painless shopping

The 11 Best Pop-Culture Halloween Costumes You Can Buy Online

Photo: Frank Franklin/AP/Shutterstock/Supreme Court of the United States/Element Studios

Halloween won’t be the same this year, but whether you’re planning to celebrate virtually or by hosting a spooky socially distanced picnic in the park, one thing hasn’t changed: You still need a costume. If dressing like a zombie or a skeleton feels a bit too dark and depressing, and you’d love a break from anything to do with the election, we’re here to help with a bunch of creative alternatives. Here are 11 extremely of-the-moment 2020 Halloween costumes that you can easily put together yourself with a few online purchases.

Sourdough Starter

Photo: Getty Images/Courtesy the vendors

Whether or not you actually succeeded at making a sourdough starter from scratch during quarantine, this is an easy and comfortable costume that should make people laugh. All you need is a slouchy beige hooded sweatshirt (add matching sweatpants if you want to go all in) and a glass Ball jar, which you can either carry or tie to your hoodie with beige yarn. Just thread the yarn through the jar lid ring without adding the little round insert, tighten the lid on the jar, cut two tiny holes in your hoodie somewhere, and tie the yarn through them. To get the full effect you can also stick a natural sponge or loofah in your jar.


Photo: Hulu/Courtesy the vendors

While the second season of Pen15 is packed with amazing costume ideas, the Tommy Hilfiger T-shirt that Maya and Anna buy (because it’s so “loaded”) on a thrifting trip with their mothers is the easiest to pull off. It also makes an excellent couple’s or group costume. This one has sizes available up to XXL, but if that’s too small for your group you could always cut it and add more navy-blue fabric to the sides.

LeBron James in the NBA Bubble

Photo: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images/Courtesy the vendors

If you spent the last month watching the NBA playoffs instead of bingeing Pen15, show your fandom by dressing as NBA-bubble LeBron (or your favorite player). We found this human-size plastic bubble you can wear over a jersey, which has the added benefit of ensuring social distancing. If that’s too pricey, you could also wrap yourself up in bubble wrap.

Naomi Osaka

Photo: Frank Franklin/AP/Shutterstock/Courtesy the vendors

Tennis champion Naomi Osaka uses her platform to fight for justice for Black lives. To channel her look you’ll need a purple Nike visor, a tennis racquet, a tennis dress, and a mask that demands justice for Breonna Taylor. This one comes from a Black-owned Etsy shop.

Cardi B From the ‘WAP’ Video

Photo: YouTube/Courtesy the vendors

If you want to go sexy this year, there’s no better inspiration than Cardi B in her “WAP” video. To get the look, pair a hot-pink one-piece bathing suit with matching elbow-length gloves and a flowy scarf.

Connell From Normal People

Photo: Element Studios/Courtesy the vendors

Maybe you want to go a little more subtle. Dressing as Connell from Normal People is definitely that — maybe so much that you’ll have to spend the night asking everyone for a cup of tea — but it’s also sure to inspire some sultry conversations.

Tiger King

Photo: Netflix/Courtesy the vendors

Few costumes will be as instantly recognizable this year as Tiger King Joe Exotic, and Amazon actually sells a perfect dupe for his turquoise sequined shirt. Add a stuffed tiger and some extra-tight jeans, and you’re ready to go.

Hazmat Suit Guy From the Emmys

Photo: @connormalbeuf/Instagram/Courtesy the vendors

Unlike a Tiger King costume, dressing as the guy who delivered Emmy awards in a tuxedo hazmat suit might take a minute for people to guess.

Orville Peck

Photo: Jim Bennett/Getty Images/Courtesy the vendors

Assuming your Halloween festivities are not just on Zoom, you’ll already have a mask on with your costume. (Right?!) So why not find a costume that includes one, like Canadian country musician Orville Peck? He is known for never being seen without one of his outlandish face masks, including one like this, made of long powder-pink fringe.

USPS Mail Carrier

Photo: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images/Courtesy the vendors

Your local mail carrier is as much a 2020 hero as any doctor or nurse. Mail carriers have worked tirelessly amid a global pandemic and budget cuts to make sure our quarantine letters, mail-in ballots, and important packages make it where they are going. All you need to pay them tribute is a blue uniform shirt, a USPS patch, and a package or bundle of letters to deliver. The patch in this image sold out so we found another USPS patch that is similar at the link below.


Photo: Supreme Court of the United States/Courtesy the vendors

If Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was your personal hero, putting together an RBG costume is as easy as finding a black robe and a lace collar. Lace collars are selling out fast, however, so if you miss getting one, it’s pretty easy to make your own with some lace trim.

Black Panther

Photo: Walt Disney Studios/Courtesy the vendors

Dressing up as the late Chadwick Boseman’s most iconic character, Black Panther, was already as popular as going as Batman or Superman. But this year pulling on his suit and necklace will have special meaning.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

11 Pop-Culture Halloween Costumes for 2020