Despite 2020 putting a halt on many things, there have still been
moments — from TV shows and movies to memes — that are now just waiting to be turned into
costume gold. We know, we know, Halloween is scary this year — and not because of things that go “boo!” in the dark. Costume parties full of masked (and not the protective kind) strangers and kids going door-to-door to collect candy out of a community bucket are (understandably) less appealing this year. But just because you might be
skipping out on the usual Halloween festivities this season
, doesn’t mean you can’t still win Best Costume from the comfort of your home. (We’re living in the Zoom age, after all.)
And we have the costume ideas to get you there. For a newsworthy look, turn yourself into Twitter’s
“Boyfriend Cliff.” On the TV and music front, 2020 has also provided us with plenty of fodder for costume making, from Netflix’s hit shows Tiger King and to this year’s top music videos, including “WAP,” “Watermelon Sugar,” and “Cardigan.” And, of course, there are plenty of Cheer Black Is King outfits to reference on All Hallow’s Eve. Kudos if you can hit them all.
Ahead, click through for 18 ideas you need to win that
Best Costume award. Be sure to call dibs: Given how much time we spent tweeting and talking about these moments in 2020, you can bet they’ll be everywhere.
Halloween is a time for frights, costumes, and fun, but this year is a little different. You can still do all of those things, but please make sure to practice proper social distancing measures, avoid large gatherings, and remember every costume is best paired with a mask. Refinery29 is your one-stop Halloween shop when it comes to ways to celebrate safely. Enjoy!
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
Mildred Ratched From
Halloween is supposed to be scary, which makes dressing up as the chilling head nurse of Lucia State Hospital, Mildred Ratched, from
Ryan Murphy’s new Netflix series , absolutely perfect. To channel the look, all you need is a green-blue, ’50s-style belted shirt dress and a matching nurse hat. Ratched
GownTown ’50s Vintage Sexy Fitted Office Pencil Dress, $, available at Amazon
WILLBOND 5 Pieces White Nurse Hat, $, available at Amazon
Raf Simons & Miuccia Prada
If you want to impress your fashion friends this Halloween, dressing up as Prada’s new co-creative directors, Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada, is the only way to go. Plus, the duo gave you everything you need during their post-runway show Q&A. To impersonate Simons, all you need are black pants — preferably Prada, but any will do —and a shirt. Easy. Mrs. Prada said her “last love is a white pleated cotton skirt and a blue sweater.” And the award for Most Fashionable Costume goes to…
Photo: Sean Zanni/Getty Images.
Uniqlo Supima Cotton Stretch Long-Sleeve Shirt, $, available at Uniqlo
Gloria Vanderbilt Plus Size Amanda Trouser Pant, $, available at Amazon
Uniqlo Extra Fine Merino Crew Neck Sweater, $, available at Uniqlo
Violeta By Mango Pleated Midi Skirt, $, available at Mango
One of the simplest ways to solve a Halloween costume dilemma is to look at what you already own. And after a lockdown like this one, if there’s one thing we have in flux, it’s tie-dye, well, everything. Over the last seven months, tie-dye sweatshirts, sweatpants, T-shirts, and more have all skyrocketed in popularity. Tie-dye masks are also trending, as are tie-dye socks and tie-dye scrunchies. You name it, it’s tie-dye. So, rather than going out and spending money on a costume this Halloween, simply cover yourself in every tie-dye purchase you made during quarantine. Or, you know, dress up as the result of the other most popular activity of quarantine: sourdough bread.
Reformation Tanner Classic Hoodie, $, available at Reformation Reformation Classic Sweatpant, $, available at Reformation
Urban Outfitters Shibori Tie-Dye Crew Sock, $, available at Urban Outfitters
Carole Baskin From
Hey all you cool cats and kittens, it’s about time you start thinking about how exactly you’re going to dress up like the great Carole Baskin from the Netflix smash hit,
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, this Halloween. On the bright side, dressing up as the owner of Big Cat Rescue isn’t all that complicated. Rather, all you really need is a leopard print muumuu, a flower crown, and a long, straight wig. Bonus if you bring along a four-legged furry friend. Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
BeChicaChic Bohemian Flower Crown Blossoms Headband, $, available at Etsy
Harriet Carter Waltz Length Muumuu with Pockets, $, available at Harriet Carter
Megan Thee Stallion & Cardi B From “WAP” Music Video
In early August, Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B teamed up to grant us with a music video and accompanying track unlike any we’ve seen or heard before,
“WAP,” made “for the freaks, by the freaks,” according to R29 entertainment writer Ineye Komonibo. Featuring some unforgettable looks, the video included a custom leopard print Mugler corset on Cardi B; matching pink and yellow feathered bodysuits by Nicolas Jebran for both artists; and a Naomi Campbell-inspired getup, involving a houndstooth bodysuit by Venus Prototype Latex, on Normani. Personally, we suggest the python scene, which would involve wearing lace-up heels and a cut-out lingerie onesie in either jade green or mustard yellow. And a snake!
SheIn Floral Lace Underwire Garter Lingerie Set, $, available at SheIn
STOBOK Realistic Rubber Snake, $, available at Amazon
Urban Outfitters Alexa Strappy Sandal, $, available at Urban Outfitters
Zoë Kravitz As Rob Brooks From
No TV show in 2020 has come close to the level of style presented on the set of Hulu’s adaptation of Nick Hornby’s beloved novel
High Fidelity. From her signature leather trench coat and roughed-up leather loafers to her many Hawaiian shirts and pleated tennis skirts, Rob, played by none other than Zoë Kravitz, exemplifies Brooklyn’s finest fashion. And this Halloween, so can you. Buy yourself a hunter green pleated mini, pair it with an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt, and throw a leather jacket over top. Voila! Photo: Courtesy of Hulu.
NastyGal Check Your Coat Faux Leather Trench Coat, $, available at NastyGal
Old Navy Relaxed-Fit Printed Short-Sleeve Camp Shirt, $, available at Old Navy
American Apparel Gabardine Tennis Skirt, $, available at Amazon
Following the reveal of his science fair-looking model of the COVID-19 curve during a June press briefing, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo presented another art project in the form of an illustrated poster. And alongside Donald Trump hanging out on the moon and a giant nose being swabbed, was a tiny man dangling off the side of the mountain, titled “Boyfriend Cliff.” Naturally, many Twitter users had questions and theories about it, causing the phrase to go viral. To recreate the moment this Halloween, print the poster out and wear it on your shirt (or write #BoyfriendCliff on it with a marker), and desperately cling to something — props if it’s a mountain made out of paper mache.
J.Crew Factory Washed Jersey Tee, $, available at J.Crew Factory
Staples Staples Poster Board, 22″ x 28″ White, $, available at Staples
Amy, Jo, Beth, & Meg March From
Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of
Little Women technically came out in December of last year, but its influence — especially in the fashion department — is too great to leave it off this list. The costumes, which won costume designer Jacqueline Durran an Academy Award, were a precursor to today’s top internet aesthetic, cottagecore, and its prairie dresses, nightgowns, and basket bags. So naturally, we want to celebrate both the trends and the film itself by putting on our nicest dress. Photo: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures.
R.YIposha Vintage Square Neck Ruffled Flowy Dress, $, available at Amazon
H&M Short Dress, $, available at H&M
Violeta By Mango Puffed Sleeves Plumeti Dress, $, available at Mango
& Other Stories Smocked Crepe Maxi Dress, $, available at & Other Stories
Zoom Call Attire
If there’s one thing that we’ve become the most acquainted with in 2020, it’s Zoom calls — and dressing for them. Essentially, the rule of thumb when logging onto a Zoom call, whether it’s work- or social-related, is stylish on top, comfy on bottom, resulting in many a call that involves sweatpants below the screen and a button-down above it. And why should Halloween be any different? Just throw on your go-to sweats and your cleanest oxford shirt, and you’ll be good to go. If you’re feeling snarky, you can also attach a tag that says, “This call will end in 40 minutes.”
Lane Bryant Girlfriend Shirt, $, available at Lane Bryant
Richer Poorer Fleece Sweatpant, $, available at Richer Poorer
Black Is King
Between its visually appealing set, stunning wardrobe (which was assembled by Zerina Akers and made up of mostly Black designers), and meaningful message, Beyoncé’s music-video-turned-short-film
Black Is King captivated the internet upon its release in late July. During the film, Beyoncé wears everything from a Marine Serre moon-printed bodysuit and a cowhide corset to a crystal-covered poncho meant to mimic raindrops. And so can you. To reenact Queen Bey’s latter ensemble, all you need is a mesh top (or bodysuit) — preferably one with crystals on it — diamond-encrusted sunglasses, as much shiny jewelry as you can pile on, and a matching pair of mesh leggings. A crystal skirt is suggested. Photo: Courtesy of Disney+.
Slocyclub Oversized Cateye Rectangle Sunglasses, $, available at Amazon
Nasty Gal Star Cry Mesh Top, $, available at Nasty Gal
Fashion Nova Chained To My Heart Skirt, $, available at Fashion Nova
Lady Gaga At The MTV VMAs
Lady Gaga is always extra and never subtle on the red carpet. But her
nine looks at the 2020 MTV VMAs were some of the most over-the-top we’ve seen yet. Along with nine different face masks (an essential Halloween accessory if you are going out), Gaga donned a crystal-covered bodysuit, a thorn-covered headdress, and a massive, feathered cape. You probably don’t have quick access to those things, so, to make recreating her VMAs look a bit easier, we suggest you copying her final ensemble: platforms, lace-up boots, a graphic T-shirt, and a spiked leather face mask. Safety first! Photo: Kevin Winter/MTV VMAs 2020/Getty Images for MTV.
Mewnews Lady Gaga ’90s Retro Vintage T-Shirt, $, available at Etsy
JewelryWe Punk Rivets Black Mask, $, available at Amazon
Stupmary Platform Mid-Calf Bootie, $, available at Amazon
Harry Styles From “Watermelon Sugar” Music Video
Harry Styles released the music video for his single
“Watermelon Sugar” at the perfect time. Mid-quarantine, we needed a break, as well as a reminder of what life was like pre-COVID. And that’s exactly what Styles, singing a bop on the beach while surrounded by beautiful people in beautiful, summery outfits eating watermelon slices, gave us. So, to commemorate the kind gesture, we’re making the looks from his video — which include grandpa sweater vests paired with ‘70s-era collared shirts, crop tops worn alongside distressed jeans, and Hawaiian shirts unbuttoned to show off Styles’ signature pearls — the costumes of Halloween 2020. Top whatever look you decide on with a pair of Gucci sunglasses.
JewelzSteele Vintage Blue Glossy Oversize Glasses, $, available at Etsy
TheScarvinArtist Not Yo Grannys Crochet Sweater, $, available at Etsy
Marianne Sheridan and Connell Waldron From
If you’re looking for an easy, yet recognizable costume this Halloween, look no further than the characters in Hulu’s
Normal People. During the first few episodes of the debut season, Marianne Sheridan and Connell Waldron navigate private school in Sligo, Ireland, in drab school uniforms, which include a gray button-down shirt and a striped tie. To mimic your favorite fictional couple of 2020, all you need are those two back-of-your-closet items, a charcoal skirt or pair of slacks — and, of course, a silver chain necklace. Photo: Courtesy of Hulu.
Uniqlo Rayon Long-Sleeve Blouse, $, available at Uniqlo
Mejuri Double Curb Chain Necklace, $, available at Mejuri
Tie Mart Red and Golden Yellow Striped Skinny Tie, $, available at Amazon
Mark Zuckerberg Sunscreen Face
In July, while many of us were inside our apartments and
not in Hawaii surfing on an electric surfboard, billionaire Mark Zuckerberg was and that wasn’t all he got roasted for. Photos of the Facebook founder surfing off of the island of Kauai emerged online the following day showing the fourth richest man in the world absolutely covered in sunblock — so much sunblock, in fact, that it appeared photoshopped on. As you probably remember, the internet was flush with memes. Since it’s genuinely difficult to find a sunscreen — that opaque these days, we suggest using face paint. Photo: Mega.
NYX Cosmetics SFX Crème Color, $, available at Nyx Cosmetics
Navarro Cheerleaders From
If you’re going to channel the members of Navarro’s champion cheerleading squad, you have to go all out. That’s the rule. Which means: You’ll have to buy an entire cheerleading uniform and wear it with pride. Add some school spirit by topping your very high ponytail with a Navarro bow. And don’t you dare forget your lashes.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Navarro Navarro Future National Champ Bow in Red, $, available at Rebel Athletic
Costume Agent Navarro Cheerleader Costume Set, $, available at Amazon
JW Anderson’s Viral TikTok Cardigan
If you, like millions of people around the world, frequent the content black hole that is TikTok, you’ve probably seen some version of this nearly $2,000
patchwork cardigan designed by JW Anderson. That’s because following Harry Styles’ appearance on the TODAY show, thousands of Gen Z DIYers took to their local Joanne Fabrics to gather the necessary materials to make one of their own, thus starting the #HarryStylesCardigan challenge. And given that it’s still pretty early in the season, there’s still time for you to do the same (the pattern can be found here) before October 31. Or you could always buy an already made one from Etsy. Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images.
Golden_12 Harry Styles Cardigan, $, available at Mercari
Mary Maxim Store Mary Maxim Twinkle Yarn, $, available at Amazon
Taylor Swift From “Cardigan” Music Video
In July, Taylor Swift once again broke the internet when she released her eighth studio album,
. Alongside the release was the music video for the record’s first single, a song titled “Cardigan” which showed Swift climbing into a piano, tearing through the woods, and thrashing in strong currents — all while wearing a quarantine-approved Nap dress. At the end of the video, she slipped on a cardigan, which you can still buy on her website. (Shortly after the release of the merch, the cardigan design was changed after similarities between the logo of Folklore The Folklore, a retailer that sells Black-owned and Africa-made clothing and accessories, and the one on Swift’s sweater were pointed out.)
Taylor Swift The “Cardigan”, $, available at Taylor Swift Store
The 1 For U Cotton Sleeveless Nightgown, $, available at Amazon
Animal Crossing Avatars
Another simple Halloween costume that’ll still bring in a lot of likes? Dressing up as your own Animal Crossing character. Hear us out: All you have to do to take your own everyday wardrobe and make it AC-friendly is head to the local supermarket and pick up some turnips. To really round out the look, borrow a watering can from your next-door neighbor (don’t forget to sanitize). Since you’ll probably spend most of Halloween night actually playing Animal Crossing rather than, I don’t know, partying(?), why not dress the part, too?
The Sill Watering Can, $, available at The Sill
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