Celebrating Halloween this October requires slightly more planning and caution than in years past, but we don’t intend to let that stop us from putting together inventive costumes for the Zoom parties and quar-pod hangouts ahead. We’ve got ideas galore about how to build costumes from basics you already have at home and how to create costumes that incorporate face coverings without ruining the overall vibe. These on-the-fly outfits work perfectly for both on-screen and responsible IRL Halloween celebrations
Face-Mask Friendly Costumes
Some costumes just work better for our socially distant times. A face mask doesn’t get in the way of these dress-up options because it’s already a part of them. These suggestions can accommodate the colder fall weather, too, since backyards usually get chilly by the end of October.
There’s something very appealing and old-school about a ghost costume. At its essence, it’s a sheet with two eye holes cut out, very uncomplicated, and even...dare we say...minimalist? While it may be lacking a bit in the glamour department, the ghost makes up for it by naturally concealing both faces and face masks, making it a very timely costume indeed. If you’d like, you can always add some personality back into the mix with accessories worn on top of the sheet, such as a hat, wig, or a pair of glasses. If you have the inclination and time to spare, you could also decorate your ghost’s sheet (er, ectoplasmic form) by using fabric markers, a glue gun, and fun trimmings.
All black everything is more than a costume for some people; it’s a lifestyle. If you’re one of them, then this is the Halloween getup for you. But even if you usually wear colorful clothes, the ninja is a simple costume to execute successfully while staying COVID-safe. Start with a one-two punch: a black skull cap or beanie plus a black face mask. You could also opt for a black balaclava if you prefer the simplicity of one piece. A fitted black long-sleeve tee (or turtleneck) and leggings add more zing and show off your curves, too. If you can rustle up a red sash for your waist, go for it. A toy sword, whether borrowed from a kid in your life or purchased at a store, also ups the ante and shows that you put in the extra effort.
A horror movie classic, the mummy’s lure is especially strong this year since it involves face covering by design. The best way to execute this one is by wrapping white streamers around a top that’s either white (to match the streamers) or close to your skin tone (to match your skin). Go heaviest with the wrapping around your head, over your face mask, and across the torso. Keep the bandaging minimal below the waistline so you can go to the restroom easily without wrecking your costume. PS: toilet paper will work in place of streamers if you can’t be bothered to pick them up at the party supply store. Just be prepared that someone will comment on it after this year’s toilet-paper hoarding and availability issues.
This costume can skew bank robber, Wild West bandito, or Mickey Dee’s Hamburglar depending on how you style it. We’re going to assume you’d rather not appear in public as a fast-food chain’s lower-tier mascot, so we’ll stick to the first two iterations. For a bank robber costume, tight black clothing and a ski mask over your nose and mouth will do the trick. A loot bag, aka a pillowcase that’s tied at one end, makes for a fitting accessory. Similarly, the bandito costume can be accomplished with minimal fuss if you stick to the basics: a chambray top, some jeans, and a bandana to cover your face. However, those with even a merely a twinge more Halloween spirit should look into incorporating other Western elements, such as a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, and/or a fringed vest into the look. We know that’s a big ask, but you can probably borrow at least one of these items from someone in your quarantine pod, and it makes the bandito costume infinitely better.
When The Face Mask Is The Costume
Here’s a thought: since you’ll be wearing a face mask anyway, why not make it the focal point of your Halloween look? There’s a ton of great masks available that stand-in for a full costume (the ultimate hack for Halloween dressing) while protecting others from lurking germs.
The Silence of the Lambs Poster
A tip of the hat to whoever thought of this design for a face mask! Channel the 1991 blockbuster movie’s iconic poster, right down to the creeptastic skeleton-moth thingy, with a washable cloth mask and you’ve basically won Halloween.
Winnie The Pooh
This is a beloved character that no one can resist, hunny. If you’ll be accompanying children this Halloween or you’d rather go sweet with your costume rather than spicy or scary, you can’t do better than donning a face mask printed with Pooh’s snout and smile. While it would be adorable to complete the costume with a red top, yellow bottoms, and a bear-ears headband, we won’t judge you if you skip it and let the mask do the heavy lifting here.
Day Of The Dead Sugar Skull
Yes, we’ve seen those much-hearted Instagram pics, the ones with the amazing Calavera (sugar skull) costumes inspired by Mexico’s Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead in English. It’s––unsurprisingly––difficult to recreate high-caliber Calavera makeup on yourself, by yourself, even after the gazillionth YouTube tutorial. Do a detour around that train wreck waiting to happen with a face mask printed with a sugar skull instead and leave the complicated maquillage to the professionals.
Use What You Have At Home
If you’ll be staying in and logging on for Halloween, it might not be worth it to spend your time creating The. Perfect. Costume. No one really notices the details over Zoom anyway! Opt for throw-it-together options that can be assembled last minute like the ones below, which use clothes you have on hand.
It’s a fact: mimes go (silently) crazy for suspenders. You know you have a pair of suspenders lurking in the back of a drawer somewhere, so dig them out and start rehearsing your “I’m stuck in an invisible box” routine. Once the suspenders have been located, clasp them onto a pair of black pants and pull them over the shoulders of either a striped or all-white top. Makeup-wise, you only need to strategically place red lipstick in the center of your lips only for that true mime-y effect, but you’ll get extra points if you make the effort to draw triangles below your eyes with liquid eyeliner. Note to all the Halloween go-getters reading this: do not bother––we repeat––do not bother with painting your face white; it won’t turn out well unless you have access to professional greasepaint stage makeup, which A) you likely don’t have, B) is a royal pain in the keister to remove, and C) is not great for your skin anyway. If you absolutely must take it up another notch, we recommend getting a cheap beret and calling it a day.
Guess who has something tie-dyed in their closet? That would be everyone, including you. Put on your finest tie-dyed duds STAT, whether it’s a tee, a sweatshirt, or a dress, then pair it with jeans, preferably of the bell-bottom or flared variety. That bandana you’ve been wearing as a cover for your nose and mouth can be repurposed as an across-the-forehead headband if you roll it and knot it. Colored sunglasses, particularly round ones, knock this costume out of the park if you have them on hand. Is the hippie chick costume a well-worn cliché? Maybe. Is it near-effortless? Heck yeah––and that’s what counts here. Upload a Zoom background of Woodstock ‘69 to make sure everyone “gets it.” Just be aware that you may see other hippie chicks on your video call because of its strong procrastinator-friendly appeal.
There are more than a few ways to do 80s ladies, which makes this costume a good choice for last-minute revelry (as in, “oops, forgot the Zoom party was at 6:30 pm and it’s 6 pm now”). Version 1, an ode to Working Girl, the movie: put on a solid-color blouse and a blazer with shoulder pads, then trick out your look with teased hair, blue eyeshadow, and pink lipstick. You can add in a pencil skirt and sheer stockings with socks and sneakers if you think anyone will see it, but it’s not necessary. Version 2, in the style of an aerobics devotee: wear your favorite solid-color one-piece swimsuit subbed in for the requisite leotard. If that feels too revealing or if it’s a family-friendly event, layer on an oversized top and drop one of the shoulders down. Gather your hair into a side ponytail and contour blush on your cheeks. Terry cloth sweatbands for your head and wrists make a nice finishing touch if you can swing it. Done!