23 Ideas For Building a Halloween Costume Around Your Black Dress
Your little black dress is the easiest answer to a Halloween costume, especially since you have probably worn it before and already feel so comfortable in it. And while a breezy white dress connotes summertime, LBDs help us usher in fall, so there's no better reason to construct your entire low-effort Halloween costume around a black dress.
All of the costume ideas ahead start with a black dress, even if they do require some extra layering, involved face makeup, a wig, or additional accessories. Though some beg for a specific style (think a crisp white collar à la Beth Harmon in "The Queen's Gambit" or a full, flutter-sleeved design to achieve a bat), plenty of these creatures and characters can be pulled off with the simplest of sheaths, whether yours is formfitting or loose, long or short.
Ahead, see how Instagram users and content creators worked a lace-trimmed mini into Karen from "Mean Girls," a fringed silhouette into a '20s flapper with elbow-length gloves and a knotted strand of ivory pearls, a floor-sweeping maxi into a dead bride, and a velvet, off-the-shoulder skater dress into a cat.
And, if you feel like you may need to refresh the LBD section of your wardrobe, scope out some of our favorite affordable iterations on the market now from the likes of Amazon, Nordstrom, and Abercrombie & Fitch that apply specifically to the Halloween costumes we curated here, from Maleficent and Bellatrix Lestrange to simpler, more nostalgic DIY Halloween costumes, such as a Beanie Baby, which wouldn't be complete without a makeshift Ty tag.
Shop a handful of black dresses ahead, and keep scrolling for Halloween costumes you can build around them.
— Additional reporting by Stephanie Steiner-Otoos and Samantha Sutton
Black Tank Dress For Halloween Costume
BTFBM Women 2023 Summer Sleeveless Tank Dress ($34, originally $41)
Black Lace Dress For Halloween Costume
Black Feathered Dress For Halloween Costume
Pink Tag Put The Records On Dress ($80, originally $140)
Black Long-Sleeved Dress For Halloween Costume
Good American Gathered Side Long Sleeve Dress ($90, originally $139)
Black Ruched Mini Dress For Halloween Costume
Cleobella Daniella Minidress in Black ($98, originally $248)
Black Slitted Dress For Halloween Costume
The iconic Givenchy number that Hepburn wears in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is fairly easy to re-create: just add accessories. Not really digging the whole cigarette-holder bit? Trade it in for a cup of coffee and bagged breakfast from your local deli.
Basic Ingredients: Sunglasses, a pearl necklace, a tiara, long black gloves, a cigarette holder, and black pumps.
Cruella de Vil
Cruella isn't exactly the nicest of Disney characters, but you must admit: the woman has style. Pair your LBD with a furry coat, red accents, and baby powder to half your head, and boom — your look is complete.
Basic Ingredients: A white furry coat and red gloves.
When you're in a jam, a simple cat costume comes to the rescue. Add a pair of ears and a choker to finish the look, and opt for a textured dress to give off the sentiment of fur.
Basic Ingredients: Cat ears and a choker necklace.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Pay homage to the notorious RBG by reworking your LBD and adding a gavel for an iconic Halloween costume.
Basic Ingredients: A long-sleeved black dress, glasses, and a lace collar.
With the help of one standout hat, your costume is almost done — now all you need is a broom.
Basic Ingredients: A witch hat and a broom.
This might be one of the easiest looks you can put together for Halloween. The only thing you need to do is braid your hair and throw on a black dress.
Basic Ingredients: A white collar and braids.
A tried-and-true Halloween costume, being a skeleton never goes out of style. All you need are black-and-white face makeup and any other deadly accents you want to add.
Basic Ingredients: Black-and-white face paint and a bow (optional).
Fly high this year when you use your LBD to turn into a bat. Wear a black dress, and craft makeshift wings by cutting a wing-like design in a blanket or piece of cloth.
Basic Ingredients: Fabric to create wings and pointy ears.
This is a classic yet simple Halloween costume. As long as you've got the mask, you can accessorize to your liking.
Basic Ingredients: A Scream mask and hooded cloak.
Be as mysterious as Sia for the night with her trademark black-and-white hairstyle and giant hair bow. You don't need dollar bills to have fun, but your compromised vision might require someone to lead you around the party.
Basic Ingredients: A giant hair bow, black-and-white hair, and a white button-up or blazer over your LBD.
Bring back the '90s in no time. Just pick your favorite animal to be, then make a Ty tag to complete this easy throwback costume.
Basic Ingredients: Animal ears and a homemade Ty tag.
The magic is in the makeup for this stunning costume. Copy Natalie Portman's character from the movie, Nina Sayers, with feathered eyes and dainty ballet flats.
Basic Ingredients: Ballet flats and glam makeup; tutu optional.
Just wear a black cape or hood over a black dress and complete the costume with the notorious scythe.
Basic Ingredients: A black hood and a fake scythe.
All you'll need are a wand and some temporary colored hairspray to re-create this iconic Harry Potter look.
Basic Ingredients: A wand, choker, and optional corset.
This "Queen's Gambit" look can be pulled off with an LBD and a red bob.
Basic Ingredients: A wig and crisply collared dress.
Being bad never looked so good. Turn into this "Sleeping Beauty" character when you wear a fierce horned headband and a black dress.
Basic Ingredients: Black horned headband.
To dress up as this "Schitt's Creek" icon, you'll need a black dress, plenty of statement jewels, dark shades, and a wig of your choosing.
Basic Ingredients: A black dress and all the drama-inducing accessories.
Karen From "Mean Girls"
"I'm a mouse, duh." Copy this "Mean Girls" character by pairing a short black dress with mouse ears. Finish off the costume by adding a contrasting ribbon around your waist.
Basic Ingredients: A satin ribbon and mouse ears.
Who needs the rest of the family when you're the queen herself? Dress up as this Addams Family character by wearing dark eye makeup, red lipstick, and a dress with lacy sleeves.
Basic Ingredients: Dark eye makeup, red lipstick, and black lace.
Bring back the roaring '20s when you channel your inner flapper. Wear kitten heels with a feather headband and dainty jewelry, and you'll be transported back in time.
Basic Ingredients: A feather headband and tasteful jewelry.
To pull off this look, top an all-black outfit with some black feathers.
Basic Ingredients: Black feathers or wings.
Hop to it this Halloween when you dress up as a chic bunny. You'll just need long bunny ears and a cotton tail to make this look jump up to the top of everyone's best dressed list.
Basic Ingredients: Bunny ears and a cotton tail.
The black dress is a staple for a Hilary Banks costume from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." Just pile on the accessories, from a printed hat to a designer bag.
Basic Ingredients: A fancy hat and designer bag.