Last year, in a scramble to find something to wear while passing out candy to trick-or-treaters, I raided the attic and tore through a trunk of old Halloween costumes. After a few trips down memory lane, I found a pair of never-worn wings and sparkling cape. With the help of my own crystal necklaces, glitter eyeliner, purple lipstick, and early-2000’s era hot pink clip-in extensions, I turned myself into a magical fairy for the night. Luckily, this year I planned ahead. But if you waited until the last minute like I did, I’ve compiled a list of couples’ costumes ideas for you.
One of the easiest options is dressing up as your favorite modern TV or movie couple. These couples are about wearing outfits you can find in your own closet or can be bought for little money at your local clothing store. For example, to portray The Office couple Jim and Pam, you just need business casual attire. Jim would always be seen in slacks, a white button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and a tie while Pam tended to wear pink and blue shirts and cardigans to go with her grey pencil skirt. If you want to bring your costume to the next level, you can even get inspired by Jim’s punny Halloween costumes like “three-hole-punch Jim.” Beloved comedy series Parks and Recreation also features couples who are the epitome of “relationship goals.” However, the most simple looks to recreate would come from Ben and Leslie. For Ben, all you need is a plaid shirt, skinny tie, and a few nerdy one-liners. Leslie just needs a pantsuit with blazer or, if you’re feeling creative, a homemade Lil’ Sebastian shirt. If you have a bit of money to spare, you can even grab a black fascinator and FBI jacket and become April and Andy’s alter-egos Janet Snakehole and Burt Macklin. With any TV or movie couple ideas, the props and the ability to stay in-character are what heightens the outfit from something you found in your closet to a costume. So, find a coffee mug or phone handset for The Office costume and some waffles or Leslie’s signature giant scrap-booking binder to really sell your costumes.
If you are aiming for a more retro vibe, now is your chance to become your favorite 90’s couple! Nostalgia for the 90’s these days is so intense that even the fashion trends are making a comeback. You can easily find chokers, babydoll dresses, and grunge looks at your favorite store. One of the era’s most fashionable characters, Rachel Green from Friends¸ has become a modern-day style inspiration. Copy her best look by putting on some knee-high socks, a plaid mini-skirt, and cropped sweater. Then, just grab a dark red sweater or button-up shirt and a metric ton of hair gel for your partner to portray Ross. Fellow 90’s fashionistas Cher and Dionne from Clueless offer instantly recognizable plaid looks that can be easily recreated. But, if stores are out of yellow plaid, you can turn to any one of their trendy outfits throughout the movie such as Cher’s red first date dress or velvet babydoll dress. Dionne’s boyfriend Murray simply wears backwards baseball caps, baggy pants, and sweatshirts while Josh sticks to grungey flannel and jeans. Look to the badass characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer for a more dangerous couples costume. As Buffy, you get the chance to grab a stake and strap on some red leather pants and black tank top. Wild child Faith has a typical 90’s bad girl look complete with dark lipstick and leather jacket. Vampire boyfriend Angel requires dark clothes, black leather jacket, and a brooding vibe. If the 90’s are not your speed, go back a few years to the late 80’s for the instantly iconic couples look: Kelly and Yorkie from Black Mirror’s “San Junipero” episode. Kelly’s dazzling 80’s party girl outfit can be simplified to a purple jacket, black corset-like top, and bead necklace while portraying Yorkie merely needs a light blue sweatshirt with a pink collared shirt underneath, khakis, and glasses. If you have extra time, I definitely recommend breaking out your old Bedazzler for the jacket and finding a big black bow for an updo.
The best thing to do if you are really strapped for cash is get creative. Dive into your make-up supply and search for Youtube tutorials on anything from mermaid scales to Roy Lichtenstein pop-art cartoons. Break out your old prom dress and style yourself as your favorite celebrity walking the red carpet. Your partner can either dress up as that celebrities significant other or, if they’re not into formal attire, as a paparazzo with a camera in hand. A black graduation gown paired with a grey sweater and black pants or skirt makes an easy Hogwarts uniform. You can buy your own Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, or Slytherin accessories or get crafting tools like puffy paint to add accents of your own to your sweater. If you prefer superheroes over wizards, you can become an off-duty superheroine. This consists of wearing regular work clothes with a tee bearing a superhero’s insignia peeking through a buttoned-up shirt. This works especially well with famous heroes like Superman and Supergirl. Another iconic, easy-to-imitate couples costume is Sandy and Danny’s classic outfits from Grease. Sandy’s Pink Ladies look at the end of the film is just black pants, an off-the-shoulder black top, red peep-toe heels, and optional leather jacket. Similarly, Danny just needs black pants, a black tee, and perfectly coiffed ducktail hairstyle. For a modern couples costume on a budget, find a pair of cheap khaki scrubs to channel the ladies of Orange is the New Black, wear an all-black outfit and fake tattoos for the dystopian Divergent couple Four and Tris, or find a halo and devil horns to match red and white outfits for an angel and devil pair of costumes. When in doubt, turn to Pinterest for DIY costumes like using balloons to makes red and green grapes costumes.
Personally, my favorite option for last-minute costumes is DisneyBounding. Created by Leslie Kay, DisneyBound uses fashion to allow you to dress up as your favorite Disney character. These outfits are inspired by characters through color combinations and relevant accessories. To be Cinderella, for example, she would list where to buy a fashionable blue dress, silver heels, and glass slipper necklace. Use your imagination to repurpose DisneyBounding and create modern outfits inspired by the fictional character of your choosing.
What are you going to be for Halloween? Did you procrastinate coming up with a costume idea like I did? Let me know in the comments!