Thanks to “Thriller,” Michael Jackson costumes have been a Halloween favorite for years. His untimely death, however, just moved the costume from parody to homage. This Halloween, you can expect a glut of glove-toting tributes — but that’s no reason to follow suit. Many other deceased musical icons deserve your hastily thrown-together attention. After the jump, our picks, from Biggie to Kurt, along with the essential-icon items that will make you sure to be recognized.
Essential items: Coogie sweater, cane
Pro tip: You could wear a pageboy cap, but why not go for something that truly honors the rapper, and wear a crown?
Essential items: Moist jheri curl or braids, bare-breasted companion
Pro tip: Make sure your costume looks like Rick James, and not Dave Chappelle’s version of Rick James.
Essential items: Leather jacket, jeans, topsiders
Pro tip: You may be tempted to wear a Ramones t-shirt with your costume. Don’t.
Left Eye (TLC)
Essential items: Streak of black under left eye, condoms
Pro tip: Left Eye passed away less than a year after another female R&B great, Aaliyah.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard
Essential items: gold grill
Pro tip: Ol’ Dirty Bastard was the original award-show crasher. Remind anyone you see dressed as Kanye West by interrupting them mid-interrupt.
Essential items: blond wig, green cardigan
Pro tip: If anyone questions the timing of this costume as either too soon, or way too late, remind them that this year’s the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s debut album Bleach. Then kick them in the ass.
Essential items: fake mustache, one piece jumpsuit
Pro tip: He may not be deceased, but get a friend to dress as David Bowie, and you’ll be duet ready.
Essential items: blond wig, smeared lipstick, tiara
Pro tip: *Technically not dead.
Essential items: Blond bowl-cut wig, pirate shirt
Pro tip: Brian Jones joined the 27 Club decades before Cobain. But all of its members (Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison) are worthy of tribute.
Essential items: Santa Claus beard, chopped off right middle finger
Pro tip: If you aren’t willing to cut off the top third of your right middle finger, maybe you should reconsider your dedication to the Jerry Garcia costume.
Essential items: self-mutilation, vomit (fake or real)