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The best costumes for Halloween 2023

We’ve rounded up some quick, clever disguises for the spooky season

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six Halloween costumes superimposed onto a purple and orange background Graphic: Alice Newcome-Beill/Polygon | Source images: Amazon [superimposing product photos onto a stock image]
Alice Jovanée (she/her) is a commerce writer, and she has been writing about gaming and tech since 2005. Prior to Polygon, she worked at publications such as The Verge.

The spooky season is finally upon us, which means unless you want to be caught without a costume when Halloween rolls around, you’ll want to start shopping now. To lend you a hand ahead of the witching hour, we’ve collected some easy and affordable costumes based on our favorite games, shows, and movies.

Between movie and TV hits like John Wick Chapter 4, Oppenheimer, and Good Omens, 2023 has been a banner year for dapper dudes in suits on the big screen. However, if you don’t feel like splurging on a new suit this Halloween, there are plenty of low-cost options for impersonating your favorite on-screen characters whether you’re looking for something simple, snuggly, or stunning.

The Bear costumes

Carmy (Jeremy Allen White) standing in a walk-in fridge talking to Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) while Marcus (Lionel Boyce) pokes his head in the door. Image: FX Networks

Funnel your overwhelming personal anxiety into an inspired Halloween costume this year. Just pair some one part existential dread with an equal parts apron, quart container, and authentic Chicagoland Beef t-shirt, and you’ll be looking like Carmy from The Bear in no time.

Barbie costumes

Barbie (Margot Robbie), in a glittery pink gown, does a line dance in front of a pair of wall-less pink plastic life-sized Barbie Dreamhouses, flanked by five Kens in all white, played by Kingsley Ben-Adir, Ryan Gosling, Simu Liu, Ncuti Gatwa, and Scott Evans, in the 2023 movie Barbie Photo: Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros.

While costumes for Barbie and Ken will undoubtedly be the most popular costumes of the 2023 season, let’s try to remember that for many of us, Halloween takes place during a brisk time of year. With that in mind, here are some high-viz options that are sure to get you noticed whether you’re a Barbie, a Ken, or an Allan.

Super Mario Bros. costumes

Daisy, Peach, Luigi, and Mario, in elephant form, run through a pipe-filled level in Super Mario Bros. Wonder Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo

The brothers Mario and the various members of the Mushroom Kingdom have always been fantastic costume fodder, but feel free to add an elephant mask this year for an especially cursed look in honor of Super Mario Bros. Wonder.

Yellowjackets costumes

The teenaged version of Taissa, played by Jasmin Savoy Brown, sits next to the fireside in the wilderness, next to her girlfriend Van (played by Liv Hewson) Photo: Kailey Schwerman/Showtime

If you’re already a member of an amateur soccer team, good news, you’re just one unfortunate plane crash away from a screen-accurate Yellowjackets costume. However, if you’d prefer to skip the second part, there are plenty of navy blue uniforms and letterman jackets to show off your loyalty to the senior-year survivalists.

One Piece costumes

an illustration of the straw hat crew in one piece Image: Eiichiro Oda/Viz Media

The live-action Netflix adaptation of One Piece, the popular manga that spun out into an anime, is actually awesome. Whether you’ve just discovered the show or you’re an established member of the Straw Hat Pirates, there are plenty of costumes available for you to dress up as your favorite characters.

What We Do in the Shadows costumes

Matt Berry plays the piano as Laszlo in What We Do in the Shadows. Photo: Russ Martin/FX

Vampires are a Halloween staple, and they’re more relatable than ever thanks to What We Do in the Shadows. While there’s nothing stopping you from dressing up as Nadja, Lazlow, Nandor, or Guillermo, if you want to be truly terrifying, try dressing up as Colin Robinson instead.

Our Flag Means Death costumes

Pirate captain Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby) lying on his back on the deck and holding up his hands with a particularly dismayed and hapless goofy look on his face in season 2 of Our Flag Means Death Photo: Nicola Dove/Max

Every costume in Our Flag Means Death is a top-tier choice, whether you’re a fan of pirates, a proud member of the queer community, or both. Just in case you’re not confident enough to dress up as the sea goddess Calypso, any of the following Victorian coats or puffy shirts will let you impersonate your favorite homosexual swashbuckler.

The Last of Us costumes

Joel (Pedro Pascal) looking down solemnly in HBO’s The Last of Us Photo: Liane Hentscher/HBO

One of the easiest costumes of 2013 has made a triumphant return thanks to The Last of Us TV series on Max. Put on a plaid shirt and backpack for Joel, or a weathered red t-shirt and hoodie for Ellie, and you’re good to go.

Pokémon costumes

Ash, with Pikachu on his shoulder, holds Snivy up proudly in an arena of people. Image: OLM/The Pokémon Company

If you want to be the very best, you’ve got to dress the part. However, if you’d prefer a costume that leans head first into the autumnal aesthetic, there are plenty of toasty pajama onesies for you to dress up as your favorite sleepy, spooky, or sassy pocket monster. Who’s that Pokémon? It’s you, you’re the Pokémon.

Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse costumes

miles morales in across the spider-verse in spider-man. he’s looking at gwen stacy and look a little surprised and nervous. Image: Sony Pictures

Whether you’re a Peter Parker, Gwen Stacey, Miles Morales, or any of the other characters from Across the Spider-Verse, impersonating your favorite web-slinger involves little more than donning a hoodie and an optional mask.

Fallout costumes

in a scene from the Fallout TV series, a silhouette stands in front of the blinding white light flooding into an underground shelter from the open vault door of Vault 33 while three people in denim jumpsuits with 33 on the back look on. Image: Prime Video

With the recent announcement of the release date for Amazon’s Fallout TV series, it’s finally cool to dress up in form-fitting and functional blue jumpsuit (Pip-boy not included.)

Over the Garden Wall costumes

Over the Garden Wall Episode 2 - Wirt looking at a turkey resting its head
Nothing to see here, boys.
Cartoon Network

For some of us, Over the Garden Wall is a year-round favorite, but it resonates particularly strongly during the cozy, spooky season. This limited animated series is full of memorable characters and looks — none more recognizable than that of main character Wirt (voiced by Elijah Wood) and his pointed red hat. For bonus points, you can complete the look with an adorable amphibious companion (or small child if one is available).

Kids costumes

Let’s not forget that the people who deserve to have the most fun during Halloween belong in the 12 and under demographic. If you’re looking for an easy costume to deck out the little nerds in your life, we’ve rounded up some selections so they can dress up from their favorite characters from Fortnite, Five Nights at Freddy’s, Apex Legends, and more.

The next level of puzzles.

Take a break from your day by playing a puzzle or two! We’ve got SpellTower, Typeshift, crosswords, and more.