costume halloween skeleton

Halloween Costume Ideas

What are you going as this year?

Halloween is just around the corner! Are you dressing up this year? Do you know what you’re going as? Here are a few classic and 2016-relevant ideas to get you started.

Classic Costumes


skeleton makeup halloween costume

Skeleton makeup is an easy costume and a fun way to show off your knowledge of the skeletal system. If you’re feeling creative, forego traditional face paints and get artsy with foundation, contouring, eyeliner and an eyeshadow pallet.


While a zombie outbreak might be taking the reality of the plague into the world of science fiction, it certainly fits into the medical realm when it comes to costumes. You can be as simple or elaborate as you want with this costume, and any outfit will do — though one that looks like it’s seen better days will certainly make you more authentic.

Mad Scientist

mad scientist halloween costume

This is a fun idea for any pathology residents. Just a lab coat, rubber gloves, goggles, wild hair and dark shadows under your eyes. Throw in some wild colored contacts (try white-out) for an extra creepy look.


Aarrrgh matey! Combine tall boots, a cloth belt, and an eye-patch with some plundered jewelry and a headscarf or hat. Add some Captain Sparrow-worthy eye makeup, and maybe a couple scars or a hook on your hand. Don’t forget your swagger and pirate vocabulary!

Witch or Wizard

witch wizard halloween costume

Black robes and a hood or pointy hat and you’ve got yourself a witch or wizard. Consider adding a book of spells or magic staff/wand to complete the look.


Simple and easy, the cowboy or cowgirl is quickly created with boots, jeans, a plaid shirt, neck scarf and the must-have cowboy hat. But if you have a little more time on your hands, consider putting a steampunk twist on your Western outfit for something really different. The wild wild west falls into the Victorian time period that inspired steampunk, so the two mix really well together.


scarecrow costume halloween

Very appropriate for the fall season, scarecrows can be friendly or scary. Just make sure you incorporate straw, potato sack material and patched clothes. If you can make yourself look realistic, you can have a lot of fun scaring your friends by pretending to be a Halloween prop and then moving suddenly when they least expect it.

Anthropomorphic Animals

Get in touch with your animal side! Go for the easy onesy outfit, or play around with makeup and ears/tail attachments. For something a little scarier, try a werewolf, or anything with yellow eyes, claws and fangs.

2016-Relevant Ideas

Presidential Candidate

Trump and Clinton have been dominating the news as lot lately with the upcoming American presidential election. Now just dressing up as these two politicians may not seem like much, but throw in those some oversized face masks and you’ve got a larger-than life outfit! Just need some campaign slogans and you’re set.

Pokemon Trainers from Pokemon Go

With the massive craze of Pokemon Go this year, the image of the trainer is still brewing among people’s eyes. Don’t forget to bring a few Pokeballs to complete the costume!

Suicide Squad


For those ambitious and talented with makeup, the Suicide Squad could be your chance to showcase your skills. This hit 2016 supervillain movie has a wide cast of characters to choose from, each with a unique look. Go in a group and you’ll be sure to be stars of the party too!

The New Ghostbusters

A revitalization of 1980s movie series brings on a new all-female cast. Equip yourselves with the proper gear: jumpsuits, boots, goggles and of course, the Proton Pack. There might even been some ghosts to bust on Halloween! (And of course, you can also go as the original group!)

Peter Pan and the Lost Boys

peter pan lost boys halloween costume

Who can’t help but sing to Ruth B’s catchy tune “Lost Boy”? Peter Pan and the Lost Boys will great group costume for those with a creative side. You can go with whatever rags and accessories to give off that magical vibe!


With the 2016 sequel to the classic Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson film, it’s prime time to bring Derek Zoolander and Hansel McDonald. These iconic models can be easily imitated with the right choice of clothes and some work on the hair. Be sure to throw in a couple poses for the cameras too!

Rey from The Force Awakens

star wars costume

Looking to be the one to bring new hope to a galaxy on the brink of another war? You may have been destined to dress up as Rey. In her practical scavenger robes, she’s fit to survive with all her tools and equipment. The final piece is her lightsaber. Channel the Force!

Orange Is the New Black

If you’ve been keeping up with your Netflix, you won’t have missed this hit show. Now in its 4th season, the cast of Orange Is the New Black is just what you need to those rebellious folk. Whether you want to wear the bright orange or dull beige, make sure you carry the attitude to make the costume complete!

Special thanks to Dr. Bryan Chow, R3 Psychiatry resident and Communications Committee member, for the 2016 costume ideas.

author: Melissa Nilan

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