Arts, Column

Stitzel: Top Halloween Costume Trends To Look out for This Year

Last week, my friends and I were sitting in a booth at Addie’s, enjoying dinner together and chatting about the next few days of midterms when my roommate proposed a question.

“So, what should we be for Halloween this year?” she said. “It’s coming up,”

Chaos ensued. What had been a calm evening turned into an hour-long public debate over costume ideas, with each of us glued to either Amazon, TikTok, or a Buzzfeed quiz from 2019 called “Your Ben & Jerry’s Order Will Predict Your Halloween Costume.” If you’re a college student, you’ve probably been a victim of this annual last-minute scramble.

Fortunately, 2023 has provided some of the best Halloween costume potential content seen in a while, from today’s popular culture references to classic comebacks. 

Here are some new costume ideas for this year, favorites that should make a reappearance, and some tips so that you don’t end up costume-less at the last minute, panic-ordering a cowgirl hat that never shows up.

Think Pink

First, the obvious prediction for this year’s No. 1 costume: Barbie. If living on a college campus—or just anywhere right now—you’ve probably encountered at least one Barbie-themed party, room, or outfit this year. 

Worried it’s going to be overdone by Halloween? Here’s why you shouldn’t be: You don’t have to be Stereotypical Barbie!

In addition to the countless choices for Barbie outfits shown in this summer’s blockbuster hit—journalist Barbie, judge Barbie, lawyer Barbie, mermaid Barbie, weird Barbie, and much more—there’s an entire brand to dig into. 

Costumes inspired by the original animated Barbie movies of our childhood have been making an appearance on TikTok

Another way to honor Barbie in a unique way is to do a Barbenheimer duo costume. But if you’re looking to involve more people in your Barbie-themed costume, try finding someone to be Ken, who was turned into a cultural icon through the movie. These ideas allow for versatile couple or group costumes.

Taylor Swift Takeover

From a summer of Eras outfits to her recent stint making NFL headlines, expect to see Taylor Swift everywhere this Halloween. 

Eras Tour–inspired group outfits will be especially popular, and Swift’s rich discography means there are enough costumes for every single person in your eight-man if you can fight out who gets to wear which album. 

It’s not just for the girls, though: Since Swift and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce have started dating, I expect a lot of couples’ costume plans to have changed at the last minute. Have your boyfriend throw on a Chiefs jersey and call it a day. Or, if you’re feeling creative, choose from one of her multiple ex-lovers.

If Swift isn’t your thing, go for another celebrity with a distinctive style or iconic outfit. Recreating iconic celebrity looks can be high or low effort and endlessly versatile, from Britney Spears’ infamous denim ensemble to that classy photo of Adam Sandler in basketball shorts.

TV and Film Throwbacks

Every year, there are a few staple costumes inspired by recent films and TV. This year, I think we’ll start to see the end of the glittery ensembles inspired by HBO’s Euphoria, and Stranger Things costumes will also be scarce. 

Popular TV- and film-inspired costumes will feel a little different this year, as lots of people might decide to go retro. The aesthetic of Daisy Jones and the Six, released this summer, drew people in with its ’70s style that is easy enough to rock if you’ve got flared jeans and bright colors. 

If bellbottoms and ABBA aren’t your thing, costumes inspired by ’80s and ’90s classics are also making a comeback. Clueless and Heathers span two decades of plaid skirts and feature iconic trios for a group costume. 

If you’re more low maintenance, ’80s movies from The Breakfast Club to Dirty Dancing feature characters who mostly wear regular clothes. No shopping is required.

Classic Comebacks

You know the ones. Every year, amid the whirlwind of new Marvel characters and Disney princesses, there are some things that never change. The angel and devil costumes are a trademark of college roommates everywhere, and don’t expect it to go away. Always timeless—and not basic if you get creative with the outfit—are cowgirls, fairies, and vampires. Don’t want to look for two costumes for a second event? Just add fake blood to your first one. Anything can be a vampire.

Also, nothing says Halloween like just spinning the wheel and picking a random animal. No one will judge you for wearing black and adding Dollar Tree cat ears, or ordering animal onesies in bulk for all of your friends. The most important thing is to be recognizable. 

“What are you supposed to be?” can be a good icebreaker, but it gets old after an entire weekend.

Finally, if you’re still scrambling, don’t panic. Take a look in your closet—or your roommate’s—for inspiration, or browse Pinterest, Instagram, or TikTok. From basic to niche, there’s an idea for everyone. And if all else fails, Amazon has overnight shipping for a reason.

October 26, 2023