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halloween costumes for the sartorially challenged [lifestyle]

an assortment of last-minute ideas

If you’re like me, Halloween is the time for last-minute panic and candy indulgence, a time for throwing together the shittiest costume the world’s ever seen and going, “No, you just don’t get the reference,” to people who see right through your Spooky Season laziness. But, as the old adage goes, those who can’t do, teach! Today I’ll be giving you some Halloween costume ideas to try and save you from the inevitable early exits at parties. 

Patrick Bateman from American Psycho: 



Frank Serpico from Serpico: 

This is the perfect costume for those of you seeking to hit that perfect ‘70s balance between grooviness and sleaze. This movie’s range of outfits spans from “Gross Milsurp Guy” to “Gross Big Hat Guy” and will draw plenty of looks no matter what Halloween function you’re attending. After Halloween, you can capitalize on the multiple stylish pieces this costume requires by slipping them into your fall wardrobe. Field jackets and oversized coats will always look good when paired with more casual items like jeans and flannels, including tailored clothing like sport coats and trousers. Aim for more casual fittings to pair with the style of ‘70s fashion. This is also the perfect time to grow out your porno stache/beard combo that everyone in your life has been telling you not to. 

Agent Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks: 

Dale Cooper is the perfect costume for those who have been collecting cherry pie and coffee jokes from the inevitable, extremely confusing TV show marathon during quarantine a couple years back. All you need to do is run down to your local thrift store and find a black suit and tie combined with the lengthiest floor length trench coat they have, and you’re golden. During Halloween, try to tone down on mentioning your prophetic dreams and saying “Damn Fine Coffee” after every sip of literally anything you ingest throughout the day. 


Everyone does Coraline, and considering the title of this article, it’s probably best to stick to what you know. This is a pretty easy one to put together, as all you need is a blue wig and a yellow raincoat. You could also consider dressing up as the movie’s supporting characters. A  benefit of the movie being as ubiquitous during the Halloween season as vaguely inappropriate skeletons is that you can dress high concept or low concept and the costume will still come across. For Ms. Spink and Forcible, you could recreate their pink and green costumes with colored clothing or just their colored robes. Bobinksy could be done by painting your entire body blue and drawing on a mustache or just by wearing the rattiest athletic clothes you have. You could also do Coraline’s Dad (although I know for many of you this might be akin to looking in the mirror) by getting a Michigan State sweater and blue flip flops, or just by wearing what you normally wear combined with your already horrendous posture. This should do the trick amazingly. 

Miss Piggy from The Muppets: 

Miss Piggy is another example of a costume that can be pulled off with both high- and low-concept outfits. On the bottom end of the spectrum, you could just grab a dress you’ve had lying around since you bombed your audition for Chicago, throw on some pig ears, and call it a day. On the higher end, you could take that dress you’ve had lying around since you bombed your audition for Chicago and spruce it up with all sorts of gaudy additions to the outfit. Then you could go deep in character by painting your face pink and method acting for the next week in order to prepare for that one joke you just have to land, because you’ve never been the same since your voice cracked during your audition and goddamnit I just need this.


The real workhorse of Halloween. If you could pick one costume variation to bring with you to a deserted island this would (naturally) be the one to take. Pirate costumes are great because they can be pulled off by anybody with almost any wardrobe to pick from. But effort is what separates the bad pirates (dead) from the good ones (dead at a later date). It's easy to just throw on some brown chinos your mom got you two years ago and a linen top you’ve had lying around begging to be worn, but the little details that show you care are really what's going to push your outfit to the top. Pirate hats, swords, drawstring shirts, giant beards: These are the things that’ll turn your low concept outfit into a really good one without breaking the bank. Goodwill and other thrift stores will almost always have these Halloween items for cheap, so go get yourself a pirate hat and start drinking grog—Halloween is right around the corner.


There we have it. Your last minute Halloween without the stress or scrounging! Stay safe and have fun partying, sequestering, baking, candy binging, or whatever else there is to do on the last day of Spooky Season. 

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