8 Clever Halloween Costumes You Won't Spend All Night Explaining

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Hands down, the most annoying question during Halloween: So, what are you exactly? After scouring for solutions, I've come up with some clever Halloween costumes you don't have to explain. A lot of these have been inspired by trends over this year and last, so it should be fresh in everyone's mind who or what you are, why you're dressed like that, and where the inspiration came from.

The most important thing with all of these costumes is execution. These aren't for the last-minute Halloween party goer. Some of these costumes will require a bit more work (or a little more money up front), but they'll be super obvious and well worth your while. So if you've got the patience for some planning, some sewing, and shopping, then this list goes out to you.

Most of these ideas stem from events or trends from this past year. Think Game of Thrones, Baywatch, and unicorns. They're all pretty well-known topics that people will be able to spot from a mile away. By dressing up as one of these nine clever Halloween costumes you don't have to explain, you'll be able to enjoy the party more and talk about your costume less, and that is a pretty beautiful thing.

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Everything about this costume is on-point. If you don't have long lustrous locks, the trick will be finding a wig that's believable. Wigs range from $18 to over $100. First set a budget, and go from there. Here is a cheap version ($18, Twinkle Deals). There's also this affordable wig ($20, Amazon) or this more expensive version ($91, Wigsby).

For a season seven look, you'll have to get super familiar with your sewing machine. There's an awesome jacket template from Mood Sew City for FREE, yes for free (which I think is pretty amazing). Get this dragon broach ($15, Etsy), and top the whole look off by sewing a panel of this fabric ($12.99, FwD) over the shoulder. Of course you can also get the complete costume ($53, Ebay) without any of the DIY.

2Harley Quinn

Oct. 28, 2015 - Source: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images Europe

I absolutely love this version of Harley Quinn that Poppy Delevigne pulled off in 2014. You'll need to find a bomber jacket and bodysuit, fishnet tights, and military style lace-up boots. Tear out holes in in your fishnets, and set them (so that they don't tear more) with clear nail polish. Do a center part in your hair, put them into pig tails, and hit your tips with hair makeup in red and blue ($22, Redken). Get red and blue hair wraps to wrap around each of your ponytails. Find a baseball bat, and you're ready. The main thing here is being a makeup pro. Use this makeup look from Lupsona as inspiration that's both glamorous and spot-on. You can shop a different Harly Quinn look on Polyvore too.

3Baywatch (The 2017 version)

Paramount Pictures on YouTube

You're going to have to work with a red onepiece ($18, Fabkini) because after searching the Internet for hours, the best option is to DIY if you want recreate the exact updated 2017 look. You'll need a zipper ($7, AliExpress) and to add it to the front of the suit. If you're not sure how to do it, Craftsy has helpful tips on how to sew Spandex, and how to sew on exposed zippers.

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You'll either need rainbow sunglasses ($32, Etsy) or super round sunglasses ($17, Lulu's) to give you that 70's look. Get a flower crown and look at 1970's inspired makeup looks from Vida London for inspiration. Go bohemian with clothes you have, or hit up your local vintage store. You'll be able to bargain hunt and create a custom look that screams hippie-'70s-carefree vibes. You can also get bellbottoms for pretty cheap ($16, Poshmark) by searching online.

5A Unicorn


Forget Chinese Zodiacs, this was the year of the unicorn. Play with your hair color by creating rainbow hair with the hair makeup mentioned for Harley Quinn. Use this Instagram search for inspiration, and have fun with it. Most of them feature a rainbow tutu ($14.99, Claire's), a pair of white tights ($14, JC Penney), and a white leotard ($23, Missguided) and shiny silver shoes ($25, ASOS). Make sure you get the horn ($13, Amazon) right.

6Gum Ball Machine

I love this costume because it's cute, colorful, playful, and fun. You can make it conservative or sassy, and it can be accomplished with a little (OK a lot) of DIY spirit and a fun trip to the craft store. You can approach this costume two ways. The first is by following The Joy of Fashion DIY gumball machine costume tutorial with pompons ($2, Craft Outlet). She walks you through this step-by-step, but be warned that it requires a lot of sewing and fabric know-how to pull off. For this, you'll need a red dress ($56, ASOS) or a red top ($23, ASOS) and skirt ($20, H&M), pompons of all colors, grey felt, a black permanent marker, a disco ball ring ($65, Etsy), and makeup to pull the look together. I'd recommend a bold red lip to match the dress.

If you want the pompons to look more like gumballs, paint ping pong balls ($8, Walmart) with neon paint ($20, Michaels) and an acrylic gloss medium ($6, Blick). Mix the paints with the gloss in red solo cups and dip the balls in (or use a paint brush to paint them). Pull them out with chopsticks, let them dry, and repeat the process so they each have two coats of paint. Use a super adhesive glue ($3, Home Depot) to attach the balls onto your outfit. Use cardboard wrapped in aluminum foil for the 25¢ sign.

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7The Mad Hatter (the Johnny Depp Version, but Cuter)

This one is awesome if you're a naturally born red head and are killer at makeup. I wanted to do this look after finding a makeup ad from NYX Cosmetics on Instagram. To replicate this look, you'll need a face pencil in "Milk" ($5, Target) to use as the base coat. Get a top hat ($55, Etsy), and make a bowtie following a tutorial from on YouTube. Find a lacy long sleeve top and a jacket that works well. Finish off the look with inspired chunky jewelry, and your'e good to go.

If you don't have naturally red hair, try to get a good wig ($172, Wigsbuy) and style it.

8The IT Clown


This was the hit scary movie of the season, and a Pennywise costume is equally terrifying and obvious. If nothing else, people will know you're a scary clown, and that's what you're going for. Get a bright red balloon filled with helium and pair it with this cosplay outfit ($138, Movies Costume).

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