Despite the pandemic, we can still celebrate Halloween from our home, and the best way to get into the spooky spirit is by dressing up as some of our favorite queer icons. In the past few years, there has been an influx of great queer representation in both TV and film that have showcased queer characters as complex, powerful and not afraid to break typical gender norms with their unique fashion sense. Before you embark on your fun and spooky fashion journey, it's essential to be aware that non-queer people dressing up as gender-non-conforming individuals is rooted in a historical past of dehumanizing trans and queer folks to justify acts of violence against them. However, dressing as one of your favorite television or movie characters is totally okay and fun if you are mindful! Over the past years, there has been groundbreaking and excellent queer BIPOC representation in media. So, we must also be conscious if we chose to dress as a character outside of our race. Make sure to ask yourself if you would be comfortable wearing your Halloween costume around your BIPOC queer friends. If the answer is no, then it's time to find another costume choice and educate yourself. Remember, Halloween is supposed to be fun for everyone, not only some of us.
That being said, Halloween is known for being a time when queer people can explore their gender presentation in a way that doesn’t feel so daunting. All of these characters would make for super unique Halloween costumes and are something you can put together with items you might already have at home, and give off gay chaotic energy:
- Rue, "Euphoria"
Zendaya is an icon, but Zendaya's portrayal of Rue Bennett in the HBO hit series Euphoria was the gift that none of us deserved in 2019. You can easily recreate Rue’s look by rocking a red hoodie and Rue’s signature purple glitter tears, which is a super easy makeup look to execute even if you don't have excellent makeup skills. During the Halloween episode “The Next Episode,” Rue also rocked a suit with blue glitter makeup. If wearing a suit excites you, opt for that version of Rue!
- Jules, "Euphoria"
Another character from Euphoria is Jules, played by actress Hunter Schafer. Jules also stopped all our hearts in the Halloween Episode, with her stunning look as Juliet Capulet from Baz Luhrman’s adaptation of Romeo and Juliet (1996). For this costume, you need a white dress, a cross necklace (optional) and some angel wings, which you can find at your local dollar store. Again, the pièce de résistance of any Euphoria look is the innovative and bright.
- Emily Dickinson, "Dickinson"
For those of you who aren't much into make-up and want to channel your inner poet this Halloween, then Emily Dickinson from Apple TV's dark comedy, Dickinson, played by Hailey Steinfeld would be the perfect costume for you this year. If you are quarantining with a parent or grandparent, then you might already have access to all the clothing garments this costume requires. You'll need a long-sleeve white dress (which you can also easily find on an online thrift store like thredUP), a shawl, and your hair in a low bun. You might also want to carry a book or notebook as a prop to make the look a bit more literary.
- Ellie Chu, "The Half Of It"
One of the best queer representations of the year was Alice Chu’s coming of age film’s The Half Of It, where actress Leah Lewis plays Ellie Chu, a complex character who finds both romance and friendship without retreating to the typical “GBF” trope. Ellie Chu’s outfit also consists of items you probably already have in your closet during these colder months. You’ll need a green or blue parka, some baggy light-wash denim jeans, a red striped shirt, white sneakers, a white helmet and round glasses to complete the look.
- Anne Lister, "Gentleman Jack"
The BBC Drama, Gentleman Jack, tells the story of real-life Anne Lister, who was a landlord and diarist in the 19th century who lived in Yorkshire London. Lister openly rejected gender norms, especially with her gender-subversive fashion. This series also delivered a marriage proposal scene that wrecked us all emotionally. Anne Lister rocks a few different looks, so you can do your iteration of her style. You can use a puffy-sleeved shirt, a vest, a large trench coat, a top hat (optional) and a cane (optional). The most recognizable aspect of Anne’s look is her hairdo, so nailing that will be the key to making the costume work.
- Batwoman, "Batwoman"
Ruby Rose recently made history when she was cast as Batwoman on The CW for starring as the first openly LGBTQ+ character in a lead television role. Despite the significance of this vital media representation, the show does an excellent job of not reducing Batwoman’s character to only her sexuality. This badass character requires some innovation and crafting skills but could be a fun DIY project to take on! All you’ll need to buy is a red wig, a DIY mask, a cape, all-black attire and some red accents.
- Thunder, "Black Lightning"
In the show Black Lightning on The CW, Nafessa Williams plays Anissa Pierce, who balances life as a student activist and a superhero that goes by the name of Thunder. She also happens to be gay, making Thunder the first Black lesbian superhero on broadcast television in history! Thunder’s costume is pretty intricate, but in season three of Black Lightning, Thunder kicks ass in an outfit that still requires a bit of innovation but is simpler to recreate at home. You can remake this look by wearing a short-sleeve black hoodie, a DIY mask and open-finger black gloves.
- Megan, "But I’m a Cheerleader"
This one is a throwback but a true cult classic and transformative film for many young queer women. Natasha Lyonne's performance as Megan in But I’m a Cheerleader is what made her into the gay icon she is today. To dress as Megan, you'll need a pink button-down shirt, a checkered skirt (green, if you have it), and pearl earrings. Tease your hair to give it volume and pin the sides of your hair with two pink hairpins to achieve Megan's campy look.
- Yorkie, "Black Mirror"
Last but certainly not least, the fourth episode, “San Junipero” in season three of Netflix's Black Mirror brought one of the greatest queer love stories of the decade. In this episode, we see two opposites fall in love as they explore a simulated reality land called San Junipero. These characters make an excellent couples costume if you are quarantining with your significant other or a friend. To go as the introverted Yorkie, you’ll need beige khakis, a white polo shirt, a denim jacket and some glasses.
- Kelly, "Black Mirror"
To go as the extroverted Kelly, you’ll need either a purple or sparkly green 80’s-esque jacket, black tights, purple beads, some fun earrings (optional) and a bold hot-pink lip.
Some honorable mentions are also Eve from Killing Eve, Blanca from Pose, Kat Sandoval from Madam Secretary, pretty much any characters from Orange Is The New Black and so much more! Hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween. Cheers, queers!