Over the years Halloween has evolved into one of my favorite times of year. I’m not the type of person who engages in fan communities and does cosplay, but I find so much joy in figuring out a costume and putting it together. Basically, Halloween preparation is a form of self-care for me – as I’m sure it is for most folks who enjoy this time of year. Even if I don’t have solid plans, I know that I’m going to assemble a costume and wear it somewhere, anywhere, simply because it’s fun and makes me happy.
Below are 10 film and TV-related costume ideas that I was inspired by. Some are relevant, others not so much, but they’re all fun and fairly simple to put together.
1. Arthur & Buster from Arthur
If you’re around my age and grew up watching PBS, then you probably have a warm place in your heart for Arthur. And who doesn’t love that theme song? ♫ Everyday when you’re walking down the street, everybody that you meet, has an original point of view – and I say hey! ♫ Arthur and Buster are super cute and have such a cool relationship, making them a great costume for friends or partners.
PS: Arthur Out of Context is really fun.
2. Dougie Jones of Twin Peaks: The Return
Twin Peaks: The Return was a particularly niche show, so not a lot of folks are going to get this one, but the people who do will love it. When Dougie Jones first came to be, I was honestly a little annoyed at the absence of Agent Cooper. But with his goofy charm and love for coffee, I quickly grew to love Dougie (as did most fans) and also wished that I looked like Kyle MacLachlan so I could be him for Halloween. Quick shout-out to Kyle MacLachlan in general, who’s a damn fine actor and a bona-fide stud!
3. The Grady twins from The Shining
Last year my sister and I went to the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival as the terrifying Grady twins from The Shining, and our look was an absolute hit. It helped that we have brown hair, are pretty much the same height, and are often mistaken for twins, but our commitment and attention to detail is what really brought it all together. For this costume you obviously need to pair up with someone who looks like you in order to pull it off, but if you get it right people will love you.
Here is the exact dress we bought for the look, and then dressed up using pink ribbon and white paper for our collars.
4. Uhura from Star Trek
My boyfriend recently got me into the original Star Trek, and I soon fell in love with the show and all of the characters, including the fiercely intelligent and unflappable Uhura. Watching Star Trek today, it’s important to remember that Uhura was a revolutionary character in the 1960’s. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself was a Trekkie and told Nichelle Nichols, who was considering leaving the cast to pursue another role, that she should stay because her work on the series was of great importance. Be sure to read the NPR interview with Nichols here.
5. Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives
Guy Fieri is so cheesy and definitely not a good person, making him an easy target if you like parodying a loser on Halloween. His look is so specific and over-the-top stupid that I think it could be kind of fun to dress up as him, but at the same time I’m unsure if I would want to parade around as a guy who’s known to be such a jerk. Anyways, I wanted to be sure to include an outdated reality TV star somewhere on this list for variety’s sake.
6. The women of GLOW
Jenji Kohan’s most recent Netflix series, GLOW, was a personal favorite of mine to watch this summer. The comedy details the making of the original GLOW, a 1980’s women’s wrestling show that looks like pure campy fun (the pilot is on YouTube but I haven’t gotten around to watching it yet). GLOW is an acronym for the Glamorous Ladies of Wrestling, which is all you really need to know before you put your costume together. With a great ensemble cast, you can pick a specific wrestler to dress up as, or just be inspired by 80’s wrestling glam in general.
7. Guido from 8 1/2
Oh Guido. How charming, sleazy, troubled, and beautiful. In addition to a full black suit and glasses, this costume requires a brooding, almost seductive attitude. If you’re a complicated artist with a love for Italian cinema and you’ve got a similar look, then Guido might be the costume for you. And even if the people you’re around aren’t familiar with Marcello Mastroianni’s character, you’ll look good while channeling him.
8. Will Smith from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
This outfit is specifically inspired by what Will Smith wears in the iconic opening to the series, but there are so many ways you can go about dressing up as his character from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. This look is comfortable, easy to pull together, and wearable outside of a costume party – which are all qualities I look for when deciding on my own costume. And you can even turn this into a buddy costume if you have someone to dress up as Carlton!
9. Margaret Lanterman, A.K.A. The Log Lady from Twin Peaks
As a Twin Peaks fan, I knew I wanted to dress up as one of the characters this year after the return of the series. Ultimately, I decided on Margaret Lanterman because she’s iconic, the costume will be comfortable, and I already own a number of pieces that will work for the look, so I don’t need to buy too much. I also wanted to give a nod to Catherine Coulson, who died in 2015 shortly after filming her scenes for The Return. Her performance was painfully wonderful, and watching her in The Return is something I won’t soon forget.
10. Toni & Candace, from the Women and Women First bookstore in Portlandia
Oh Portlandia! How I love thee!
Fred and Carrie’s amazing show is ending next year and I’m super bummed about it (yes, TV grief is real). With so many odd characters on the show there are a ton of Portlandia inspired costumes to choose from, but Toni and Candace are two of the most recognizable. Like Margaret Lanterman, dressing up as this duo will be super comfortable and fairly easy if you have access to loose, dark, knitted clothing.
Let me know in the comment section what your favorite costume from this list is, and who you plan on being this year for Halloween! 🎃👻