The fall beckons in one of the best holidays: Halloween. Other than the candy, which admittedly is one of my favorite things about this holiday, being able to dress up is something that brings me a great deal of joy. And while there’s no telling what or how this year’s festivities will look, that doesn’t mean we can’t get into the spirit to celebrate this year. If you’re still wondering, “What Halloween costume trends will come from this time?” I’m placing big bets that the biggest Halloween costume trend will come from one of the hobbies that have filled many people’s quarantine: binge-watching TV shows.
Yes, I'm talking about costumes inspired by television’s most popular shows of the moment. Because let’s be real—we’ve been spending a copious amount of time with stylish television characters, have fallen in love with the costume designers behind breakout shows like Normal People, and have comfort in rewatching ’90s television shows, so why wouldn’t our Halloween costumes be inspired by them this year? Not only are these ideas versatile enough to be worn for binge-watching at home or socially distanced gatherings, but they can also include pieces we already own so that we’re not spending extra money on a pair of wings we wear once.
Still not convinced television show–inspired Halloween costumes are going to be the biggest trend this year? Keep scrolling to see the most binge-worthy shows that are bound to inspire your Halloween costume, along with how to recreate this trend at home with what pieces you already have at home.
Halloween Costumes Inspired by Netflix Shows
Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images
WHO: Tia and Tamera
WHAT: Denim separates and a vintage print flannel.
If you’re quarantined in your bedroom, pay homage to two of the most iconic teenagers on television and let Tia and Tamera Moweryfrom the ’90s Disney show Sister, Sister inspire your costume. You can unearth an old pair of overalls or denim and even try to match with a sibling.
Ahh, who could forget the part of quarantine when all anyone could talk about was Netflix’s original series Tiger King? Whether you’re feeling nostalgic, humorous, or wanting to put the least amount of effort into your Halloween costume, taking a cue from Carole Baskin (or Joe Exoctic, if you prefer) and throw on your animal prints. Bonus points if you wear the print head-to-toe.
Lately, Netflix has brought back some of the most iconic television shows from the ’90s, including Moesha, starring Brandy. Not only was she a feminist icon, but she also served some looks that made us all want to rush home after school. After all, even celebrities like Issa Rae have paid tribute to her iconic style. But beyond her signature style (which inspires the perfect costume), this show’s championing of Black designers is what made it (and still makes it) one of the most stylish shows to date.
WHAT: Striped button-up shirt and oversized sunglasses
If you’re aiming for the most dramatic costume with the least effort, look no further than a look from Schitt’s Creek. While the Entire Rose family is the talk of the town when it comes to looks (and in fact, you could make this a group costume if you’re quarantining with family), no other family member quite provides as much endless costume inspiration or wigs like Moira. Just watch a few episodes and you’ll get the gist.
WHO: Joan Clayton, Maya Denise Wilkes, Lynn Ann Searcy, and Jill Marie Jones
WHAT: All-black dresses
Don’t get me wrong—I will always love Sex and the City (in fact, if you keep scrolling you’ll know I’m serious about it), but the first time I saw Girlfriends, I wondered how I ever lasted so long without it. For ‘90s television-show aficionados, Tracee Ellis Ross fans, or just people who love a funny-yet-dramatic show that reflects life honestly, this is the throwback series for you. Not only did it just land on Netflix, but it’s also the perfect inspiration for your group of friend’s upcoming Halloween costume. Whether you spend it with them IRL or on Facetime wearing matching costumes, this coordinated look will make you feel like the girlfriends are back together.
For those of us who live for the opportunity to slip into something fancier, this year hasn’t provided as many options for the chance to do just that, but maybe it’s not too late. This Halloween you can still live in the spotlight (even if it’s at home) by channeling Camille Washington from Netflix’s original series Hollywood. Not only does the show star the stunning Laura Harrier, but the show’s golden age-inspired costumes are also the perfect inspiration for a truly vintage costume.
There’s only one show on Netflix that can really make anyone want to dress up, and that’s Pose. The series not only features amazing actors like Billy Porter and Angelica Ross, but it is also a treasure trove of inspiration for costume ideas. If you’re looking to reuse those angel wings from last year’s Halloween costume, take notes from the one and only Elektra and make 2020’s look extra spicy.
The effort extended to planning a Halloween costume can go from doing the least to doing the absolute most. We can’t think of a better character who can do both than the subject of Hulu’s original series The Great starring Elle Fanning. Based extremely loosely on the life of the Russian empress, Catherine who became one of the country’s most popular rulers, the show is perfect for a good laugh, and ample costume inspiration. Whether you choose to go all out and fasten up your corset or stay in your nightgown this Halloween, any Catherine-inspired costume is sure to be great.
WHAT: White T-shirt, vintage-inspired sweater vest, jeans, and Dr. Martens
I’m still upset over the cancelation of Hulu’s original series High Fidelity, but there’s no reason not to pay tribute to this show. Not only does it star Zoë Kravitz, but the ’90s-inspired looks are everything. And since grunge is a trend that’s going to be huge this fall, investing in a few pieces that you can wear to channel Robyn on All Hallows Eve and beyond is the perfect call.
Antagonists always have the best style. Case in point? Female assassin Villanelle from BBC’s award-winning show Killing Eve. Since the pilot episode, this show has featured acting and plot twists that have left viewers with literal goosebumps. (Not to mention it has served some of the most deadly looks to boot.) While there are a plethora of Villanelle looks you can channel this Halloween, the easiest is probably a black wrap dress from your closet paired with a black veil to slay the evening.
WHAT: Black turtleneck, corduroy miniskirt, shearling coat
It’s very rare for me to finish a full season in one sitting, but Hulu’s adaptation of the novel Normal People is an exception. If you get squeamish about horror films, then bump this romantic drama to the top of your watch queue. Candidly, this show is not only downright sexy but the protagonist, Marianne, has a style evolution throughout the show that also provides good costume ideas. Whatever look you plan to replicate, make sure something vintage is in the mix to nail Marraine’s signature look.
WHAT: Seventies-inspired sweater, bell-bottom jeans, and aviators
If your Halloween costume tradition has always been to make a nod to a historical figure, then this costume idea is right up your alley (and more relevant than ever might I add). While at first glance, I was dubious about FX’s premiere of Mrs. America on Hulu, I found myself transfixed after the first episode. Not only is the show intriguing from a historical perspective, but the ’70s-inspired ensembles and the nod to feminist icons like Gloria Steinem, is ripe for inspiration of all kinds. Just be sure to finish off your costume by adding voting-inspired accessories that you can wear beyond Halloween and into the voting booth come November 3.
James Sorenson/20th Century Fox Tv/Kobal/Shutterstock
WHO: Buffy Summers
WHAT: Minidress and knee-high boots
If you’re looking for a bit of a more traditional Halloween costume idea, then look no further than the classic late ’90s television show Buffy The Vampire Slayer (now streaming on Hulu). Not only is this show perfect for binge-watching to get you in the Halloween spirit, but Buffy’s style also still slays to this day. Chokers and corsets? It’s hard being the Chosen One (and consistently serving up looks), but hey, we’re grateful for her services.
WHAT: Tweed jacket, pencil skirt, and pearl earrings
The best acting can make a fan hate the actor. This was the case with Reese Witherspoon starring as Elena Richardson in Hulu’s adaptation of Little Fires Everywhere. As an avid Witherspoon fan, I spent days arguing with friends over texts about the characters and who was “right,” but what’s not debatable is the fact that Elena is one stylish antagonist. With her classic approach to ’90s businesswoman style featuring tweed coats and button-ups and wrap dresses, this is a character that makes for an easy Halloween costume.
WHAT: Jeans, a T-shirt, and an interesting bomber jacket
Possibly one of the most talked-about shows of the year (for good reason) is HBO’s original series I May Destroy You is a must-watch for anyone who hasn’t gotten around to it yet. Directed, written, and starring Michael Coel, the show explored topics that can be scary (not Michael Cougar scary but based in real trauma) resulting in a show that will rock you to your core. Just take a cue from Arabella’s own last-minute Halloween costume and opt for a little black dress you already own with spooky accessories.
WHAT: A nude tank top and your signature gold necklace
There are still so many outfits from Sex and the City that are seared into my brain. After all, who could forget the summer Carrie Bradshaw wore that infamous tube top and a cowboy hat? No matter the circumstances—whether working from home or out and about—Carrie always dressed to impress. And although her wilder looks may be the most memorable outfits, a simple tank top and a nameplate necklace for Halloween is an uncomplicated way to channel classic Carrie.
WHAT: Your favorite hoodie, jeans, converse, and a bold eye-makeup look
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I can’t stop thinking about the outfits in HBO’s original series Euphoria. And while we’re still awaiting a second season, there’s no reason you can’t pay homage to the show (and queen Zendaya herself) than by channeling her style for your Halloween costume. It’s pretty easy since you can wear your comfiest clothing, but you’ll want to allocate a little extra-time to re-creating those makeup looks.
WHAT: Straw hat, earrings, white blouse, vest with matching skirt
You can’t do a roundup of stylish television characters (or costumes, for that matter) without mentioning the one and only Hillary Banks of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Sure, she’s not the show’s main character, but her looks stole the show and are still stylish to this day and make for the perfect Halloween costume inspiration. With fall’s biggest trends including an emphasis on skirt suiting, channeling Hilary Bank’s iconic two-piece suits for Halloween is the perfect investment for the night that will serve you through the rest of the season.
The best television characters undoubtedly strike the perfect balance between being despicable and admirable (with a pinch of style on top). Shiv Roy from Succession fits the bill. If you're vying to take over the family's media conglomerate, you have to look the part, right? Beyond providing a provocative look into the world of the uber elite, Roy’s outfits embody a work wardrobe capsule that’s classically stylish. Just wear a great blazer or an A-line dress you already own. Or, if you’re up for it, this is a great excuse to invest in a new piece that can be worn beyond Halloween.
WHAT: Printed long-sleeve mesh top, miniskirt, Telfar bag
Anyone that’s watched the last season of HBO’s original series Insecure, directed by Issa Rae, is well aware of the fact that there are so many good looks (thanks to the costume designer, Shiona Turini). I won’t give any spoilers, but what I will say is that it’s a season in which Issa comes into her own in many ways, all while providing ample Halloween costume ideas, might I add. Sure, it’s not an over-the-top look, but if you’re looking for an excuse to cop that Telfar bag, this is your sign.
Halloween isn’t Halloween if you’re not willing to step outside of your character and into the world of someone else's—no matter how sci-fi it might feel for the evening. And what better way to do just that than to channel the HBO series Watchmen? Whether you opt to channel the protagonist, Angela Abraham’s character’s signature Sister Knight costume, or Doctor Manhattan himself, this is a costume idea (and show) that just gets better with time.