a sack) but the eyes and nose are cut out revealing “strategic” parts. It’s not at all scandalous and actually quite funny.
Female Celebrity Costumes
Cher is a woman of many talents whose beauty transcends decades. Choose from 60s “Sonny & Cher” flower child Cher, 80s “If I Could Turn Back Time” monokini bodysuit with two rose tattoos on-the-butt Cher, 90s “(If You) Believe (In Life After Love)” Big Comeback Cher complete with headpiece made out of straws… Personally, I’d love to see “Moonstruck” Cher, before OR after the makeover.
14. Lady Gaga
She’s like Madonna and Cher rolled into one. A Lady Gaga costume is easy because she wears sunglasses frequently and sunglasses make it so much easier to make a costume uncanny accurate.
With Gaga, you also have a range of fabulous costumes to choose from: the meat suit, bubble dress, that albino lobster mask, as her male alter ego “Jo Calderone,” that kermit The Frog situation… if you’re totally overwhelmed, go for this: long blond hair, big chunky glasses, a skin tight leotard, sky-high platform heels, a helping of waist belts and jewelry, and a ton of lipstick.
15. Stevie Nicks
Stevie Nicks is long wavy blonde hair with bangs, sheer fabrics, witchy dresses, fingerless gloves, and flowing wraps. She’s fairly covered up, except for some tasteful exposed décolletage. Throw in some layered necklaces, a glam menswear black hat, and a tambourine and you’re set.
16. Tilda Swinton
Tilda Swinton is an actress best known for her roles in “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” “The Beach”, “Dr. Strange” and the Narnia movies. While she is fabulously talented, what makes her a good choice for a Halloween costume is her otherworldly presence.
She’s statuesque, has an ambiguous hair style, is often seen wearing pantsuits, and is thought to be the female equivalent of David Bowie. If you want to do a Tilda Swinton Costume for Halloween, I recommend finding a white one-piece jumpsuit, a short platinum blonde wig, and adopting the language of this Twitter account.
17. Tina Turner
I want to be Tina Turner for Halloween so badly that I bought the wig for it sight unseen 5 years ago. I still haven’t done the costume and I’m going to keep that wig until I make it happen.
My go-to version of Tina involves a short dress, silky black nylons, and a huge frosted shaggy wig, but Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome Tina Turner would be seriously epic if you are up to the challenge.
There are as many Madonna Costume options as there are delicious fruit candies in a bag of skittles. That said, I think the most recognizable options is her classic 80s look (my favorite), her cone-bra Blond Ambition Tour look (with the super long high ponytail), or her menswear inspired look she’s done more recently (with a big hat and grill).
Classic Character Costumes
The costumes in this section are dedicated to characters from the silver screen, the small screen, and our favorite books. You can never go wrong with these.
19. Audrey Hepburn/Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's
This is an ever classic costume, complete with tiara, cigarette holder, and thick strands of pearls.
20. Lucy From "I Love Lucy"
Get that red hair dye out because you're going to need it, and someone to yell RICKIE at for the night.
No wig is too big for this costume, and don't forget the cleavage (though honestly, how could you?)
22. The Bride of Frankenstein
If you have white sheets laying around, this might just be the perfect time to put them to good use.
23. Marilyn Monroe in "The 7 Year Itch"
White halter dress + vent = iconic fame.
24. Mary Poppins
The key piece of this costume will be your black umbrella and flat, flower-adorned hat.
25. Dorothy From The Wizard of Oz
Blue gingham dress, bright red shoes, and plaits.
26. Alice From Alice in Wonderland
Get out your tiny black Mary Janes, a white apron, and a blue dress with a full skirt.
27. Olive Oyl
Embody the fighting spirit of this fun cartoon character!
28. Rainbow Brite
Possibly the cutest costume ever?
29. Max From "Where the Wild Things Are"
Fuzzy onesie, yes please.
These four costume ideas are from movies and TV.
30. Tippi Hedren From "The Birds"
My mom did a "The Birds" costume when I was a kid and I remember thinking it was the coolest idea ever.
31. A Weeping Angel From Dr. Who
This is a favorite costume choice at comic conventions. It takes some effort to put the costume together, but it pays off.
32. Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby
it's ideal for ladies with a pixie cut, and even better if you're actually pregnant.
33. A Chucky Doll From "Child's Play"
Last Minute Women's Costumes
You’ve got 1 day to get your Halloween costume together. What do you do? What DO YOU DO? Below, I have a handful of costume ideas you can scrap together with a quick trip to the thrift store and/or party store.
34. 80s Prom Queen or 80s Aerobics Instructor
I was an 80s prom queen from very first Halloween away from my hometown. I wore a peach lace dress that I found at a thrift store, teased my hair out, and topped the ratted mess with a plastic party store crown. It was really easy. An 80s aerobics costume is also a simple idea. Leg warmers and a unitard are key; bonus points if you can find a unitard that has that butt-floss situation going on.
35. Crazy Cat Lady
You know what a crazy cat lady is. Her cats are her babies and she has dozens of them. She’s constantly covered in fur and does not care. The Crazy Cat Lady Costume is really easy: wear pajama dress, housecoat, or matronly dress and safety pin stuffed cats all over yourself. Make your hair super sloppy for dramatic effect.
36. A Shadow Costume
All you need to become a walking shadow is a black morphsuit (also called a “full body suit”). It’s a really cool effect when surrounded by other people dressed normally. You can get really fancy and add some black fabric and a hat and become Peter Pan’s shadow.
37. Stick Figure
The LED Stick Figure Costume was really popular in 2013. It can be done with LED lights or glow sticks, but it also looks really cool as a classic black and white stick figure. Use with white tape on a black suit or black tape on a white suit then draw a smiley face on a piece of cardboard (covered in white or black paper) or a paper plate for the face. Matching sweatpants/sweatshirt can be used in the place of a body suit as well.
38. DIY Umbrella Bat Costume
All you need to become a sweet homemade bat is a cheap (or broken even) black umbrella, a black zippered hoodie, and black pants or a black skirt. Some disasembling, reassembling, and a few stitches later, and you’ll have an incredibly unique and entirely homemade Bat Costume.
39. Torso in a Suitcase
This one definitely fits the “gruesome” halloween theme, but is also very simple.
- Step 1: Acquire a cheap fabric suitcase the size of your torso at a thrift store.
- Step 2: Cut out a hole at the top for your head, at the bottom for your legs, and two holes on either side for each arm. You will need a Dremel or something similar to get through the metal/wood frame. (maybe pad the edges with duck tape).
- Step 3: Cover your torso in fake blood.
- Step 4: Ask people to open the suit case. (See full instructions)
40. Dooneese From SNL
Dooneese was a character played by Kristen Wiig on SNL in which she is the big forehead-ed, snaggle-toothed member of the “Lennon Sisters” on the Lawerence Welk Show. Oh, and she also has baby hands. To do the costume, you need a long sleeved dress (preferably a 50s style dress), a bald wig + blonde wig, and two baby doll arms. The snaggle tooth is optional, but highly recommended.
Above is Dooneese’s cameo on “The Sound of Music.” She pops up at about 1 minute in.
Even More Last Minute Costumes
41. A Gnome
Play a man or lady gnome. It’s your choice. The hat can be made from red felt or red construction paper. If you’re going for a man gnome (which I highly recommend), you’ll also need a white beard (a fake beard or white felt will do), a blue shirt, red or black pants, and a jaunty belt.
42. Wednesday Addams
When I was a kid, my whole family dressed up as the Addams Family for Halloween. My mom made me a costume by sewing white cuffs and a white color onto a long sleeved black dress, and put two braids in my dark hair. She then bought me a doll at the craft store and made an identical outfit and braided the doll’s hair. I opted to keep the head on my doll. I had a friend do the same costume a few years back. It works just as well for women as it does for young girls!
43. Frida Kahlo
Frida is another easy, yet easily identifiable costume. Wear a peasant dress (or peasant top with long skirt) with a matching shawl or wrap, a long necklace, and drop earrings. Braid your hair into two low braids, then pin them them up to create a “crown” braid. Place vibrant flowers along the top of your head, in front of the braids. For makeup, all you need is some bright lipstick, some blush, and a subtle unibrow.
44. Andy Warhol
The man that coined the term “15 minutes of fame” is Mr. Andy Warhol. I wonder what he would have thought of the Internet. To do an Andy Warhol Costume, you’ll need a black turtle neck + slim black pants (a black suit would also work), round plastic glasses (clear or white are best), and a short white wig. Put white makeup on your eyebrows and carry around a can of Campbell’s tomato soup for some authenticity.
45. Nedry From Jurassic Park
Do you remember Nedry from Jurassic Park? He’s played by Wayne Knight (aka Newman from Seinfeld). Nedry is the guy that shuts down the entire park (throwing everything into chaos) in order to smuggle out the dino samples in a can of Barbasol. All you need for this costume is a yellow rain slicker (they sell them at hardware stores), some “Malcom-x” style glasses (find them at a costume store or an accessories store like Claires), khakis and a blue button down, and a can of Barbasol shaving cream.
46. Troll Doll
This one is so easy. Get a flesh colored body suit or dress and a troll wig. Alternately, you can get your hair to stand up with some hearty products, then spray it with the bright hair color of your choice. I’d wager the wig is much easier (especially if you have really long hair), plus it’ll be a heck of a lot less messy. Cut out a glitter felt gem for your belly button if you’re feeling crazy.
SUUUPER Last Minute Costumes
Perhaps your definition of last minute means you don’t have ANY time to go to a store. Fear not. Here are some clever costumes you can do with things around the house and still look like you gave a heck.
47. Walter White From Breaking Bad
This is so much easier yellow hazmat suit Walter White (hell, that one requires a gas mask, and who has time to get one of those??). What you need: Light/Medium Green button down men’s shirt, white underwear (tighty whiteys are preferred), grey/green socks, tan shoes, and some wire rim rectangular/oval glasses. Throw in a fake gun for authenticity.
48. Liz Lemon From 30 Rock
If you have brown hair and glasses, this is the last minute costume for you. In addition to your brown hair and glasses, wear a plaid shirt under a sweater or cardigan or blazer, bootcut jeans, and converse style sneakers. Looking disheveled is your duty and your honor. Bonus points if you can make TGS canvas bag and/or carry around a block of night cheese.
49. Our Get Along Shirt Costume
THE easiest costume on this whole list: all you need is a huge t-shirt, a sharpie, and a friend. Write “Our Get Along Shirt” then put it on over both of you a-la the popular meme from early 2013.
50. Tom Cruise in Risky Business
This is the ultimate no frills costume. All you need is a large button down men’s shirt (white or light pink), white tube socks, and some white underwear. Tighty whiteys are best, but I understand if you don’t want to wear someone else’s dirty underpants – you can also layer a pair of darker underwear under the white underwear.
If you have a candlestick, you win all the 80s costume glory. I know that most people will do Ray Ban Wayfarer style sunglasses with this costume, but since he’s not actually wearing them in the scene, I consider them optional :)
Classic Women's Costumes With a Twist
Glenda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the west at the same time, “split personality” style.
Vampires aren’t what they used to be. Amirite guys? If I wanted to dress as a vampire, I’d probably go full glitter vampire from “Twilight” because nothing says dark and mysterious quite like a body covered in shimmer. You can also try to carry around all the other mortals with your super strength.
Two words: Sexy Ghost.
It’s true, you can make any costume into a zombie costume. Zombie cheerleader, zombie prom queen, zombie Chef Boyardee. My suggestion is to go original zombie, i.e. a zombie who has risen from grave. It’s classic and perfect as nothing says “Halloween” more than the dead coming back to life.
So, if you’ve been buried then crawled back out, what would you look like? Aside from being in your Sunday finest, you’d have dusty dirty clothes, rips tears and discolorations, and maybe a few maggots here and there.
Okay, clowns are creepy. Embrace it. Dress up as Pennywise the clown from “IT” and you’ll make a few people pee their pants, I promise.
Book Fairy – super cute with easy instructions. It’s a great idea for teachers.
Go full vintage by making yourself black and white, skin and all like the above picture. Wear only grey, white, and black clothes and paint your skin and lips grey. The effect is you’ll look like a black and white photograph living and breathing in the full color world. It’s really cool to see.
I’d love to see a lady as Dread Pirate Robert from “The Princess Bride.”
There are so many variations on this it'll be hard to choose! Queen of hearts, Queen of Queens, Queen Mary (the person or the boat)
Fun With Makeup
60. The Lichtenstein Comic Book Girl
61. Sepia Toned Saloon Girl or Cowgirl
It’s a twist on the black and white flapper that I haven’t seen anyone do yet. It is a hair trickier than a black/white person though since all of your clothing (and makeup) will need to be sepia toned (ie muted yellow/brown), but I think it would be awesome if done well. Someone make it happen please. (PS: The photo here is Annie Oakley. How cool would this costume be??)
62. Pixelated Girl
It’s exactly what it sounds like: makeup painted to look like pixels (aka differently colored squares).
63. Flo From the Progressive Commercials
Dress in all white: white t-shirt, white pants, and a white apron. Wear your hair down in a bouffant with a thick blue headband or scarf (or get a brown wig), then top it off with black winged eyeliner and red lipstick. Don’t forget your tricked out name tag.
64. The Coppertone Girl
A flesh-tone body suit will be an adequate replacement for a bare butt.
65. Sriracha Bottle
Put together a red Sriracha t-shirt + red pants + a green beanie, and you’ve got yourself a ridiculously spicy costume, friend!
Group Costumes for Women
66. Golden Girls Group Costume
One of my favorites—I love The Golden Girls so much I wrote a costume guide for it.
67. Mean Girls Group Costume
Another one that is such a favorite, that I wrote a guide!
68. The 3 Hocus Pocus Witch Sisters
AKA The Sanderson Sisters, as played by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker.
69. The Pink Ladies From Grease
Do a group, any or all of them!
70. The Ladies of The Craft
Oye. This is my favorite idea of the day.
71. The Muppets and/or The Fraggles
I made a Wembley Fraggle costume for Halloween a few years back – it was scary comfortable. I've got full Fraggle costume instructions here.
72. Priscilla Queen of the Desert
There are so many campy-fab options in this movie, but my favorite is the least practical: adorn yourself in many yards of flowing silver lamé, stand on top of a bus or RV, and have a friend drive you around town Teen Wolf style. (What? That's not possible?)
73. Troop Beverly Hills
Surely you remember this movie . . .
The easiest group costume would be our beloved Wilderness girls, in their khaki frocks with splashes hunter green. Throw in a few red feathers if you want to make it a spicy mix. If you're up for a real challenge, go as a a troop of Phyllis Neflers decked out in her greatest hits.
74. Quentin Tarantino
No, not actually the man, but his characters. They had a costume party in an episode of “Gilmore Girls” that was Quentin Tarantino themed and it was awesome. Don’t feel limited by gender, although Kill Bill has a ton of great female characters if you are so inclined.
75. Sex and The City
Are you a Carrie, a Samantha, a Charlotte, or a Miranda?
76. The Clones of Orphan Black
At the time of writing this there are 5 main clones: Sarah, Cosima, Alison, Helena, and Rachel. Here's a full guide for those costumes.
77. Backstreet Boys or Nsync
Why isn’t this group costume happening all the time? I’d like to see 10 people do it and have a boy band-off.
78. Sexy Presidents
I did this costume with some friends awhile back. I was Babe-raham Lincoln (thanks for the idea Wayne’s World). There was also a “Grover Cleavage" and “Teddy Ho-sevelt” in our group. We wore short skirts, menswear pieces (like vests, ties and hats), and facial hair… of course. We also had name-tags with our sexy president names on it. We also had two guys with us dressed up in drag as first ladies (Jackie Ohhh and Barbara Bush, natch)
Costumes for Two Women
79. Daria and Lane From Daria
Bring my teen angst to life!
80. Romy and Michele's High School Reunion
While the business woman look is great and all, we all know that Romy and Michele are really about shiny dresses and feather trim.
81. The Shining Twins - aka The Grady Twins
82. Mario and Luigi
You have to wear the mustaches though.
83. Cher and Dionne from Clueless
But this is an Aliyah!
84. Mid 90s Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love
You absolutely do not need a dude to play Kurt Cobain. No way no how.
85. Harry and Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber
The orange and blue tux costume is the most iconic, no?
86. Thing 1 and Thing 2
Red Footy Pajamas or T-Shirts + Blue Wigs = DONE
87. Napoleon and Deb from Napoleon Dynamite
Find a Caboodle, some moon boots, and a Vote for Pedro T-shirt stat.
Why Not Dude
88. Justin Bieber
Had to add Justin Bieber first because he already looks so much like a girl.
89. David Bowie
Any David Bowie will do, but I’m partial to Ziggy Stardust and Labyrinth Bowie.
90. Michael Jackson
I did this costume before and it was oh so much fun.
The same year I did Michael Jackson, a friend was Prince. Helpful hint: for the wig, buy any cheap curly long black wig put it on backwards so the hair goes towards your face, then have a friend cut and style a sweet prince ‘doo. I promise it will look fantastic.
92. George RR Martin
Don't be frightened. It will be hilarious.
93. Dr Who (any of them)
Head to the next comic convention in your area if you want inspiration!
94. Ace Ventura in a Tutu
95. Frankenfurter From Rocky Horror
If you aren’t ready for full Tim Curry, there’s always Magenta or Columbia.
PS: I absolutely need to do this costume for Halloween before I lose my nerve. Get a corset that covers your bosoms if you plan on going out in public! I don’t want you arrested!
Or, you know, Robin Thicke from the MTV Music Awards.
97. Milhouse Van Houten
Making the Milhouse costume is another biggie on my Halloween costume wish list.
98. Chimney Sweep (Burt from Mary Poppins)
I've seen girls do this before and it's super cute. Don’t forget the soot!
99. Ruby Rod from The Fifth Element
Ruby Rod is the flamboyant radio host in the movie “The Fifth Element” as played by Chris Tucker. A Ruby Rod costume would be seriously epic.
100. A Clockwork Orange
If Bart Simpson can do it, so can you.
101. Marty McFly from Back to the Future
Where we're going, we don't need roads. But we do need sweet hologram baseball caps.
© 2014 Shay Marie
Kathe Jones from San Francisco Bay Area on October 23, 2017:
Lots of great ideas here -- the ones I like best are 80s Prom Queen, Magenta from Rocky Horror, and Wednesday Addams. Of course, if I want to be more traditional, there is Elvira, Tina Turner, Steve Nicks, and my all-time favorite, the French Maid.
Sarah Spradlin from Little Rock, Arkansas on October 19, 2017:
Love the details!
Kathe Jones from San Francisco Bay Area on October 04, 2017:
You mentioned "We also had two guys with us dressed up in drag as first ladies" I really want to dress up in drag for Halloween this year. Any ideas on what would make for a sexy costume that would not be too offensive? I am a big and tall man so I would be wearing some sort of plus size outfit. Thanks so much for any ideas!
Linda Robinson from Cicero, New York on October 28, 2015:
Hey shay nice meeting you and absolutely loved all your creative fun women's Halloween costumes, some of the best ideas and creations ever. Happy to be following you, super writing. Linda
cfin from The World we live in on October 26, 2015:
Great work. So much detail :)
Mary Guimont from Pacific Northwest on October 21, 2015:
i enjoyed reading your hub.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on October 20, 2015:
Great Halloween costume list for women. Really eclectic, innovative and creative from the past to present over here.
Manasi4 on October 10, 2014:
i love those photos especially the umbrella bat costume
Elizabeth from DMV area on September 12, 2014:
I love this!
Mackenzie Sage Wright on September 11, 2014:
Very cool ideas, worth book marking. Happy Halloween!
Shay Marie (author) from Southern California on September 08, 2014:
debW07 - I love the gnome too.
debW07 on September 08, 2014:
I always have a hard time choosing a Halloween costume. You've given me a lot to consider and I kind of like the gnome.
Laura Smith from Pittsburgh, PA on September 08, 2014:
Oh, I'm saving this. There are lots of good ideas here.
Merry Citarella from Oregon's Southern Coast on September 07, 2014:
This is amazing! Can't imagine how long it took to put together either time! Something for everyone here!
Rhonda Lytle from Deep in the heart of Dixie on September 07, 2014:
That's a lot of costume ideas! I've actually done a few of these, my fave having been Elvira back in the day. The group costume ideas are so fun. I'd love to try out the Sanderson sisters from Hocus Pocus. Good ideas to fit so many interests.
Andrew Smith from Richmond, VA on September 07, 2014:
Wow, you have really outdone yourself. What a thorough Hub!