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A scene from the Netflix Show 'Squid Game' of a masked guard in a pink jumpsuit.
Photograph: Netflix / Noh Juhan

17 Halloween costume ideas that are so 2021

From Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala getup to the “I’m not a cat” cat filter guy, 2021 was a treat for Halloween costume ideas

Written by
Emilee Lindner
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There’s no need to put blood, sweat, and tears into coming up with this year’s perfect getup. Why? Because we’ve done the work for you. Our top picks for Halloween costume ideas mix pop culture with politics and plenty of Netflix-inspired looks.

After all, the past twelve months gave us bundles to work with — even if you stayed inside binge-watching Ted Lasso and Squid Game, you couldn’t miss the truly bonkers moments from the past year. But luckily, an oddball year is an outstanding year for Halloween costume ideas— remember when two billionaires flew to space back-to-back, or when Kim Kardashian wore head-to-toe black at the Met Gala like an actual dementor? Yea, “real” life gave us all the inspiration we need this Halloween.

Need a refresher? We’ve recapped the most costume-worthy highlights 2021 has to offer — from salacious celeb couples to a pair of meme-able mittens, there’s a range of sultry, funny, and downright weird ideas for anyone who still needs an outfit for October 31st.

RECOMMENDED: real-life scary haunted houses in the USA

Halloween costume ideas for 2021

Certified Lover Boy
Photograph: OVO Sound

1. Certified Lover Boy

Looking for a group costume? Recreate Drake’s Certified Lover Boy album cover. Drake topped the charts once again this year with yet another surprise LP, but it wasn’t just the music people were talking about. As with previous Drake albums, the internet went into a tizzy over the cover (seriously, it seemed like everybody and every brand put their spin on the pregnant emoji art). Gather your pals—plus a few pillows—and you’ve got this year’s best crowd-pleasing ensemble in the bag.

2. Cat filter guy

Although most of us are experts at this point, not everyone is a whizz at Zoom — including the Texas lawyer who accidentally showed up to a virtual hearing with a cute cat filter on full blast. Keen to be a pro kitty? Dress up from the neck down in your best suit, throw on some cat ears, and follow one of the endless cat makeup tutorials online. Oh, and make sure to say “I’m not a cat!” to anyone who asks about your costume.

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Isolated Bo Burnham
Photograph: Courtesy of Netflix

3. Isolated Bo Burnham

Grow out your beard and skip your upcoming haircut. Quarantined Bo Burnham reflected a whole mood while recording Inside, his emotional rollercoaster of a Netflix special. You don’t need a wardrobe budget to pull this one off—just throw on a white T-shirt and jeans (better yet, forget pants altogether)! And if you feel like it’s not quite recognisable enough, completing the look with a sock puppet pal will put you on the right foot.

4. “MADERNA” vaccine card

This vaccine card definitely won’t get you into the party. Go to town with a marker and poster board to recreate what might be this year’s biggest fail: the infamous fake vax card that misspelled Moderna. Does this look get an A for Effort? No, but we’ll give it a pass nonetheless.

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5. Kim Kardashian at the Met Gala

If you’re playing it safe, maybe you’re wondering how to seamlessly integrate a surgical mask into your Halloween costume. Well, look no further than Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala getup (that was Kim K, right?). While she was dressed in full Balenciaga, all you'll need to do is squeeze into head-to-toe black spandex and go incognito, mask and all, while staying safe at the same time. It’s a win-win.

Cold Bernie Sanders
Photograph: Shutterstock / Lev Radin

6. Cold Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders did not mess around with the weather at President Biden’s inauguration in January. Favouring the practical over the fashionable, Bernie kept cosy with a ski jacket and a pair of mittens that were handmade by fellow Vermonter Jen Ellis. Rock the whole ensemble, or dress up as the mittens themselves!

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7. Lil Nas X at the VMAs (and more)

Lil Nas X gave us look after look this year. Every single one of them is perfect for Halloween inspo, but some are easier to pull off than others (unlike his three-part Met Gala look). For something demonic, choose his 'Montero (Call Me by Your Name)' devil for a twist on the classic Halloween costume. For something a little more glam, his lavender gown and Little Richard-inspired hair from the VMAs outta do it. Or why not go sporty with a full fuchsia football uniform from his 'That's What I Want' video? You’ve got options.

Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR
Photograph: Geffen

8. Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR

Olivia Rodrigo broke onto the pop scene this year with 'Drivers License' and her breakup album SOUR, which featured an extremely Gen Z vibe on the cover: she’s covered in stickers. For those DIY-ers out there, this one is unfairly easy. Obtain stickers, adhere stickers onto your face, stick out your tongue, and you’re done!

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WandaVision
Photograph: Marvel Studios

9. WandaVision

Perfect for the Halloweeners who crave an outfit change or two, take your cue from Wanda, the main character from the hit Marvel series WandaVision. Line up a few costumes from each fantasy world — you can pick a prim ‘50s dress, a casual ‘80s jeans getup, or even a full-blown Scarlet Witch costume. Perhaps one for each day of Halloween week? Just an idea.

10. Instagram photo dump

It’s official: 2021 is the year of the Photo Dump. The direct result of indecisive influencers everywhere, Instagram's carousel gave users the chance to spew their best unedited pics without the usual meticulous curation. Some ideas for your photo dump look include: slapping a bunch of this years’ best selfies onto your shirt; dressing as a dump truck and filling your cargo with printed pics from your grid; getting creative and taking the word “dump” literally. We won’t go into detail.

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Space billionaire
Photograph: Shutterstock / Jared Ortega

11. Space billionaire

Got something to prove? Unless you’re one of the billionaires who launched themselves into space this year, you’re probably not that vain. Poke fun at their astronomically oblivious space race as you climb into your spacesuit and set stacks of cash on fire.

#FreeBritney supporter
Photograph: Shutterstock / Ringo Chiu

12. #FreeBritney supporter

After an uber-successful New York Times documentary, tireless protesting efforts from the Britney Army, and even Spears herself denouncing her father’s hold on her finances and career, the movement to end Britney Spears’ conservatorship finally came to a head in 2021. To celebrate, revisit Britney’s legendary looks for your Halloween costume. Or better yet, go as one of her proud supporters with pink shirts, signs, roses, and the noted hashtag.

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‘Squid Game’ player
Photograph: Netflix / Noh Juhan

13. ‘Squid Game’ player

You knew this was coming: there’s an array of costume ideas inspired by Squid Game, Netflix’s biggest series launch of all time. If you already own a green tracksuit, transform into Lee Jung-jae, the show's main character. Or, with a little more effort, try the all-pink militant look worn by the masked guards. And if you’re planning to go scary, masquerade as the ominous Front Man in a black trenchcoat—but try not to spoil the plot for the last few folks who haven’t finished the series yet, okay?

14. Anakin and Padme

Unearthed from 2002’s Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, this moment between Anakin (Hayden Christiansen) and Padme (Natalie Portman) recently surged through Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram. Padme’s “For The Better?” realisation was a gift for the internet and meme creators worldwide. Regardless of its meaning in 2021, get nerdily nostalgic and dust off your Star Wars costume from the early aughts.

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15. Megan Fox and MGK

Take the sexier route with your partner in crime by channelling the likes of Megan Fox and MGK, whose PDA-filled romance stoked the pop culture fire this year. Take it one step deeper by nailing their exact looks from the 'My Bloody Valentine' music video, a mini horror movie primed for a Halloween viewing.

Bond, James Bond
Photograph: Nicola Dove, DANJAQ, LLC and MGM

16. Bond, James Bond

With Daniel Craig ending his run this year as the iconic James Bond, fans of the British secret agent finally crawled out of their quarantine caves to view No Time to Die on the big screen. Craig donned his famous 007 tux, of course, which gives you every excuse to dress the part, too. Although, if you’re looking for a more stepped-up and colourful look, opt for Craig’s pink velvet suit from the film’s premiere—it got people talking, and so will you.

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Ted Lasso
Photograph: Colin Hutton / Apple TV+

17. Ted Lasso

Ted Lasso was exactly the type of feel-good comedy we needed during the pandemic. Jason Sudekis’s role as the titular character fumbling through his coaching job at AFC Richmond reminded us that people can be good and kind even when times are tough. We expect to see a lot of you dressed as mustachioed managers this year—just don’t forget to smile!

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