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14 funny Halloween costume ideas for New Yorkers

Celebrate the city you love with our pick of perfect, funny Halloween costume ideas just for New Yorkers

Written by
Evelyn Derico
Time Out New York contributors

There is no city that celebrates Halloween quite like New York—we have some of the nation's most terrifying haunted houses in NYC, as well as a storied history of spooky movie-making (Rosemary's Baby, anyone? Ghostbusters?). But there's one area in which New Yorkers truly excel, and that's Halloween costumes. Our efforts run from the sublime to the ridiculous via memes, zombies and sexy zombies—in fact, we're gonna go ahead and dub this phenom the "zexy" costume. Given that we know your costume is preying on your mind, we've come up with 14 knockout suggestions for New York–themed Halloween costume ideas to suit all tastes. Yes, even you, you weirdo. Let's do this!

RECOMMENDED: All Halloween NYC coverage

Funny Halloween costume ideas

Donald Trump
Photograph: Christopher Halloran /

1. Donald Trump

All gold everything presidential candidate

Key Props: This Halloween, you can be embody the spirit of the Donald by rocking his famous comb-over, a suit, gold bars and a "Make American great again" hat (made in China). Or just be the best un-loser with a sexy Donna T. Rumpshaker ensemble.

What to say: “Loser!” and “I’m really rich.”

Indifferent Brooklyn indie-coffeeshop barista
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Jorge Quinteros

2. Indifferent Brooklyn indie-coffeeshop barista

Killing time between band rehearsals/cigarettes/buying beanies

Key props: Beanie, apron and tattoo sleeves are essential, bangs in your face and thick-rimmed glasses also work well. Note: A glazed, bored expression is vital for pulling off this look. Once you've got that down pat, be sure to light up occasionally and be super chatty with only your friends. No one else. That gets you extra points.

What to say: "Yes. [Heavy sigh] Our cold-press beans are fair-trade artisanal Amazonian small-batch grown." [Look disgusted] "You want a hot chocolate???"

Cat Café
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Chantelle Southerland

3. Cat Café

Kawaii kitten wonderland taking NYC by storm

Key props: Who doesn’t love a cuddly kitten? Dress up as a kitten holding a mug and a newspaper, or attach stuffed-animal cats to you and be a person surrounded by cats.

What to say: “Care for a catuccino?” And [wide-eyed with wonderment and insanity] “Isn’t Mittens PRECIOUS?!”

Pizza Rat

4. Pizza Rat

Legendary za-loving rodent

Key Props: “Winning at life” is a phrase often uttered when describing Pizza Rat, who was filmed dragging a pizza slice in the subway. Put on some ears, cover yourself in grime, walk around with a day-old slice and become the legend that is Pizza Rat. There’s even a sexy version available.

What to say: “Nom nom nom PIZZA!”

McDonalds hot cakes/all-day breakfast
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Stuart Pearce

5. McDonalds hot cakes/all-day breakfast

The answer to many Americans’ prayers

Key Props: Mickey D’s finally started serving all-day breakfast. What better way to pay homage to your favorite fast-food conglomerate than by dressing up as a veritable smorgasbord of their breakfast offerings? Sexy pancakes, people! Get it? Hot cakes. We’ll stop now.

What to say: “May I take your order?”

Cosmo Kramer (Seinfeld)

6. Cosmo Kramer (Seinfeld)

The original UWS hipster doofus

Key props: How about Kramer's Manssiere or his A-S-S-M-A-N license plates? Or recruit a sidekick as your NYU intern turned slave for Kramer's nonexistent company, Kramerica Industries. 

What to say: Be ready to come out with the kind of verbal diarrhea even your drunkest uncle couldn’t muster: “You’re as pretty as any of them. You just need a nose job.”

People waiting on line for Chick-fil-A/Cronut/the return of the Messiah/whatever else people clog up the sidewalk for

7. People waiting on line for Chick-fil-A/Cronut/the return of the Messiah/whatever else people clog up the sidewalk for

Hooray, another fad is here for an afternoon!

Key props: You’ll need three inflatable dolls (that sex-shop worker won’t bat an eyelid, this is New York), clothes to dress them in and some string to tie them to yourself—one in front, two behind. You’ll also want to take some velvet rope and string it alongside your line of impatient tastemakers. 

What to say: “I heard that this new lasagna-muffin hybrid is literally going to completely change my entire life, and I’m going to document every single chew on Instagram!"

Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver)

8. Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver)

Depressed vigilante insomniac, sometime taxi driver (duh). And oh, cinema icon.

Key props: Skull cap and a brush-head; army jacket; zero sleep for a week beforehand.

What to say [delivered, for best result, next to parked yellow cabs or facing mirrored shop windows]: "You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin' to? You talkin' to me? Well I'm the only one here." Steer clear of brothels, maybe.


9. Bedbugs

The perfect group outfit. Welcome at all house parties!

Key props: Brown puffy vest (or garbage bag) for your thorax, brown pantyhose over your arms, stuffed pantyhose for extra arms. Or legs. Ugh. "Blood" smeared around your person-chewing mandibles (dollar-store fangs are fine). And of course, martian-style antennae spray-painted brown. If you've got a group willing to do it, bring a blow-up mattress to seal the joke!

What to say: A maniacal grin should do the trick.

Dr. Peter Venkman (Ghostbusters)

10. Dr. Peter Venkman (Ghostbusters)

NYC's most beloved low-key para-pyschologist

Key props: Tracking down ghoulish spirits and trapping them in metal shoeboxes is no easy task. Actually, it is pretty easy. So you'll need overalls, a receding hairline and tons of cigarettes. A 1959 Cadillac ambulance is a bonus, as is a buddy who's willing to dress up as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Prepare to win Instagram!

What to say: “Yes, it’s true. This man has no dick.”

Radio Raheem (Do the Right Thing)

11. Radio Raheem (Do the Right Thing)

Fight the power! 

Key props: A massive—and we do mean massive—boom box is essential, and must be blaring out "Fight the Power" on loop. (Passersby will love this. Your Halloween crew may need a little break from time to time.) You'll also need Raheem's BED STUY DO OR DIE T-shirt, shorts and Air Revolution kicks, plus his LOVE and HATE rings.

What to say: Say it with the rings, yo.

Julian Casablancas and Karen O
Photography: Jake Chessum

12. Julian Casablancas and Karen O

Our favorite NYC rock & rollers—cooler, even, than cucumber

Key props: For Julian, your basic vibe is good-looking-person-tries-to-go-ugly-and-fails. An oversize denim vest will help. We also suggest greasing up your hair and not sleeping for a couple days. For Karen, that trademark 'do is a must, as is red lipstick, skinny jeans and wicked-pointy shoes. 

What to say: Julian: "Do you believe in life on other worlds?" Karen: "Maybe there are aliens here right now. Maybe they're hanging out." [Read more from Julian Casablancas and Karen O interview each other]

Hannah Horvath (Girls)
©HBO/Courtesy Everett Collection

13. Hannah Horvath (Girls)

An It-Girl for our times

Key props: Depending on your body confidence/the temperature on October 31, here are your options: Ill-fitting floral romper and baggy granny underwear or no clothes at all. 

What to say: "I don't want to freak you out, but I think I may be the voice of my generation."

Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s)

14. Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s)

Fly-by-night socialite (and sure, sort-of prostitute) 

Key props: For NYC girls who want to avoid playing a slutty-anything but still want to look cute, you'll need a little black dress and an impeccable beehive. Practice gazing off into the distance, paper coffee cup in one hand, giant cigarette holder in the other. (Note: We recommend you fill that coffee cup with champagne. Holly would approve.)

What to say: "I've got to do something about the way I look. I mean, a girl just can't go to Sing Sing [insert The Gutter/Max Fish/Rocka Rolla] with a green face."

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