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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

If you’re last-minute panicking about a Halloween costume that checks all the boxes, look no further. Don’t get me wrong — I love a good Playboy bunny or cat costume — but I’ve been on the search for new and exciting costumes for 2021. Halloween is my favorite time of the year, and I’ve compiled a list of the top costumes for this season. From group to solo costumes, these are my current favorites that I can’t wait to see people wear!

1) Cruella Deville and Villains

This one has gained some popularity on TikTok and other social media platforms, but I have to include it because it’s just too good. I think it can be done in a variety of ways and is an easier, inexpensive option as you can use pre-existing items in your closet. All you really need is a red or black dress, a (fake) fur coat — which could be Dalmatian print for some extra flair — red gloves, a fake cigar, and even a Dalmatian puppy stuffed animal for the fun of it. If you wanted to go all the way with it, you could even buy temporary, white hair color spray and use it on half your head or the full-Cruella look.

I think this could be transformed into a group costume too, with each of your friends portraying a different Disney villain like Ursula, Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Hades, or any other character of your choice. The villain aesthetic is so fun and sexy to play with and is definitely a stand-out from the normal, basic costumes that are recycled each year!

2) The Purge Bunny

The Purge has been a popular costume choice over the years, with the neon masks and oversized white shirts, but a new twist on it is a total game-changer. The Purge Bunny is a combination of a totally hot outfit and a costume that is actually in reference to something scary, unlike most of the typical ones. Pinterest has tons of reference pics for this costume if you are interested and want inspiration. All you really need is red or black bunny ears and a mask, as well as a baseball bat or fake weapon of some sort. The rest of the outfit is up for interpretation, but you could totally rock a red latex dress, as that’s what the most popular choice for this costume is.

3) White and Black Swan

Even if you haven’t seen the iconic 2010 film, this costume for a duo or even solo would be hauntingly beautiful and unique. It can be fairly easy to recreate, with tutus and corsets, but also could be a great project to throw yourself into to make a one-of-a-kind look. The makeup is also a key part, which you could play up with a black, smokey eye and recreate the movie’s signature look. It amps up the typical white and dark angel look that people usually go for, but is definitely a more creative and fresh take on the go-to black and white costumes. 

4) Hocus Pocus Witches

This trio costume would be so much fun to recreate in honor of the best Halloween movie to exist. It can easily be constructed with each of your friends dressing as one of the Sanderson sisters — Sarah, Winifred, and Mary — and wearing their signature color. It’s a new take on the witch costume, but also maintains the ease and reusable aspects of the timeless witch fit. You could do this costume any way you wanted with varying outfits. The only necessity is wearing the witches’ colors, making this a fairly effortless costume. 

5) Carrie 

Want something a little more horror-themed? Then this costume is the one for you. I have yet to see this be done, but I would love to see someone dress up as Carrie. In an ode to the cult classic horror film, all you need is a pink satin slip dress, a tiara, a sash and — for extra gore — some fake blood. This look would go absolutely crazy, and even better: you definitely wouldn’t have to worry about someone else wearing the same thing. It is the perfect combination of horror and beauty, which is exactly what Halloween calls for!

Halloween is the perfect time to be individualistic and dress up like whoever you want to be. Always go with what you’re most comfortable with, but there are no limits to what you can be and do with your looks. The key for a simple, yet special costume is to transform a staple, timeless Halloween costume and make it your own or take it one step further with a contemporary update. Most importantly: just have fun with it!

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Contributors from the University of Massachusetts Amherst