Halloween looks a little different this year. If you’re like me, you will spend the evening literally all dressed up with nowhere to go. Given the state of things it can be hard to feel inspired to go all out with a Halloween costume this year. But Halloween is far from canceled my friends! There are still Zoom parties to be had and family members/roommates/loved ones to impress so I won’t accept any slacking on the costume front.
If you do happen to be struggling to find just the right costume this year, allow me to offer some suggestions that I can almost guarantee no one else will be wearing this Saturday.
10. Merman from The Cabin in the Woods (2011)
The Cabin in the Woods is a horror-comedy that is one of the best send ups of the genre since Scream (1996). On the surface, it is your standard tale of hot, careless young people alone in the woods just waiting to be preyed upon. Of course, The Cabin in the Woods is so much more than that, but just in case one of you out there hasn’t watched yet, I will leave it at that.
What I will spoil for you is the fact that there is a merman present in this film, and I am frankly alarmed at the lack of merman Halloween costumes in the years since. If you or a loved one is adept in prosthetic work, I insist that you go all out with this one. Given that may not be an option for everyone, I will also accept any costume attempt that contains a blowhole.
9. A Lobster from The Lighthouse (2019)
In Robert Eggers’ (The Witch) psychological horror movie The Lighthouse, we see two lighthouse keepers played by Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man, The Florida Project) and Robert Pattinson (Tenet, Good Time) absolutely lose their minds once they become trapped within the lighthouse they are working in. Ephraim (Pattinson) and Thomas (Dafoe) can often be found in the throes of a heated argument, especially after they resort to drinking turpentine once they’ve run out of alcohol. Perhaps the most explosive fight comes when Ephraim complains about Thomas’ cooking and Thomas insists that he’s fond of his lobster. The lobster appears to be a major point of contention as Thomas proceeds to monologue for two unbroken minutes as a result.
Now anybody can throw on a lobster costume, so the trouble here will be making sure people understand that you are from The Lighthouse and not any ordinary lobster. Perhaps grow a beard, wear a bucket hat, or yell “hark” a bunch. Get creative with it!
8. The Mist from The Mist (2007)
Based on the Stephen King novella of the same name, The Mist tells the story of a town overrun by a mysterious…mist. As luck would have it the mist contains horrifying monsters that consume their victims. The Mist follows a group of survivors trapped in a supermarket as they grapple with morality along with said horrifying monsters.
This Halloween, I think you should dress as the titular mist. All you’ll need is a fog machine to shroud you in mist and a member of your household to run around and scream “There’s something in the mist!” Trust me, it’ll go over really well.
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7. That Jump Scare from Episode Eight of The Haunting of Hill House (2018)
Stay with me on this one. If you’re unfamiliar, The Haunting of Hill House is a Netflix series directed by Mike Flanagan (Doctor Sleep) that tells the story of the Crain family in the aftermath of their time living in a super haunted house. Dealing with equal parts familial trauma and terror, one jump scare in particular rises to the top (see above for reference).
This costume will require a certain level of makeup artistry, so I would recommend practicing your application before the big day. Once you’re fully made up, you just gotta scream at people all night long. Super fun!
6. Drunk Man from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
This one is for all of you low effort Halloween costume folks, I see you and I’m here to help. In The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, we meet a group of teens in a graveyard as they are investigating whether or not their friends’ grandfather’s grave has been messed with in a string of grave desecrations. Upon arrival they speak with some locals including the drunkest man you’ve ever seen under the bright Texas sun, sitting in a tire and delivering vague warnings of danger.
This is the perfect deep cut costume. Every Halloween you see countless Letherfaces, but how many drunk tire men have you seen? Plus all you have to do is wear overalls, drink beer, and ramble nonsensically.
5. The Decapitated Bird from Hereditary (2018)
Ari Aster’s (Midsommar) Hereditary is not only one of the most effective horror movies of the last five years, it also lends itself to some fantastic Halloween costumes. Hereditary follows the torment a family endures after the loss of a loved one and it is full of instantly iconic shots. As a result of that, in the past couple of years I’ve seen some fantastic Peter (Alex Wolff), Charlie (Milly Shapiro) and Annie (Toni Collette) costumes. One iconic shot that I don’t see paid tribute to enough is the bird that we see Charlie decapitating with a pair of classroom scissors.
It speaks to the darkness of this movie that animal mutilation feels lighthearted in comparison to the rest of the events of the film but here we have it: the least depressing Hereditary costume possible. Of course, you’ll need to hide your real life, attached head from view, and then I would recommend carrying a pigeon head mask or something similar to avoid any confusion.
4. Masked Killer from Hush (2016)
In another Mike Flanagan entry to our list, Hush is an outrageously scary home invasion flick in which a masked intruder (John Gallagher Jr.) terrorizes a deaf woman, Maddie (Kate Siegel) in her very isolated home. Masked killers are staples of the Halloween costume sector, and I would love to see someone spice it up a bit as the killer from Hush.
The mask itself is pretty simple and nondescript, and he also wears a beanie so you can be cozy too! You also get to have some fun drawing on his neck tattoos if you’re feeling artistic.
3. The Bear from Annihilation (2018)
Based on the Alex Garland novel of the same name, Annihilation is about a team of women and their expedition into an unexplained alien zone called “The Shimmer”. Full of mutated plants, animals and various other disturbances, The Shimmer is a wild trip. One night, the women’s bunker is ambushed by a mutant skeleton bear that screams like a human. Terrifyingly disgusting, this bear is one of the biggest highlights of the film for me.
In order to dress as the Annihilation bear, you’re going to need some prosthetics, sets of fake teeth, and expert certification in special effects makeup. Or, you could buy a regular ol’ bear costume and really mess it up. Pick your poison.
2. The Truck from Pet Sematary (1989)
*Major Pet Sematary Spoilers Incoming*
In another Stephen King adaptation for our list, Mary Lambert’s Pet Sematary tells the story of the Creed family as they move into their new home in Ludlow, Maine. Their home just so happens to be directly in front of a burial ground for neighborhood pets, and as they are about to learn, what gets buried in the pet cemetery doesn’t always stay dead. In one of the most tragic turn of events I’ve ever seen in a horror movie, the Creed’s young toddler, Gage, is killed after being run over by a truck in the road.
This Halloween, you can dress as one of the most evil of all horror villains out there, the truck that kills Gage Creed. If you’re the crafty sort, get yourself some cardboard and red paint and slap a truck together yourself. Who doesn’t love a fun DIY every now and then?
1. Creature from The Ritual (2017)
The criminally underrated British horror movie, The Ritual, follows a group of friends who set out on a memorial hiking trip after one of their own is killed. Quickly, the men realize that something sinister and unnatural is going on in these woods and they have to fight for their survival. The Ritual is deeply heartfelt and deeply scary with an awesome looking monster to boot.
This will be the most challenging costume out of all my suggestions, only for those most committed to winning the game of Halloween. Something to keep in mind is that you will have to be on all fours to have the greatest effect so be mindful of your joints if you do go this route.
Do you have an underused Halloween costume you’d like to see someone try? Let us know what your picks are over on Twitter, in the Nightmare on Film Street Subreddit. and on Facebook in the Horror Movie Fiend Club!