After a couple of tough pandemic years, Halloween is finally back with a vengeance. Sure, you could dress up as a sexy witch/devil/baseball player/cowboy/cheerleader/whatever, but as a reader of The A.V. Club, why not take advantage of your affinity for pop culture and draw inspiration from this year’s crop of charismatic characters? The following movie and TV figures are sure to make appearances at your next Halloween costume party, parade or gathering. Read on to find inspiration and helpful links to props, masks, and other clothing to complete your costume. Which look best suits you?
Eddie Munson and the Hellfire Club (Stranger Things 4)
Season four of Stranger Things takes place in 1986, when hard rock and big hair ruled. Eddie Munson and the rest of the Hellfire Club look like they want to rock and roll all night (and party every day)—when they aren’t playing Dungeons & Dragons, of course—and now so can you. There are a variety of Hellfire Club tees available on Amazon. If you aren’t currently rocking Eddie’s glorious mane of fried hair, just google “headbanger wig” and go from there. As for the rest of the costume, think leather jackets, flannel vests and lots of denim ... especially of acid-washed and distressed variety.
Nathan Fielder (The Rehearsal)
The Rehearsal is an HBO docu-comedy starring Nathan Fielder as a kind of experimental life coach who uses actors and sets to re-create real-life situations in which people might find themselves. The key prop for this costume is a laptop harness like the one pictured above. Add a basic, solid-colored sweatshirt to complete the look. You’ll have to provide the deadpan humor!
Wednesday Addams (Wednesday)
This year’s go-to goth girl has to be Wednesday Addams, played by Jenna Ortega on the new Netflix series Wednesday. It doesn’t premiere until November, but everyone knows the character and her predilection for high-collared shirts and black tights (Hot Topic is your friend). As for that signature braided black hair, Amazon has you covered with this wig.
Contestants or Guards (Squid Game)
Even if they never watched a single episode of the Netflix survival drama Squid Game, people will instantly recognize the pink jumpsuits and face masks with the outline of a triangle on them worn by the guards. The Squid Game outfit is easy to find on Amazon ... you’ll just have to buy a toy gun and harness to complete the look and keep players in line! Be cognizant of current events and consider an electric water gun instead of something that could be mistaken for a real AK-47.
Ricky ‘Jupe’ Park (Nope)
Look like you are ready to chase down flying extraterrestrial blobs by dressing like former child star turned theme park operator Ricky “Jupe” Park (Steven Yeun) from Jordan Peele’s sci-fi thriller Nope. Jupe’s signature embroidered suit might be somewhat difficult to replicate at home unless you are gifted at using sewing machines, but the suit is available here for purchase online. You’ll still need a bolo tie, white cowboy hat, and the charisma to draw in a crowd of onlookers.
Burnt Michael Myers, Halloween Ends
Masked murderer Michael Myers returns for his last confrontation with final girl Laurie Strode in Halloween Ends this October. In addition to a (hopefully fake) butcher knife and mechanic’s suit, a successful Michael Myers costume begins and ends with the mask, which in 1978’s Halloween was just a William Shatner mask spray-painted white. We’re not sure why so many of the Halloween sequels couldn’t do Michael’s mask justice, but today’s mass-produced masks are superior in every way. Just look at this burnt Michael Myers mask made to replicate the damage it sustained in Halloween Kills. What a treat!
Take your pick from Everything Everywhere All At Once
There are multiple universes explored in Everything Everywhere All At Once starring Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis, which means there are many looks to choose from for inspiration. If Evelyn Wang’s laundromat outfit inspires you, buy this and slap a googly-eyed sticker on your forehead. The universe with sausage fingers is weirdly wonderful, and you can buy the hot dog fingers directly from the A24 website. To transform yourself into IRS inspector Deirdre Beaubeirdre (Curtis), a visit to your local thrift store in THIS universe will help you find a mustard turtleneck and sweater vest befitting an exasperated tax goddess.
Carmy Berzatto (The Bear)
On FX’s The Bear, Jeremy Allen White plays Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto, an acclaimed New York City chef who returns to Chicago to run his late brother’s failing Italian beef sandwich shop. To dress up as Carmy (or anyone at the shop), you’ll need a white crew neck T-shirt and a blue chef’s apron. If you can carry around an Italian beef sandwich all night as a prop without eating it, you’re more disciplined than we are.
Dream, Death, Desire, or Lucifer (The Sandman)
The long-awaited Netflix adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman is a dreamscape of fantastical costume ideas. I am taking on Dream himself, using a long black coat from my goth-club days and this replica of Dream’s mask. For Desire, find a low-cut dancer’s leotard and affix lots of feathers around the shoulders. Lucifer begs for a luxurious red robe and leathery black wings. If you’re drawn toward Death, you’ll need a black tank top, black pants and a silver ankh necklace. It would be dreamy if you and three of your friends each picked one of these four characters and prowled your local realm together.
Ken and Barbie (Barbie)
If you are built like Ryan Gosling or Margot Robbie, congratulations! It must be so difficult to be beautiful. You are ready for the plastic-fantastic life of Barbie, set for release in July 2023. Although the movie is many months away, the pictures of Gosling and Robbie as Ken and Barbie blew up online like a glitter bomb. For either character, buy the best spray tan you can afford. We doubt you have a pink convertible handy to drive around in, but the Kens out there will want a denim vest and the Barbies can top off their look with a polka dot headband. This is a cute couple’s costume if you happen to both be equally pretty.
Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Maverick)
Is there anyone that didn’t like Top Gun: Maverick, the long-overdue sequel to 1986’s Top Gun? The action movie starring Tom Cruise as ace fighter pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell has made over $1.4 billion globally. You’ve got numerous options to find a flight outfit that will take their breath away (sorry), but aviator glasses are a must. It’s expensive, but a replica of Maverick’s helmet will guarantee that no one will ask, “Which ace fighter pilot from Maverick are you supposed to be?”
Red Panda (Turning Red)
In the animated film Turning Red, 13-year-old Meilin “Mei” Lee transforms into a giant red panda when in a heightened emotional state. This is a costume better suited for a young girl, since pretty much no one wants to see, say, a middle-aged man dressed as a giant red panda from a movie about a young girl getting her first period. Amazon has a cute red panda costume that keeps fun fur to a minimum.
Elvis Presley (Elvis)
You can argue elsewhere about whether Baz Luhrmann’s garish Elvis does the King justice or barely scratches the surface. What is obvious to anyone who has seen the film is that the director of Moulin Rouge! imagines an Elvis Presley who isn’t shy about wearing LOTS of makeup all of the time—not just onstage. To be 2022's King, you’ll have to get in touch with your inner drag queen and apply a generous amount of bronzer, rouge, lip gloss, eye shadow and man-scara. As for the clothes, you could go for Aloha Elvis, Comeback Special Elvis, or maybe young pink-suit Elvis. Leave ‘em all shook up!
Agojie Warriors (The Woman King)
The Woman King is a historical epic about the Agojie, a tribe of warrior women who protected the African kingdom of Dahomey from the 17th to 19th centuries. Viola Davis plays General Nanisca, and her skirt and top would be challenging to piece together from scratch. Luckily, there is an official Nanisca costume available in various sizes that comes with fierce anklets, wristbands and armbands. Unleash your inner warrior woman!
The Northman is an epic action-thriller about Amleth, a Viking prince played by Alexander Skarsgård who seeks revenge for his father’s death. To pull off this look, it would be helpful if you are as tall and ripped as Skarsgård since he’s shirtless for much of the movie. If you’ve got the bod, you’ll need a Viking wig (if you don’t already have long blond locks), a hatchet, a sword, and some kind of burlap kilt to complete your transformation. Happy hunting ... whatever you’re hunting for.
Freaky Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness)
The transformation of Scarlet Witch from an Avenger to a woman willing to rip the fabric of space and time to find a universe where she is a loving mother is both tragic and terrifying in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness. After you get your long red wig, you’ll have the option for going for the classic costume or replicating the freaky look pictured above with a splattered long-sleeve white shirt. Since you probably can’t shoot red magic energy from your hands, bring along some red glitter to toss at anyone who stands in your way.
The Antler Queen (Yellowjackets)
Yellowjackets is about a group of teens involved in a plane crash in a remote area in 1996 and how the survivors deal with their disturbing experience today. If the pagan look of the Antler Queen appeals to you, it’s a costume that should be easy enough to put together. You just need antlers like these and lots of gauzy lace and flowers to stretch over the antlers. If your dress matches the material on the antlers, even better. If you’re someone who hunts bucks or lives with someone who does and has access to legit antlers, you don’t need our help!
Anyone from What We Do In The Shadows
If you haven’t been watching What We Do In The Shadows, that makes our hearts hurt. The hilarious mockumentary series about four vampires sharing a home in Staten Island may be the funniest show on TV right now. Pick the character you most physically resemble and sink your fangs into it. This steampunk jacket looks like something Nandor the Relentless would wear. This black wig with bangs is very Nadja ... just add a red stripe on one side. As for Laszlo, we prefer when he’s hiding in plain sight as the bartender Jackie Daytona. If you’re a bald middle-aged man with glasses and a knack for boring people to tears to feed on their energy, you’re ready to go out as Colin Robinson. We can’t wait to see who can bring these characters to life this Halloween!