42 Clever and Creative Halloween Costume Ideas For 2023
One of the reasons Halloween is so beloved is because it lets us think differently. The creative Halloween costumes people manage to think up never fail to amaze us. Some of the coolest outfits are DIY Halloween costumes that reference a joke or pop culture event in a really clever way. But there are also store-bought costumes that do the work for you and still deserve to win the award for most creative Halloween costume at any party.
If you're looking for an original Halloween costume, we have 42 ideas to inspire you. These creative Halloween costumes run the gamut from pop culture references (we'll be honest, there's more than one "Barbie" costume on this list) to always-funny puns, and they include cool Halloween costumes you can buy or DIY, as well as creative Halloween costume ideas for solo trick-or-treaters or people in need of group costumes. Let the list spark your own creativity, or use it as inspiration for one or more of your own unique Halloween costumes (you can dress up all month long, right?). We're sure you'll find a scary-good and creative Halloween costume idea that'll have all your friends in awe or laughing out loud all night long.
— Additional reporting by Lauren Harano, Naomi Parris, and Mirel Zaman
Creative Halloween Costumes: Edna Mode
Fashion designer Edna is the most underrated character in "The Incredibles," and dressing up in her trademark A-line black dress, giant specs, and severe bob cut will give you a costume that definitely won't be overlooked.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Devil Wears Prada
Rather than doing a straightforward take on "The Devil Wears Prada," go for a cheeky play on the name of the movie by wearing devilish makeup and some Prada merch (or just write "Prada" on a white T-shirt — same diff).
Creative Halloween Costumes: Miss Universe
Use anything from a little black dress to a trash bag for your universe, and decorate it with an array of colorful planets (with bonus points for scientific accuracy). The final touch is a tiara and pageant sash.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Violet Crawley
Violet Crawley from "Downton Abbey" is the queen of sass. Take inspiration from her this Halloween and deck yourself out with one of the Dowager Countess's wild hats and signature ensembles. Don't forget your cup of tea!
Creative Halloween Costumes: Heather Chandler
"Heathers" is an '80s cult classic, and you can channel the Heathers' leader with some argyle, plaid, and a croquet mallet.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Morton Salt Girl
If you're looking for a costume that's simple and sweet, grab a yellow dress and an umbrella to become Morton Salt's iconic label (but please don't blame us if you get bad luck for opening an umbrella indoors).
Creative Halloween Costumes: Debbie Thornberry
The petulant teenager of "The Wild Thornberrys" is easy to take on with ripped jeans, a cropped orange tank, and lots of snark.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Barbie and Ken
We're leaning heavily into the "Barbie" love this year. Go classic by DIY-ing a Barbie box (and a Ken box, too, if you're doing a twofer costume), and dress in your Barbie best.
Creative Halloween Costumes: A Shrimp on the Barbie
Cute, creative, and super appropriate for 2023, the year of "Barbie," dressing up as a shrimp on the "barbie" will win you applause for the rest of the year. Find a Barbie shirt or make your own, and keep your eyes peeled for a shrimp hat.
Creative Halloween Costumes: ZomBeyoncé
There's only one Queen Bey, but anyone can be a Zombie Beyoncé. Channel your favorite Beyoncé look, then use your makeup skills to transform yourself into a member of the undead.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Reverse Cowgirl
Have a cowgirl costume from years prior? Slip the "reverse" card out of your Uno deck and you have a flirty, creative new costume for this Halloween.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Comic-Book Woman
A little makeup goes a long way with this comic-book-inspired look. Keep your outfit simple and focus on your face.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Bud Lightyear
Go to infinity and beyond this Halloween when you dress up as Bud Lightyear. You'll need to wear a Bud Light shirt and tape Buzz's wings to your back. Cheers to a good "Toy Story" reference!
Creative Halloween Costumes: Chip on Your Shoulder
Grab a cute top, your favorite chips, and a little tape, and you're easily transformed into "Chip on Your Shoulder." Easy, funny, and creative, right?
Creative Halloween Costumes: Smart Cookie
You'll get an A+ for this creative costume idea! Just wear a cap and gown, and carry around a box of your favorite cookies. Done and done.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Royal-Tee
This costume is fit for a queen. Simply write the word "royal" on a white T-shirt, and you're good to go. You can complete your look with a small tiara and jewels if you really want to make it come to life.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Pumpkin Pi
Feeling sweet this Halloween? Dress up as pumpkin pi. (Not a typo.) Wear an orange shirt with a jack-o'-lantern face on it, and tape the pi logo onto your shirt. Math people will love it. Bonus points if you carry around a pie all night, giving out free slices to everyone who laughs.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Party Animals
We love this easy and comfy costume. Just wear a party hat with any kind of animal shirt or costume you have lying around the house, and you're done. You can make it more complicated, but really — why bother?
Creative Halloween Costumes: French Kiss
A french kiss doesn't have to involve lots of PDA. Style this costume with a black-and-white striped shirt, a beret, and bright red lipstick. Throw in a baguette for a tasty prop.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Old Fart
You can definitely make this yourself if you're crafty, or you can snag a Whoopie Cushion Costume ($38). You could stop there, but the addition of some good makeup, a gray wig, and glasses take it to the next level.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Taco Belle
Channel "Beauty and the Beast" with this adorable costume, but rather than carrying around books, you'll be toting a Quesarito, chips and dip, and (of course) tacos instead.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Deviled Egg
Everyone will get a laugh out of this creative costume. Just draw a little yellow circle onto a white shirt and put on a pair of devil horns. Then, let this costume win Halloween!
Creative Halloween Costumes: Bowl of Cereal
This creative costume gives you the option of being any cereal you'd like. Cut open the bottom of a large bucket, attach straps, and adorn the front with the logo of your favorite cereal. For this Froot Loops costume, slices of pool noodles were used to make the actual cereal bits — so clever.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Cereal Killer
Tape mini cereal boxes to a shirt or dress, and cover yourself in fake blood. Use a knife as a prop to really make this costume scary.
Creative Halloween Costumes: French Toast
No foreign language or culinary skills are required for this sweet and simple costume. You can go for a huge cardboard "toast" or just carry around some toasted bread to accompany your beret and striped shirt.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Ceiling Fan
Channel your high school days and grab some pom-poms for this easy-peasy getup. Simply draw "go, ceiling, go!" on your T-shirt.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Travel Bug
Remember the summer, when it seemed like the entire world was going on a European vacation? Channel that energy and go as a travel bug. All you need is a map skirt (DIY it by taping maps to any skirt) and butterfly wings (buy them, unless you're crafty). You can snag this pair of butterfly wings ($10, originally $13) on Amazon.
Creative Halloween Costumes: When Life Gives You Lemons . . .
You make lemonade! Be the bright spot this Halloween with a shirt that says "life" and a bag of lemons.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Vincent van Gogh
This one works as a solo costume (just dress up as the artist, ear bandage mandatory). But it also works as a couple's costume, with the second person dressing up as one of van Gogh's iconic paintings — like "Sunflower" or "Starry Night." The paint-stroke shirts are the clever touch that really brings it all together.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Roller Blade Barbie
This Malibu Barbie Rollerblading One-Piece ($56) is the perfect base for your Roller Blade Barbie outfit: just add bright pink bike shorts, neon yellow pads, and Rollerblades (you can buy the ones in the movie here). Or, if you're playing it safe (are Rollerblades the best idea on Halloween?), you can opt for a neon sneaker instead, like the Nike Pegasus 40 ($130), which come in a highlighter-yellow "volt" colorway.
Creative Halloween Costumes: "Ted Lasso"
The "Ted Lasso" fandom is still going strong, and there are so many great characters to dress as, from Ted himself (mustache and "Believe" sign mandatory) to Coach Beard, Roy Kent, Keeley, Nathan, and more.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Army Men
Another DIY costume, all you need to nail this clever look are some green face paint and a green outfit — and maybe a helmet (though a green beanie will do in a pinch). It makes good use of the cargo-pant trend you bought into this past year.
Creative Halloween Costumes: LED Figure
This clever LED Stickman Halloween Costume ($110, originally $130) will make a big splash and is perfect if you plan to visit a haunted house or go trick-or-treating. We especially love the fact that it allows you to dress as warmly and comfortably as you like — no itchy fabrics or impractical shoes necessary.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Head in the Clouds
This creative Halloween costume is easy to make at home. Just stick some cotton "clouds" onto a blue pool floaty or piece of cardboard with a large hole cut out for your head. Not that crafty? Buy this Etsy Head in the Clouds Costume ($31) which is ready to go.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Mona Lisa
This Mona Lisa Costume Kit ($19, originally $33) is another one that lets you wear comfy clothes and still be dressed up. Go for a black or neutral outfit so all the attention is on your beautiful face, and experiment with makeup to help you really blend in. Then, just practice your smile.
Creative Halloween Costumes: "Seinfeld"
In case you can't tell, we love a costume that looks really dressed up but still lets you be comfy, and a "Seinfeld" group costume does just that. Get the gang together, pick a character, and go for it — and remember, the subtle touches (Kramer's hair; Elaine's blazers; George's puffers) make all the difference.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Back to the Drawing Board
This punny Back to the Drawing Board Costume ($50) is pretty simple to DIY if you have some key pieces: a piece of cardboard or thick posterboard, binder clips, a dry-erase marker, and a way to strap it all on your back. Just beware: people will draw on you throughout the night.
Creative Halloween Costumes: Sour
With the release of Olivia Rodrigo's second album, "Guts," it's a great time to replicate her iconic cover art from her first, "Sour." A tank top, a plaid skirt, and lots of (face-safe) stickers pull the look together.