Another October, another round of tongue-in-cheek Halloween costumes that double as a highlight reel of this year’s cultural goings-on. The combination of celebrities, fictional characters, and politicians changes every year, but a select few getups always rise to the top and claim the title of Halloween’s most ubiquitous outfits. If you’re in need of some inspiration for this All Hallow’s Eve, we’ve attempted to predict this year’s wave of costumes with inspiration ripped from the headlines. Running the gamut from pop stars to politics, there are no cat ears or eye patches here — just a few witches, some teenagers, and a certain dearly departed New Mexico native.
Although this is — full disclosure — my personal pick for this year’s Halloween outfit, the Bob’s Burgers heroine also combines a simple yet distinctive aesthetic with a seemingly infinite capacity for generating quotes and GIF-able moments, making her a perfect costume choice. Perfect for those of us who put our bras on one boob at a time, just like everybody else.
Key components: Converse, glasses, voice pitched two octaves lower than normal. Bonus points if you can master this dance.
It’s not that we want it to happen, it just definitely will (and in fact already has; see above). Miley’s done a fantastic job of keeping herself in the headlines more or less constantly since the release of her “We Can’t Stop” video, meaning a near-ubiquitous Halloween presence must be the logical next step from a Rolling Stone cover.
Key components: Depending which version of Miley you’re going for, double top buns, underwear and Doc Martens, pixie cut, dreamcatcher temp tattoo, and/or permanently stuck-out tongue.
Breaking Bad is gone for good, and there’s no better way to memorialize it than to dress up like everyone’s favorite morally dubious meth kingpin. Chances are most people have the components for a good Walter White costume in their closets anyway, and a bald cap/full-on Heisenberg mask shouldn’t be too difficult to find either. Basically, win highbrow points with all your friends without breaking the bank.
Key components: Follow Bryan Cranston’s lead and roll with poorly dressed science teacher chic, paired with the aforementioned headgear and possibly a fedora. Use of authentic meth for props highly discouraged.
Lady Gaga (“Applause” Cover)
You know that theater geek and/or cosplayer friend with a treasure trove of pancake makeup? Now’s the time to call in a few favors and load up on the foundation and crazy-color eyeshadow. The “Applause” has a few advantages over the average topical costume: instantly recognizable, no new clothes needed, and no precision necessary — crazy blotches are the whole point, so no one will notice if the orange is a little too far to the left.
Key components: White base, blue and orange accents, all black everything else.
Lady Gaga (“Applause” Video)
This one comes from the “I’m a mouse, duh!” school of costumes-as-thinly-veiled-excuse-to-go-basically-naked. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But between its appearance as the most accessible outfit in the “Applause” video and Gaga’s memorable VMA performance, we’re bound to see more than a few nautical-ish looks come the end of the month.
Key components: Seashell bra, rock-solid confidence.
Spring Breakers Cast
Group costume time! It’s been seven months since Harmony Korine’s dreamlike Disney-girls-gone-bad flick hit theaters, but nothing maintains cultural relevance like Vanessa Hudgens saying, “Seeing all this money makes my pussy wet.” A surefire hit with both the artsy crowd and those who appreciate Halloween and spring break’s mutual association with booze and skimpy outfits.
Key components: The entire Victoria’s Secret Pink catalog, plus ski masks and fake guns.
Astronaut Sandra Bullock in Gravity
What are you talking about? This isn’t a cheapo space suit I picked up for $20 at Party City. This is a carefully planned homage to the Cinematic Event of the Year. Totally timely. Not a stock costume I relabeled to make it a pop culture reference. Not at all.
Key components: Space helmet, full suit if you’re feeling ambitious, gorgeous cinematography, IMAX screen.
Witch American Horror Story: Coven Character
Not quite as eye-roll-inducing as the impending Gravity gambits, but still falls into the same camp of costumes just a name away from being a plain ol’ broomstick-and-fake-wart operation. The saving grace of the Coven outfit is the association with Jessica Lange (and Angela Bassett, and Patti Lupone, and Kathy Bates, and…), plus the versatility (anything fabulous and black will work) and group factor (it’s called Coven, duh).
Key components: Awesome all-black get up, insanely campy dialogue that somehow just works, and a bitch face to end all bitch faces.
Any show with as rabid a Twitter following as Scandal is bound to inspire a zillion Halloween costumes, if only for the Instagrams (and subsequent retweets). And if you happen to have a knockout designer wardrobe or at least a few knockoffs lying around, no one’s more fun to imitate than the show’s central protagonist and crisis manager extraordinaire.
Key components: White hat or gladiator gear, if you want to go the punny route; lots and lots of businesslike (but still stunning) dresses, coats, and heels, if literal’s more your thing.
She’s 16, she’s currently outselling Miley Cyrus on iTunes, and yes, her debut album is actually that good. Even though the New Zealander doesn’t have quite enough of a “look” yet to be an outfit in her own right (except for her hair — seriously, just LOOK at it), there are plenty of stupid lyrics puns that ought to make the rounds. My money’s on Grey Goose bottles, Maybach keys, and other forms of bling that totally miss the whole point of “Royals.”
Key elements: Will vary, but the most tasteful/ambitious Lorde fans might want to go for her stunning “Tennis Court” video outfit, complete with medieval hairstyle and black lipstick.
For the nerdier among us, the Welcome to Night Vale podcast was the cult success of 2013, bringing the Twilight Zone-esque stories of narrator Cecil Baldwin and the bizarre desert town he loves to millions of fans. Cecil’s soothing voice, eerie monologues, and endearing crush on Carlos the scientist all make him a character worthy of impersonation. But the kicker has to be the convenience factor: who’s easier to dress up as than a character who only exists in mp3s?
Key components: Whatever you want! Most cosplayers tend to favor a nerdy-chic look, plus some miscellaneous broadcast equipment. The truly committed can get their hands on some custom Night Vale gear.
[Insert Government Shutdown Reference Here]
What election costumes (‘sup, Weight Lifting Paul Ryan?) were to 2012, shutdown costumes will be to 2013. Expect lots of sophomoric Boehner puns, a few tactless “shoot the hostage” setups, and lots and lots of lazy “like the government, I’m not doing anything for Halloween!” my-lack-of-costume-is-a-costume jokes.
Key components: Groaning “UGHHHHHH” at random intervals, something American, hopefully a functioning government.