16 Halloween costume ideas if you love pop culture in 2023

From Barbie to Taylor Swift

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Margot Robbie in a scene from "Barbie." (Warner Bros. Pictures via AP) (Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures, © 2022 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

Halloween is right around the corner, and do you have a costume yet for this spooky time of the year?

Sure, going as something that is spooky is the most on brand for Halloween, but I think it’s fun when people dress up with a clever costume, like a significant pop culture moment from the year.

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There was plenty of celebrity and news moments that happened this year, and luckily, they are all easy enough to turn into a topical and funny Halloween costume. Plus, they won’t break the bank trying to wrangle up all the pieces you’ll need. We love a fun and affordable Halloween costume!

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce

Taylor Swift reacts during a game between the Chicago Bears and the Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on September 24, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images) (2023 Getty Images)

What you’ll need: Travis Kelce jersey, red lipstick, chicken fingers with ketchup and ranch

Not only is this a great couples costume, it’s also very relevant to what is going on in pop culture. The pop singer and star football player are dating, and it’s all anyone can talk about. This is a pretty easy costume to put together, too. All you need is a couple of Kelce jerseys and people will know who you’re dressed up as immediately. Just don’t forget the chicken fingers Swift was munching on during the game!

The AI Pope

What you’ll need: A puffy white jacket

AI is truly wild, and it can make up some pretty realistic images that are totally fake. That happened earlier this year when people on the internet thought that the Pope was wearing a white puffy, white and oversized coat. The coat is actually pretty chic, and there’s no way the Pope would wear something so fashionable. It is a pretty funny image to look at, though.

Barbie and Ken

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Ryan Gosling, left, and Margot Robbie in a scene from "Barbie." (Warner Bros. Pictures via AP) (© 2022 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

What you’ll need: Anything pink, blonde hair, nice tan

You couldn’t go anywhere this summer without someone saying, “Hi, Barbie!” to you. It was the movie of the year, so it won’t be surprising if people dress up as Barbie and Ken. You get bonus points if you can recreate some of the outfits from the movie (my favorite was the rollerblading outfits), but if you have blonde hair and a pink outfit, people will understand who you are dressed up as.

Beyoncé at the Renaissance Tour

Beyoncé performs onstage during the "RENAISSANCE WORLD TOUR" at Soldier Field on July 22, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Parkwood) (2023 Kevin Mazur)

What you’ll need: Anything silver, cowboy hat

Queen Bey’s Renaissance Tour just broke the record for the highest grossing tour of all time, so what a way to honor her by being her for Halloween. The theme for the Renaissance Tour was silver, so if you have any sort of silver and flashy outfit on, it will make sense. Bonus points if you add a silver and glittery cowboy hat.

Ariel from ‘The Little Mermaid’

What you’ll need: Red wig, mermaid skirt

Disney’s live action remakes of their classics have been pretty hit or miss, but “The Little Mermaid” remake was just so dang good. This is a quick and easy costume, and honestly, it wouldn’t be surprising if they had a version of this at a Halloween costume store. You could easily make this a group costume by having your friends dress up as other characters from the movie.

Tanya from ‘The White Lotus’

Jennifer Coolidge in "The White Lotus." (Photograph by Fabio Lovino/HBO)

What you’ll need: Pink dress, pink scarf, a killer Jennifer Coolidge impression

Was there anything better than Jennifer Coolidge on the latest season of “The White Lotus?” Tanya was such an iconic character, and it was even more iconic when (spoiler alert) she was the one who died at the end of the season. For this costume, all you’ll need is Tanya’s memorable outfit from when she was called Peppa Pig by the Italian hotel manager. Oh, and practice saying “these gays, they’re trying to murder me” like Coolidge does.

The mushroom zombies from ‘The Last of Us’

The mushroom zombies from "The Last Of Us." (Photograph by Liane Hentscher/HBO)

What you’ll need: Impressive makeup skills

There was no other TV show that shook me to my core than “The Last of Us.” You could easily be Ellie and Joel from the show, but it would be even more impressive if you could be one of the mushroom zombies from the show/video game. Again, it wouldn’t surprise me if a Halloween store had masks that looked like the mushroom zombies, but you will absolutely win Halloween if you do your own makeup!

Mario and Luigi

Super Mario Bros Luigi and Mario pose at the "SUPER NINTENDO WORLD" welcome celebration at Universal Studios Hollywood on February 16, 2023 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images) (2023 Getty Images)

What you’ll need: A Mario and Luigi costume

We all know what Mario and Luigi look like, so finding costumes for them won’t be too difficult. People have been dressing up as the iconic duo for years, but this year feels like the year you should really dress up as them, since the Mario movie was such a box office success. This could easily turn into a group costume, as there are so many characters from the movie to dress up as. Only rule is that whoever is Bowser has to sing the “Peaches” song.

Nicole Kidman from the AMC commercial

What you’ll need: Silver sparkly pantsuit, red wig, bucket of AMC popcorn

If you’ve seen a movie at an AMC movie theater over the last two years or so, you’ll know that Nicole Kidman has a commercial that plays before every movie, where she sits in an empty theater and says things about how magical the movies are. The ad has turned into a cult classic of sorts, as people in the theater (myself included) will clap when the ad starts. When I saw “Barbie” this summer, the theater was just excited to see the ad as they were to see the film. Also, it’s what I’m being for Halloween this year.


Ronald McDonal and Grimace appear in the 94th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade¨ on November 24, 2020 in New York City. The World-Famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade¨ kicks off the holiday season for millions of television viewers watching safely at home. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Macy's, Inc.) (2020 Getty Images)

What you’ll need: Purple costume that make you look huge, purple milkshake

Fast-food restaurants are always trying to do promotions, but none of them worked quite as well as Grimace’s Birthday Shake from earlier in the summer. The purple milkshake was berry-flavored, but that didn’t even matter. It was the fact that we were celebrating the birthday of a random character from McDonald’s that isn’t even that popular. But when you think about it, Grimace is an icon, and that’s why we celebrated him. Plus, I bet no one at the Halloween party you’re going to will be Grimace.

Ariana Grande and Spongebob Squarepants

Ariana Grande attends the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images) (2020 Getty Images)

What you’ll need: Long ponytail, pop star microphone, Spongebob costume

This might be a super niche costume idea, but I think it would be hilarious. In case you didn’t know, Ariana Grande started dating Ethan Slater this summer, who famously played Spongebob Squarepants in the Spongebob musical on Broadway. This wouldn’t have been a big deal had Grande and Slater both left their former relationships to date each other. Apparently, the duo met on the set of “Wicked.” It would be even better if you dressed up as Glinda from “Wicked”/”Wizard of Oz” instead of Grande herself.

A writer/actor on strike

People picket outside of Paramount Pictures on the first day of the Hollywood writers strike on May 2, 2023 in Los Angeles. Scripted TV series, late-night talk shows, film and streaming productions are being interrupted by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike. In 2007 and 2008, a WGA strike shut down Hollywood productions for 100 days, costing the local economy between $2 billion and $3 billion. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images) (2023 David McNew)

What you’ll need: picket sign with a clever protest slogan written on it

We’ve been deprived of new TV shows and movies (especially since fall has arrived) over the last few months due to the writing and acting unions protesting the big Hollywood studios. Luckily, the writers guild came to an agreement, and it looks like the acting union will soon have their own agreement, too. However, this is a fairly easy and cheap Halloween costume to throw together last-minute, and who doesn’t want to support a union?


A cosplayer dressed as "M3GAN" poses at WonderCon 2023 at Anaheim Convention Center on March 26, 2023 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images) (2023 Chelsea Guglielmino)

What you’ll need: doll-like dress, parted brown wig, demeanour of a killer doll robot

This year’s best horror film has to go to “M3GAN,” the movie about an AI doll robot that wants to protect her new BFF a little too much. The movie became a surprise box office hit, and honestly, I thought the movie was more funny than scary. M3GAN was parodied from “SNL” to the “Drew Barrymore Show,” so people will immediately know who you are if you decide to be this homicidal robot.

Donald Trump’s mug shot

Fulton County Sheriff's Office releases mugshot of Donald Trump, who surrendered to authorities after being charged in connection with the alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia (Fulton County Sheriff's Office/ ABC News)

What you’ll need: Donald Trump wig, suit

It was the mug shot heard around the world a few weeks ago when the former president had a mug shot taken of him in Georgia. It was the first time any former president had a mug shot of them, so most people would catch on to your costume pretty easily if you played up the shot part of it.

A cast member of ‘Vanderpump Rules’

Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss attend the "Vanderpump Rules" Party For LALA Beauty Hosted By Lala Kent at Beauty & Essex on June 30, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images) (2021 Getty Images)

What you’ll need: An outfit you’d wear to the club, martini glass, waiter/waitress uniform

If you watch reality TV, then you know how addicting Scandovol was on “Vanderpump Rules.” Long story short, it came out that Tom Sandoval cheated on his longtime girlfriend, Ariana Madix, with another cast member on the show, Raquel. You could dress up as Tom and Ariana for Halloween, but it would be pretty funny to dress up as a SUR waiter (the restaurant the cast used to work at) or as Lisa Vanderpump herself.

Rihanna at the Super Bowl

Rihanna performs onstage during the Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) (2023 Getty Images)

What you’ll need: red jumpsuit, white jumpsuit

This year’s Super Bowl was basically a Rihanna concert that happened to have a football game being player before and after it. The world hadn’t seen Rihanna perform live in years, so it was a must-see TV event. She obviously killed it, and it became an instant classic when it comes to Super Bowl halftimes shows. You can dress up as Rihanna with a red jumpsuit, and make all your friends wear white and be the backup dancers.

Will you use any of these ideas for Halloween? Let us know in the comments below! And of course, send us your pictures!

About the Author

Jack is a Digital Content Editor with a degree in creative writing and French from Western Michigan University. He specializes in writing about movies, food and the latest TV shows.

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