13 Easy Pop Culture-Inspired Halloween Costumes for 2021, From ‘Squid Game’ to Bennifer

·6 min read
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Photos Getty Images
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Photos Getty Images

Does anyone remember how to do Halloween parties? It’s 2021, we’re more than a year into a pandemic, and many of us are trying to remember how to socialize. Now we’re adding costumes to the mix, a recipe for anxiety—or perhaps some good, old-fashioned nostalgia? Thankfully, even this strange year has delivered a wealth of pop culture memes—all of which are excellent fodder for clever, timely Halloween costumes. Whether you want something easy—like, say, a Squid Game costume—or a little more crafty, we’ve got you covered. (See below for a sketchy DIY guide to turning yourself into a cargo ship stuck in the Suez Canal.)

Squid Game Character

<div class="inline-image__credit">Netflix</div>

Netflix’s grotesque but captivating survival drama quickly generated some of this year’s hottest Halloween costumes. From green contestant tracksuits to pink soldier jumpsuits and VIP masks, the premade costume options are virtually endless—and selling like hotcakes.

The Mare of Easttown

<div class="inline-image__credit">HBO</div>

This one is probably only worth it if you already have a vape pen or have easy access to one; there’s certainly no reason to make the investment solely for a costume. (Unless you just love committing.) But: Consider going as the Mare of Easttown. Concerned you don’t look enough like Kate Winslet? No problem. You’ll be going as the Mare of Easttown—you know, in a horse mask. We’ll see ourselves out.

The Ever Given

<div class="inline-image__credit">Mahmoud Khaled/Getty</div>
Mahmoud Khaled/Getty

We’ve all been a bit of a mess in 2021, but perhaps none of us as much as the cargo ship that got stuck in the Suez Canal for almost a week. If you’re crafty (and maybe a little broke) simply follow these instructions:

  • Procure a cardboard box big enough to wear over your torso semi-comfortably, a pair of suspenders, two pieces of foam poster board, a hot glue gun, a box cutter, and whatever craft supplies you would like to use to decorate your barge.

  • Remove the flaps from both the top and bottom of the box. Clip your suspenders over the box so that you can wear it over your torso.

  • Cut both pieces of poster board into identical boat-shaped cut-outs, like the letter “D” with curvy side down—you know, like the ones you drew in school. Decorate to your taste and glue them to the box so that they run parallel on your left and right, with you facing the bow.

  • You will probably not want to wear this costume long, so make sure that someone snaps a photo of you blocking a hallway at your local Halloween party early on in the night.

Did the Lame ‘Squid Game’ Finale Ruin the Whole Thing?

The Beach That Makes You Old

<div class="inline-image__credit">Universal</div>

A simpler idea: Buy an old person costume, throw on your best Hawaiian shirt or beach maxi, and say you went to the beach from M. Night Shyamalan’s latest entry, Old.

Evan Hansen

<div class="inline-image__credit">Universal</div>

Another easy one: Grab a blue striped polo, some khaki’s, and a backpack. Wrap your arm in a fake cast and walk around with a severe hunch. Bonus points if you have the frown lines of a 27-year-old man.

Bennifer, Reunited

<div class="inline-image__credit">Pascal Le Segretain/Getty</div>
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

The costumes here don’t matter so much as the accessories. For Jen: A nude lip, a light brown wig, maybe a teal plaid coat if you have one. For Ben: A beard, a cigarette, and maybe a Dunkin’ Donuts cup. The key ingredient: Make sure you look more conspicuously happy than you ever have in your lives.

White Lotus Teens

<div class="inline-image__credit">HBO</div>

For a truly terrifying Halloween look, one could do worse than Olivia and Paula from HBO’s comedy-drama. These white overalls are an exact match for the ones Sydney Sweeney’s Olivia wears in the show, and you can probably get away with just about any light blue T-shirt underneath to get her look. Just make sure you wear some wire frames and bring a copy of Écrits along. If Paula’s more your speed, you can cop one of her many graphic tees, pair with some ombre sunglasses and be good to go.

A Sour Olivia Rodrigo

<div class="inline-image__credit">Geffen</div>

This year, no one had Gen Z, millennials, and even boomers in as much of a chokehold as did the newly-crowned princess of pop, Olivia Rodrigo. Relive your angsty teenage years by embodying Rodrigo on the cover of her debut album, Sour, by plastering a few dozen stickers across your face and donning a teensy spaghetti-strap tank paired with a plaid teal skirt. And as a treat to yourself, grab some Sour Patch Kids.

Is ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ Really That Much of a Disaster?

WandaVision’s Vision Cosplays The Rock

<div class="inline-image__credit">Disney</div>

In a two-in-one costume, combine Marvel’s Vision with the iconic photo of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in his ‘90s heyday. All you need is a bucket of red and silver paint, a black turtleneck, light wash jeans, a black fanny pack, and a swaggy silver chain. Oh, and a fake gold rhinestone to place on your forehead (Lil Uzi Vert-style).

TikTok’s Emily Mariko

If you have somehow escaped the TikTok phenomenon of Emily Mariko’s leftover salmon and ice cube rice recipe, consider yourself lucky. If not, it’s only fitting that you dress up as the app’s health and waste-conscious idol. A simple workout tank will do the trick, along with some biker shorts and a hair clip to keep your locks out of your face as you demonstrate how to construct the bowl. Bonus points if you are brave enough to carry around your salmon topped with avocado all night long. But the best part of the costume is free: a satisfied, soft smile.


<div class="inline-image__credit">Instagram</div>

Maybe it’s the pandemic, maybe it’s boredom but if the past year has taught us anything, it’s that people are starved for celeb gossip. Case in point: DeuxMoi. The anonymous Instagram account has become an irl equivalent of a modern-day Gossip Girl. Since no one really knows who the mysterious account runner is, pretend it’s you and get ready to collect some dirt on your fellow partygoers. Bring your phone, oversized black shades, a not-so-secretive oversized black hoodie with DeuxMoi plastered all over it, and get ready to covertly text the night away.

Barb and Star Go to Vista del Mar

<div class="inline-image__credit">Lionsgate</div>

Put the incoming cold weather out of your mind, and head to the fictional beachy shores of Vista Del Mar with your dearest Midwestern friend. Wear your most colorful culottes, a flirty yet conservative tropical-print blouse, and a sun visor. Order piña coladas all night long, and if you are feeling extra adventurous, go ahead and order that Buried Treasure mega-drink.

Italian Eurovision Group Måneskin

<div class="inline-image__credit">Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty</div>
Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty

Round up some friends and go as Eurovision’s sexiest rock group Måneskin. Shirts are optional, but smudged eyeliner is not. Squeeze into corseted faux leather pants, and perhaps a matching corset top with a loose men’s tie to hammer home the edgy look. But whatever you do, don’t bend over to try to clean up some broken glass at your feet.

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