The Flavorpill Guide to DIY Pop-Culture Halloween Costumes: TV


Halloween: It’s always more complicated than you want it to be. Even if you’ve got your plans set, it’s a struggle to find the perfect costume — without resorting to the same crappy, overpriced, pre-packaged getups everyone else will be wearing. Thankfully, just as we did last October, Flavorpill is helping you out with a series of easy DIY costume guides tackling various pop-culture realms. Don’t worry — there’s no sewing involved.

In our latest, and final installment of this year’s series (we’ve already tackled music, art, film, and books), we’re looking to the world of television for inspiration. But don’t expect find the Don Drapers or Liz Lemons of the TV world on this list. Instead of just focusing on our favorite characters, we’ve decided to make things a little more interesting. Hopefully this means that you won’t be dressed like anyone else in the room — and if you are, at least you can take solace in the fact that they’re just as creative as you!

Miss Blakenship from Mad Men

Alas, poor Miss Blakenship. As Roger Sterling so eloquently put it, Mad Men’s wise-cracking secretary “died as she lived — surrounded by the people she answered phones for.” And we’d add, much to Don Draper’s incredible irritation.

The costume:

Old lady wig – Toynk Toys, $8

Black cat eye sunglasses –, $10

Vintage gold flower brooch – Etsy, $8

Vintage women’s suit – Etsy, $16

White ruffle collar buttondown shirt – Dockers, $25

A newspaper

Incarcerated Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation

You’re bound to see plenty of mustachioed dudes dressed up like their hero Ron Swanson on Halloween, but we’re willing to bet that most of them won’t be channeling the beloved libertarian’s braided prison look. As to whether or not you decide to have a trouble-loving Tammy 2 on your arm — that’s totally up to you.

The costume:

Asian-inspired silk women’s robe — Pearl River, $33

Cornrows — here’s a quick how-to

Plastic hair beads — Texas Beauty Supply, $3

Mustache — Amazon, $5

Gus Fring in the season finale of Breaking Bad

Sure, Walt might have surprised us all by proving that he could out-evil Gus Fring in the season finale of Breaking Bad, but this scary shot of the fried-chicken/meth madman post-pipe bomb explosion is the image that’s permanently seared in our brains. It was basically made to be a Halloween costume.

The costume:

Blue men’s dress shirt — Amazon, $30

Old tie that you don’t mind ruining — your closet

“Socket to Me” makeup kit — Spirit Halloween, $15

Fake blood garnish — Amazon, $5

Or, if you’re feeling incredibly lazy, download a Gus Fring Halloween mask over on Vulture.

Rotting Pam on True Blood

The whole witches vs. vampires storyline that dominated the fourth season of True Blood gave us a few comedic gems thanks to Marnie’s pointed spell casting — namely, in the form of a sweet and goofy Eric and Pam’s rotting face. Obviously the latter is much more Halloween appropriate.

The costume:

Black hat with veil — Amazon, $20

Long sleeve, high neck black dress — Etsy, $38

Burn and scar makeup kit — Wonder Costumes, $21

Margaret Cho as Kim Jong-Ill on 30 Rock

Dressing up as the crazy North Korean dictator is one thing; dressing up as Margaret Cho doing her ridiculous impression of Kim Jong-Ill is quite another. And while this one might be funnier if you’re a lady, it’s definitely a costume that works for fellas, too.

The costume:

Brown coveralls – American Work Apparel, $26

Black sunglasses – Amazon, $7

Rubik’s cube — Amazon, $6

The living head of Dorium Maldovar from Doctor Who

Because who wouldn’t want to be a decapitated blue head in a box who gets to hang out in the TARDIS? But seriously, this wise guy was one of our favorite parts of “The Wedding of River Song,” the finale episode of Series 6 — and you know most of the show’s devoted fans will go the easy route by dressing up like the Doctor or Amy. Plus, Dorium got the final (and possibly, the most important) line of the season: “Doctor Who?”

The costume:

Blue face paint — Amazon, $7

A square-shaped cardboard box

Metallic pen to decorate box — Amazon, $6

Black turtleneck — Target, $20

Black gloves —, $2

Jess Day’s New Girl-stripper dance

Sure, we’ve written some not-so-nice things about Zooey Deschanel’s new comedy, but even we have to admit that the totally horrifying scene in the pilot where she’s naked, singing and “doing sexy things with a pillow,” makes for a fantastic costume — as long as you’re not afraid to pretend to show some skin.

The costume:

A nude body stocking — Frederick’s of Hollywood, $20

A giant throw pillow (the more body conscious you are, the bigger it should be) — Target, $14

Black ballet flats — Target, $15

Portlandia‘s Feminist Bookstore ladies

The hilarious women of the Women & Women First Bookstore, who Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen first debuted back in their Thunderant days, were two of our favorite characters in the first season of Portlandia — and not just because Aubrey Plaza made a cameo in one of their sketches.

The Toni costume:

Long black wig with bangs — Spirit, $20

Large black nerd glasses — Sunglass Warehouse, $13

Dark red turtleneck — Target, $15

Layers of clothing in earthy tones (be sure to mix solids and ethnic prints) — Goodwill

Ugly animal necklace — Etsy, $20

Say things to people like, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

The Candace costume:

Long grey curly wig — My Costume Wigs, $24

Purple brocade tunic — eBay, $20

Say things to people like, “Want to see my impression of you?”

Shirley on Community as Jules from Pulp Fiction

Leave it to Community to pay homage to Quentin Tarantino in an episode that channeled My Dinner With Andre and knocks on Cougar Town, of all things. While everyone looked fantastic in their Pulp Fiction party getups — especially poor, clueless Pierce as the Gimp — we think that Shirley’s gender-bending turn as Jules was our favorite of the bunch. Plus, we nearly died over her description of the airplane-version of the movie that she saw: “It’s cute. It’s a 30-minute film about a group of friends who like cheeseburgers, dancing and the Bible.”

The costume:

Brown wig — Amazon, $12

Sideburns — Amazon, $6

Mustache — Amazon, $7

Goatee — Amazon, $9

Black suit — Goodwill

Men’s white dress shirt — JC Penney, $20

Black tie — Amazon, $10

Women’s purse — your closet

Fake gun — Amazon, $6

Glenn from The Walking Dead

Seeing as how this is one of the scariest and most popular shows on TV right now, you’re going to spot plenty of people dressed up like Rick Grimes or random Walkers on Halloween. But admit it: If you had to pick one character from The Walking Dead to be your sidekick in the zombie apocalypse, Glenn would be your best choice. Not only is he a quick study, but even more importantly, he’s not annoying. Plus, when Daryl Dixon called him “Short Round” in the season premiere last Sunday, we finally realized why he’s always seemed so familiar to us. In a sense, that makes this incredibly easily to pull together costume a two-for-one.

The costume:

Red baseball cap — Wear Alpha, $7

Red belt — Amazon, $25

Men’s baseball jersey — Clothing Warehouse, $24

Black t-shirt — your closet

Jeans — your closet

Tennis shoes — your closet

A crowbar — Red Hill General Store, $15