Halloween is fast approaching, and with it the stress of selecting a costume. Everyone has their own criteria, but generally you want to be culturally on point, plus a healthy level of edgy.
Every year brings its own cultural moments, but this year has provided a particularly bumper crop, with a number of pop culture and fashion phenomena burning up our screens and headphones. If you’re a garbage person, you could dress up as a bound and gagged Kim K; if you’re not a garbage person but still want a relevant Halloween get-up, check out the list below.
It should go without saying, but we do not endorse blackface in any way, shape or form, so if you’re thinking about dressing up as someone who isn’t the same skin shade as you, just print out a mask instead. Here are the 10 best Halloween costumes for 2016:
If you’re looking for an iconic group costume for you and your squad this year, the most obvious choice is the kids from Stranger Things.
The kids change their outfits frequently throughout the show but there are some staple items that will clearly identify you - a light brown curly wig and a red, white and blue flat peak cap will turn you into Dustin. Unfortunate abductee Will’s red vest and plaid shirt could double as a Marty McFly costume in the future, and there is of course Eleven’s pink Peter Pan collar dress, denim jacket and Chuck Taylor combo.
If you’ve got more than five people to cater for, throw in a disheveled Sheriff Cooper, Joyce Byers wrapped in Christmas lights or a sinister Dr Brenner.
Already a Halloween and horror house staple, the disturbing arrival of real-life creepy (but not necessarily killer) clowns stalking neighbourhoods all over the world in the last few months makes this costume unnervingly on point.
Some stores have rapidly sold out of clown costumes, however, so you might want to get on this sooner rather than later. Bonus costume layer: you could wear a dark, conservative suit, shirt and tie under your clown overalls to double up as the Zodiac Killer (aka Ted Cruz).
The Conjuring 2 was one of the biggest horror films of the year, and much like its predecessor, it has spawned an terrifyingly iconic character that looks set to headline its own spinoff film - the demon Valak who took the form of a less than benevolent-looking nun.
You should be able to source a nun costume from most costume stores (sexy version optional), and then you just need fairly standard white and black face paint or make-up. If you’ve previously dressed up as Marilyn Manson, the make-up should be pretty straightforward.
Pablo Escobar managed to combine dad-chic with druglord, and as a result dressing as the Colombian cocaine baron most recently portrayed by Wagner Moura in Netflix’s Narcos could potentially add some reusable items to your wardrobe.
Whether you opt for the Escobar ’80s dad look or a floral shirt and khakis, you should be able to at least use certain costume items for future costumes, if not your actual wardrobe. This makes Pablo Escobar one of the more value for money – and still relevant – costumes for 2016.
If you’ve got a couple of squad members to accommodate, they can accompany you as DEA agents Steve Murphy and Javier Peña, either in an ill-fitting 1970s suit or a shiny leather jacket, tight blue jeans and aviators.
If you have the good fortune to be a burly, handsome black man, your go-to Halloween costume has to be Luke Cage. Not only is it supremely relevant, with the Netflix series being labelled Marvel’s best yet, but you’ve got numerous options.
You could go low-key (but potentially dangerously political) with a bullet hole-riddled hoodie. You could also go a little more subtle, with a zip-front work shirt from Pop’s barbershop, and maybe a broom.
Your third option is to go full blaxploitation Cage, with the yellow, unbuttoned shirt, tiara and cuffs - although you will probably have to endure a whole night of people telling you you look like a fool.
U.S. Election - Trump, Clinton and Bone
Iconic politicians are always an easy costume, particularly for guys, as all you need in terms of an outfit is a suit. This year, however, guys will need a suit, a finely-woven mop and Jersey Shore levels of tan to achieve an accurate Trump, maybe adding a “Make America Great Again” cap (made in China, of course) to really complete the look.
Ladies who can source a decent pant or skirt suit have 80% of a Hillary Clinton outfit down; if you’re able to source a Hillary wig, this is probably a much easier option than trying to wrangle your own hair into a crisp Hillary blow-wave.
Double-up on your costume's value by combining politically hot with one of the most meme-able personalities of the year – Ken Bone. There’s even a sexy version of his iconic red sweater available.
Chef Action Bronson
The only costume guaranteed to be both on point and keep you fed this Halloween. You will need a five-panel hat, baggy shorts and T-shirt and maybe some Ultra Boosts (preferably with laces undone).
The most important elements of the costume, though, are the beard, a bong in one hand and a sandwich in the other. Bonus points if you can get a friend to roll with you dressed like Mario Batali (hopefully more successfully than Boyle in Brooklyn Nine-Nine) or Big Body Bes.
Pokemon Go has been a cultural phenomenon like nothing else in 2016, and provides an incredibly wide range of costumes and characters to choose from.
If you’d prefer to retain your human form, you could dress as a trainer or the Professor (some people have confessed to finding the animated Professor alarmingly attractive, so it could potentially help your game). Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle are probably the most recognizable Pokemon, and onesies of most of these characters are readily available.
If you really want to impress, you could put together a Jynx outfit - this Pokemon is basically Nicki Minaj in Pokemon form, and it’s one of the few Pokemon costumes you could put together with regular clothing.
Where to start with Kimye? The couple have hundreds of key looks to choose from that would make excellent costumes, but a popular choice seems to be the recreation of Kim’s infamous Met Gala dress of 2013, which had the world wondering if she’d made it from couch or curtain fabric.
The couple’s Vogue cover is also great option to recreate, if you happen to have a glorious ivory dress lying around. As for Kanye, find a floaty patterned blouse, pair it with some ripped jeans and some Yeezy Boosts, and you’re sorted.
Beyonce - "Hold Up"
All you need to recreate Beyonce’s look from her delightfully destructive “Hold Up” video is a mustard-colored maxi dress, a wig that resembles Bey’s golden locks and a baseball bat (you might want to obtain a foam or inflatable one if you are planning on heading to a bar or club, as security are probably not going to look kindly on you packing an actual bat).
You could argue that it’s not really a scary costume, but just imagine yourself in Jay Z’s shoes watching that video and you’ll probably start to feel a pretty strong sense of fear.
For more in the way of Halloween costumes, check out our roast of these offerings on Amazon.