20 Genius Pop Culture Halloween Costume Ideas

Rachel Adler
20 Genius Pop Culture Halloween Costume Ideas
21 Start slideshow

Silly but true: For some, figuring out what to be for Halloween can be more stressful than a first date or job interview. The pressure to impress is real—especially for those of us acutely aware that there’s nothing more basic than taking the easy way out with an intentionally “slutty” getup.

The best resource for creative costumes? Pop culture, of course. Given the number of headline-making celebrities, obsession-worthy TV shows, and buzzy viral sensations, there are more than enough ways to kill it on October 31 without reverting to traipsing around dressed as a sexy nurse or a sexy cat or a sexy bumblebee or a sexy librarian …. You’re better than that!

Here, 20 of our favorite pop culture costume ideas to try this Halloween.

MORE: Halloween Costumes to Create with Just Eyeliner


0 Thoughts?
1 of 21

Look to Cookie Lyon or Miley at the VMAs for a Halloween costume that's on point this year.

Photo: Fox.com; Warner Bros; Getty

Kylie Jenner's Lips: Sure, there may be more to Kylie Jenner than her lips, but they're really all we've talked about for the past year (and then some). So why not just go as her most famous asset? Obviously make sure your own lips are nice and plump for the occasion, which will require a few things: a Fullips lip plumper, Kylie's favorite MAC Cosmetics lip pencil in Spice ($16.50), and a classic nude lipstick. Then, pair it with a lip print dress, and you're set.

Photo: Taylor Hill / Contributor

Empire's Cookie Lyon: Taraji P. Henson's portrayal of Cookie Lyon has easily become our favorite thing to watch this year. For this costume, you'll need an epic purple lipstick, such as MAC Cosmetics Lipstick in Heroine ($17), and perfectly groomed and penciled-in brows—try Pixi Natural Brow Duo ($16), which is easy enough for anyone to master. Then, set a flawless wave in your hair; we recommend professional help for this or just a fab, pre-set wig. For the outfit, a purple fur wrap ($70) is essential, as well as a bold print dress to complete the look.

Photo: Fox.com

Kim Kardashian's #BreaktheInternet Cover: As much as we hate to admit it, the Kardashians do constantly #BreaktheInternet, and this costume will be one of the most fun to pull off for Halloween. All you need is a black sequin dress ($79), a bottle of champagne, and a sleek top knot. Find some black gloves ($8.99) and pearls ($7.99) to accessorize with as well.

Photo: Paper Magazine

Miley's VMA Outfit: Miley Cyrus has worn plenty of out-there garments over the past year, but her VMA-hosting attire still had us talking. Her red carpet outfit turned heads simply because, well, her butt sparkled. All you'll need for this is a great roll of duct tape and some DIY skills to add sparkly gemstones to a nude skirt (because we're begging you to cover a little skin). For makeup, go heavy on the neon blue liner—we love LA Girl Endless Auto Eyeliner in Neon Blue ($5)—and top it off with a bright red-orange lip, like Miley's eponymous MAC Viva Glam Miley II ($17). And don't forget a blonde dreadlock wig ($23); just attach the whole thing to your ponytail!

Photo: C Flanigan / Contributor

Blond Bieber: Bieber has gone through some tough times, but his blond days may be the hardest for us to stomach. All you need to pull off this look is a blond "Kate Gosselin" wig ($25), some shredded jeans, and a leather jacket. Bonus points if you wear the polka dot shirt ($22).

Photo: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Taylor Swift 1989 Cover: OK, so T. Swift's 1989 has been out for a while now, but it's still as buzzy as ever—especially with the recent Ryan Adams remake. First, buy a plain sweatshirt and draw birds on it. Then add a bright red lip—try CoverGirl's Colorlicious Lipstick in Candy Apple ($5.39). Finally, get a paperboard, cut out the center of the square, write T. S. 1989 at the bottom, and hold it in front of your body all night long.

Titus from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Playing everyone's favorite character from the hit Netflix show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Tituss Burgess won us over with his song "Pinot Noir." We clearly do not condone blackface in any shape or form, but you can easily slick your hair back, don a burgundy robe ($6.26) and matching pajamas ($33), and call it a day. Just don't forget your bottle of wine.

Jon Snow's Death: If you're a die-hard Game of Thrones fan, the finale from this season killed you. Well, really it killed Jon Snow, and we'll all miss seeing his long locks on our screens forever. To get this look, invest in a curly wig ($46) and some fake blood. You'll also need to draw on a beard and mustache with some brown eyeliner.

Photo: HBO

Snapchat Ghost: We're all obsessed with the social media app of the moment, Snapchat, so it's only right to dress up as the Snap ghost. You'll need a yellow outfit (of course), but you can go as slutty or as covered as you like. Then, cut out a bunch of ghost patterns, and tape 'em right on. To add to the effect, put on some black sunglasses and use lip liner to draw a little pink tongue sticking out of your mouth (our favorite ghost can get a little playful at times).

Photo: Snapchat

Chanel Oberlin in Scream Queens: The hottest new show of the season features a villain we can get behind: Chanel Oberlin. She's a sorority president and the queen of the mean girls, so naturally she's decked out in big pearl necklaces and preppy outfits. To get the look, side-part your hair, secure it in a half-up style (she always has it pulled out of her face), and loosely curl the ends. Apply a touch of blush and some pink lip gloss like Neutrogena's MoistureShine ($8.99). Wear a pink cropped sweater like this cheapie from Forever 21 ($11.99), a white A-line skirt ($20), and lots of costume jewelry.

Photo: Fox.com

Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road: While we were honestly most thrilled about the fact that Charlize Theron could pull off a buzz cut, Mad Max was one of the most hyped films this year for many, many other reasons. All you need to pull off Furiosa is some black eye shadow (smudged all over your forehead) and a dirty T-shirt.

Photo: madmaxmovies.com

Amy Schumer in "Milk Milk Lemonade": Our favorite comedian of the moment, Amy Schumer, reminded us all what butts are really about in "Milk Milk Lemonade" earlier this year—kicking off the year of Amy with a … splash. The stand-out look is easy to re-create with a high ponytail, severe contour, and some false lashes. Then just grab a yellow waitress uniform and some sky-high heels.

Photo: YouTube

Conscious Uncoupling: Because we'll never get enough of this phrase, you should dress up as it for Halloween. Duh. The hard part of this costume is turning yourself into Gwyneth, because no one is that luxe. If you have a fancy, figure-baring dress, wear that. Flat iron your hair to oblivion and part it down the middle. Then clamp on one side of a pair of fake handcuffs … and leave the other side un-cuffed and flapping sadly in the wind.

Photo: Stefanie Keenan / Contributor

Kanye for President: Hands down, the best part of the VMAs was when Kanye announced his bid for presidency. Make this the easiest costume ever, and just go as a sign: Kanye 2020, of course!

Photo: Christopher Polk/MTV1415 / Contributor

Rihanna in "Bitch Better Have My Money": Our girl RiRi has laid a bit low this year, but her hit "BBHMM" reminded us all why we miss her so. Get a nude bodysuit ($15.38), splatter it with red paint, and tape some (fake) dollar bills to it. To really finish off the look, you'll need a tousled red wig as well.

Photo: YouTube

The Left Shark: The best part of the Super Bowl was, of course, the Left Shark, dancing on his own. In case you don't want to invest in an entire shark costume ($99), you can instead wear a blue and black outfit and paint your face blue on the outside and white in the center. Make sure you paint on stark, black gills. Then trace black teeth outlining your mouth, and wave your hands wildly.

Photo: YouTube

A Yeezy Model: We admit we're a little ashamed to have Kanye on this list twice. But a Yeezy model costume is the easiest last-minute Halloween getup to pull off basically ever. All you need is a beige leotard, beige leggings, and if you feel like it, a beige hoodie. Then just put hair back into a sleek, low ponytail (tied at the nape of the neck). Add a baseball cap if you have one in the same color family.

Photo: Randy Brooke/Getty

That Damn Dress: Black and blue … or gold and white? It's the dress that broke up relationships. So why not continue the argument as a Halloween costume? Get a plain white dress and paint stripes of black and blue on one side and bands of gold on the other. If you're really committed, continue this paint job across your face as well. Or, simply wear pretty makeup—just make sure you mess with people's minds with your outfit.

Photo: swiked.tumblr.com


A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on


A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

North West: There are countless ways to pull off a costume of our favorite celeb child: a white tutu and a Balmain, chains with ballet slippers—the list goes on. But what truly matters when it comes to dressing up as our dream daughter is that you have a sleek topknot, some diamond studs, impeccable style (of course), and a whole lot of 'tude.

Photo: @KimKardashian

The Donald: Since Donald Trump's campaign is the gift that keeps on giving, it's time to pull out the faux tanner. Layer on the darkest fake tan you can find, and invest in a great toupee. Throw in a red tie and a few funny faces here and there.

Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Next slideshow starts in 10s

Why You Should Reconsider the Pussy Bow

Why You Should Reconsider the
Pussy Bow

Promoted Stories