Halloween Costume Ideas for Fashion Insiders

From Kylie Jenner’s animalistic Schiaparelli look to a “Tabi Swiper” homage.

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Collage by Ashley Peña

Halloween is fast approaching—and while you might prefer to put off costume consideration until the day before your spooky celebration, trust me when I say, you’ll regret that decision...just like you do every year. Coming up with a cool, funny, timely costume often feels like an impossible task. But inspiration lurks around every corner, including in the world of fashion. This year was filled with eye-catching red carpet moments, wacky runway shows, and viral stories—so much so that you’re basically spoiled for choice when it comes to crafting a unique, fashionable look. Prefer to avoid wasteful purchases around Halloween? Pull from your closet and dress like RHONY breakout star Jenna Lyons, the viral @SubwaySessions girl, or Carrie Bradshaw à la And Just Like That... If you really want to go all in, you can always recreate Rihanna’s Met Gala look or one of Margot Robbie’s many Barbie press tour confections. Trust me, no one else at your Halloween party will be dressed like Kylie Jenner in her animalistic Schiaparelli look, nor the Tabi Swiper. If you want to stand out this Halloween in an unexpected, yet chic look, keep scrolling—we’ve got all the inspiration you need.

Rihanna (and A$AP Rocky) at the Met Gala
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There are so many iconic Rihanna moments from this past year that would make a stellar Halloween costume. The more obvious choice is likely recreating her red-hot Super Bowl look, but if you’re feeling a little more ambitious, we challenge you to raise the bar and go as the singer at the 2023 Met Gala. The all-white Valentino look will be instantly recognizable, and once you figure out the rose-covered cocoon coat, the rest of the ensemble is fairly simple. Follow Angelica Hicks’s lead and make the statement piece out of balloons, or for a more elevated take, you can head to your local craft store and pick up some sturdy fabric. Grab a floor-length white skirt, white fingerless gloves, and attach your largest pair of fake lashes to some sunglasses—and you’ll be feeling expensive just like Rihanna. Bonus points if you have a partner who will wear a kilt and go as your A$AP Rocky arm candy.

Margot Robbie’s Barbie Press Looks
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There are two routes one can take with Margot Robbie’s Barbie as inspiration. First, you can recreate one of her many gorgeous, stylized looks from the film itself. Halloween costume distributers have already capitalized hard on the movie’s popularity, and you can easily buy recreations of her looks with just one click. If you want to be a little more creative, however, might we suggest dressing up in one of Robbie’s Barbie press tour looks? They’re slightly more niche, but still popular enough that you will be recognizable to anyone who logged onto Instagram during the month of July. Of course, if you’re using the press tour as inspiration, that only narrows the field of choice down slightly; even though the premieres were cut short due to the strike, Robbie and her stylist, Andrew Mukamal, still turned out what has to be a record amount of themed ensembles. If you want to give yourself a break, pick up a Barbie-pink tweed set or metallic mini dress and go for one of her more casual outfits. But if you really want to bring the glamour, a recreation of one of her premiere dresses—the Schiaparelli number in Los Angeles or the dynamic Versace look from Seoul—will no doubt make the statement you desire.

Viktor & Rolf Spring 2023 Haute Couture Show
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Now, this one is going to take some real engineering, so only take this project on if, a) you can somehow MacGyver a dress to defy the laws of physics and b) you’re attending an event in which it won’t be extremely irritating to take up an obnoxious amount of room throughout the evening. Don’t plan to take the subway in this one (your only option may be an UberXL, to be honest). But, if you can pull it off, this will be a costume to remember. So far, the only person brave enough to dive into this collection was model Elsa Hosk, who wore it on the Cannes Film Festival red carpet back in May (of course, it has also been featured in numerous editorials). Still, anyone who follows the couture shows will immediately get the reference, and will commend you on your handiwork. Get yourself a nude corset, a quintessential Sweet 16 ballgown, and maybe some cardboard to keep the dress stiff, and you will, without a doubt, have yourself one of the most innovative costumes of the evening.

Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour Ensembles
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Since embarking on her tour in May, Beyoncé has worked with nearly every designer under the sun to create a never-ending parade of concert looks. Of course, this means she has produced an immense amount of Halloween costume fodder, so don’t be surprised if you see quite a bit of Renaissance tour Beyoncés walking around the West Village on October 31st. If you want to make sure your own Renaissance look is “Unique,” go for a more underrated ensemble, like her PP Pink Valentino number or her sporty Ivy park jersey. Or, you can find a friend, snatch up Telfar’s new track sets, bedazzle them, and dance to “My Power” as Beyoncé and Blue Ivy all night. If you want something more recognizable, though, there’s always the Loewe “hands” bodysuit or the Mugler bee.

Kylie Jenner at Schiaparelli Couture Spring 2023
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If you want a costume that will get people talking, look no further than Kylie Jenner’s outfit for the Schiaparelli spring/summer 2023 show. The ensemble that launched 1,000 tweets had everyone arguing. Many believed the inclusion of the incredibly lifelike lion head glorified animal cruelty, while others wondered whether Daniel Roseberry’s design should be characterized as wearable art or a kitschy, attention-grabbing stunt. Per usual, the fashion world moved on fairly quickly from the conversation (to another eye-catching front row look from the same presentation—which we will get to in a minute), but you can keep the discussion going with nothing more than a black bod-con maxi dress and a lion stuffed animal.

Doja Cat at Schiaparelli Couture Spring/Summer 2023
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Of course, anyone who paid attention to that Schiaparelli presentation knows Jenner wasn’t the only one who made a statement in the front row. Doja Cat was also in attendance and also wearing a controversial look. The singer showed up in a red dress with a completely beaded skirt, but it was her makeup that really brought it over the edge—30,000 hand-applied crystals covered Doja’s entire body, including her bald head. According to Pat McGrath, the mind behind the makeup, the look took over five hours to complete, so you’ll likely need to be just as dedicated to pull this off yourself. But hey, Halloween only comes around once a year, right?

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Courtroom Looks
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One might not immediately associate the quiet luxury trend with a potential Halloween costume, but when the looks are as iconic as Gwyneth Paltrow’s courtroom wardrobe from her Deer Valley ski accident trial, it doesn’t matter how simple and subdued the clothing is. Dressing like Paltrow in court is the perfect choice if you prefer to just pull from your own closet for your Halloween costumes. If you have a double-breasted blazer and a pair of platform black leather boots, you’re already halfway there. To really go all the way, we also suggest carrying around a thermos of bone broth, an aggressively large bottle of Mountain Valley water, and a dollar bill to represent her winnings. Oh, and don’t forget to wish people well throughout the evening.

Animatronic Yayoi Kusama
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Louis Vuitton celebrated its latest collaboration with Yayoi Kusama by placing eerily lifelike animatronics of the artist in the windows of stores. The brand insisted Kusama was very involved in the collaboration, and the two teams worked together for a year and a half to bring the project together. They managed to grab people’s attention, especially those who randomly stumbled on the display during an afternoon of shopping. So, if you’re looking for a costume with a little bit of a haunting edge—and one that will definitely spark a discussion regarding the use of Kusama’s likeness in pop culture—just grab a plastic pumpkin, a white dress to cover in dots, and a paintbrush. Oh, and make sure to brush up on your robotic movements.

@SubwaySessions on TikTok

Sometimes memes come and go so quickly, by the time Halloween rolls around, it’s already too late to reference in the form of a costume. One could argue the “Subway Girl” fits into that category. Kristina Avakyan’s out-there styling choices and her mid commute modeling videos got people talking on Twitter for about a week—and by the time the Q&As with Avakyan started getting published, most had already moved on. Since this whole saga occurred in the second half of the year, though, it’s not too much of a stretch to bring it back for Halloween. Plus, like Paltrow’s court looks, this is another costume you can likely pull right from your closet, no purchases necessary.

The Tabi Swiper

Speaking of viral moments, the timing of the Tabi Swiper saga might just be absolutely perfect for an Internet-infused Halloween costume. Earlier this month, 25-year-old Alexis Dougé took to TikTok to share news that left the high fashion side of the Internet in an absolute tizzy—a boy she invited up to her apartment following their second date stole her Maison Margiela Tabi Mary Janes. The video went viral as followers became invested in the return of the cult shoe—and before long, they’d gathered a full profile on the man dubbed the “Tabi Swiper”: his name (Josh), phone number, and the fact that he had a girlfriend who was the proud new owner of a pair of Tabis. The evidence was too great for Josh to deny the accusations, and before long, the shoes were returned to their rightful home. Celebrate this victory for single fashion girls everywhere with a Halloween costume. Simple is better with this one, and dressing up like a classic robber, sneaking around throughout the night with a pair of Tabis in your hand, will be instantly recognizable to anyone familiar with the saga.

The Ludicrously Capacious Succession Bag

Whether you watch Succession or not, chances are you’ve heard about the ludicrously capacious bag. The line, delivered by Matthew Macfadyen in the first episode of the show’s final season, took over the Internet, turning into a mega-meme that led to merch, numerous articles, and even an increase in online searches for the mocked Burberry bag. If you want to pay homage to the moment, you have a few options: either dress up like Bridget “Randomfuck” with her floral Sandro dress and plaid bag—inappropriately taking selfies for content throughout the night—or go as the bag itself. Throw on all the Burberry plaid you can find, and stuff your pockets with “flat shoes for the subway” and a lunch pail, of course.

Carrie Bradshaw on And Just Like That...
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While in many ways, And Just Like That... season two was a marked improvement from its first go-around, there are still some issues that need to be addressed before the show returns for its third season. For one, there’s the fact that, for some reason, Carrie Bradshaw—the ultimate style icon of the late ’90s and early ’00s—was the worst dressed character on the show. (Yeah, I said it.) And while it was disappointing to see this once-legend cover her tiny frame in every tunic, robe coat, and mumu she could get her hands on, there is one benefit to the trainwreck: it makes for a fun Halloween costume. So, grab every clashing pattern, unexpected headpiece, and tote bag you can find (the odd accessory choice has seemingly become Carrie’s new signature), and dress up like the lost fashionista. It will no doubt be your comfiest option out of all the rest.

Jenna Lyons
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Are you a Jenna Lyons fan, or are you just now watching the Real Housewives of New York reboot? The former J. Crew exec has won over the hearts of Bravo watchers with her rational demeanor, aspirational life, and, of course, her closet. Lyons’s SoHo loft has garnered much praise both on and off the TV show, for its chic aesthetic, but also because of its Narnia-esque, never-ending closet. While her co-Housewives throw on every flashy designer item they can find for an afternoon lunch, Lyons’s style is much more low-key. She gravitates toward androgynous pieces, low-cut tops, and inconspicuous brands. That might seem difficult to recreate for a Halloween costume, but in reality, it’s quite easy. Pull your hair into a tight updo, throw on some statement lenses, a deep red lip, and a blazer sans shirt, and you’ll be ready to shill your many brand collaborations to friends all night long.

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