14 Halloween Costumes That Don’t Require Lots Of Explaining

I have a problem with Halloween. It’s not the holiday itself–while it certainly has issues, I love vague spookiness and I love candy corn, thanks and don’t @ me–but rather with one particular element of it. Specifically, I have a problem with myself and the way I go about picking out Halloween costumes. It is not a task at which I excel! A perfect costume relies on an even ratio of relatability and obscurity, I think–something you won’t see a million times in one night, but also something that makes you curse yourself for not thinking of it when you see it. But I always tend to veer too heavily on the side of nebulous, concept-based costumes that rely a lot of explanation with very little cognitive payoff from my peers.

I went as Eloise last year–you know, from the Plaza?–which I thought would be easy enough to communicate. But everyone thought I was Blair Waldorf, due to the proclivity both fictional brats have towards knee socks, headbands, and closeknit relationships with domestic help matrons born overseas. Previous years have seen me as an “extended adolescent” (2013) ; a “carbohydrate” (2005, when I read about the Atkins Diet in my parents’ subscription to The Washington Post and thought that it might be the best way to go about striking fear into the hearts of the health-conscious residents of my Northern Virginia suburb) ; and, simply, “gluten” (2014, an unpopular homage to 2005’s equally unpopular carb garb).

Annual #tbt to the first time I wore a sexy Halloween costume. I was a carbohydrate

A photo posted by Sara Hendricks (@shendrickslamar) on

Have I learned anything from this experience? No. I will be going as a werewolf bar mitzvah this year, a costume that I have not yet worn out in public but have already grown weary of discussing from the cursory explanation I gave to my roommates last night. But what is life for if not ignoringdo as I say and not as I do, I guess. Anyway, if you are trying to save your breath this year, check out these easy DIY Halloween costumes that require almost zero explanation:

Hillary Clinton And Donald Trump

You're sick of the election. I'm sick of the election. We're all sick of the election. Election fatigue means that you can pretty much do an political costume in your sleep, however--try a gender-bend version for a fun twist.

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Wednesday Addams

Everyone knows Wednesday Addams, right? Even if you come across some people who have been living in a cultural wormhole for the past fifty years, and somehow don't recognize this costume, it's so simple that it could be pretty much anything--zombie schoolgirl, mid-centruty goth, whatever--and require virtually no explanation.

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Not only do you not *have* to talk for this mime costume, you're actually encouraged not to talk at all. (You know, 'cause mimes don't talk.) No explanation required!

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Eleven And Barb From Stranger Things

As far as 2016 pop culture goes few things have been more far-reaching than Stranger Things. And, as far as Stranger Things, there are few things more far-reaching than the cults of Eleven and Barb (R.I.P.). You'll see lots of people wearing the same thing, it is true, but you won't have to explain it.

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Harley Quinn

I mean, duh. There will also be a whole lot of Harley Quinn costumes this year, but they're so cute and so recognizable that it would behoove you to try one out yourself.

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This is a great costume because it literally requires no context--all that's needed is a white dress, a horn, and some sparkly makeup.

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Haters will call this "basic," but real heads know that "basic" really means "iconic"--plus, cat costumes are cute! No explanation needed.

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Again--basic, sure, but still cute and recognizable. Plus, you can add on a ton of accents and embellishments without losing the essence of the costume.

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Cher And Dionne From Clueless

Name a more iconic duo. I'll wait. In any case, people will definitely get this costume, whether it's from the movie or Iggy Azalea's music video for Fancy. (Hey, remember when we all liked Iggy Azalea? A simpler time!)

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This costume may be controversial, but you can't beat it as far as name-brand recognition goes.

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Holly Golightly

Most people will recognize this from the get-go as a Holly Golightly costume from Breakfast At Tiffany's. Other people might just recognize it as the girl from the poster on their older sister's dorm wall. Either way, it's an easy, recognizable costume!

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This is technically a Daisy Buchanan costume from The Great Gatsby, but it works well as a cute, generic flapper costume, too.

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Minnie Mouse And Daisy Duck

If you want to go the Disney route, your best bet might be not with a princess, but rather Minnie Mouse and/or Daisy Duck. In addition to being relatively easy to throw together, it's a great costume to do with your BFF.

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Sexy Ghosts

This costume speaks for itself, does it not? It's easy. Iconic. This Halloween, you can have it all.

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Do you struggle with concept-based costumes too? Are there any other good explanation-free costumes that you know about? Let us know in the comments! 

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.


12 Easy Halloween Costumes That Only Need A Mask

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