If you are like me and you have a closet full of vintage style clothing and historical costumes, Halloween is just another day to dress up in one of them. Sounds boring until I put a little spooky spin on them, and suddenly my ordinary clothes become creative vintage Halloween costumes!
Need ideas on how to transform your vintage wardrobe? Here are over 50 unique vintage Halloween costume ideas to help you out. For starters, here are some pages to shopping cheap Halloween costumes by decade. Follow the links within this article or use the menu at the top for even more shopping help.
- Halloween themed clothing – not costumes, just women’s Halloween themed clothing to wear all month long.
- Victorian Costumes – Women’s dresses and men’s costumes.
- 1900-1910s Edwardian Costumes – Women’s dresses and men’s costumes.
- 1920s Halloween Costumes – Shop here for women and here for men’s costumes.
- 1930s Halloween Costumes – Shop here for women and here for men’s costumes.
- 1940s Halloween Costumes – Shop here for women and here for men’s costumes.
- 1950s Halloween Costume – Shop here for women and here for men’s costumes.
- 1960s Halloween Costumes – Shop here for women and here for men’s costumes.
- 1970s Halloween Costumes – Men’s and women’s ’70s costumes.
If you need help with your costume, just ask us!
Vintage Halloween Costume Ideas for Any Decade:
These costume ideas can work with any vintage decade you happen to have. It’s all in the accessories, makeup, and hair styling to take your vintage look to a Halloween worthy level. Starting with an all black dress or separates will be the easiest way to make almost any of these looks more spooky.
Zombie / Vampire
The blood sucking mayhem continues this year as a popular Halloween costume. Why not put a vintage twist on it. Flapper Zombie? Pin Up Vampire? Combine them all for a new idea each year. Shop Flapper costumes, Pin Up dresses, and retro dresses (all decades).
Ghost Bride and Groom
Do you have an old vintage wedding dress? Those are perfect for creating ghosts. Our first Halloween couples’ costume was of a Ghost Bride and Groom. I wore a ’60s wedding dress and he was in a grey suit and shirt. Add a ton of white or grey makeup and hair streaks and you will be ghostly in no time. Simple and easy and fun couples’ costume, although you certainly can pull this off solo too. See some ready-to-wear ghost bride costumes on the Victorian costume page.
Pin Up Mummy
Wear any vintage clothing and loosely wrap yourself in white gauze, cheese cloth, or strips of white fabric for a vintage mummy look. You may need help wrapping yourself up. Leave some of your vintage clothes exposed so you are obviously an “old soul.” The girls above are wearing vintage lingerie for a Pin Up Mummy costume.
Here is another mummy costume, but this time a 1920s flapper mummy! Use a white lace dress, layers of scarves, and some 1920s accessories creates this fun costume.
- Dress: See similar flapper dresses.
- Scarves: Lace shawls.
- Headband: See more flapper headbands.
- Necklace: Extra long pearls.
- Shoes: Gatsby T Straps.
Prom “Carrie” Dress
The ripped up prom dress with blood spatters has been a fun and easy costume to make for years! I would love to do this with a 1950s style prom dress, but any decade would work just as well. I would be very hesitant to use a real vintage dress, which probably can’t handle the blood staining. Look for a cheap thrift store dress or new ’50s style prom dress instead and use washable paint as blood.
Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos)
A current popular Halloween theme is the Day of the Dead look which is also a common goth or Rockabilly theme too. Start with heavy white makeup and a skeleton design on your face, arms, chest and legs (anywhere skin shows). For your dress, black or white seems to work best, although a more authentic Latin look with colorful flowers and Spanish lace or fringe is just as good. Any era of clothing can work to blend vintage and Day of the Dead together.
While the original Steampunk aesthetic was based around Victorian clothing, the costume movement itself has no “rules” you need to follow. Steampunk Vampire? Steampunk Sock Hopper? Steampunk Ghost? Steampunk Prom? If you can name it, it can be steampunked. The classic Steampunk accessories are lace up granny boots, brass gears, top hats, visible corsets, bustle skirts, goggles, and guns. Get creative with this one! Here is an article to help you with a women’s Steampunk costume and men’s steampunk costume.
Witch, Black Cat, Spider – Look at vintage Halloween costume pictures from the ’20s to the ’50s and you’ll see people didn’t transform themselves into someone or something else so much as they incorporated spooky Halloween elements into their everyday clothing. For example, a witch is a classic Halloween costume worn in all decades. The only difference is current fashions influenced the witch’s dress. It’s the same idea with a Black Cat (just add a tail and ears to any vintage black dress, romper or swimsuit). Adding spider webs to a skirt, a veil, bat wings, a pumpkin hat, or using other spooky appliques was another popular way to make Halloween costumes. With all the emphasis on blood and gore and dead things, these innocent original Halloween costumes seem like a breath of fresh air.
For my Halloween costume last year, I used the 1950s spider skirt as inspiration to make me into a spider queen. Beginning with a 1950s vintage black dress or skirt, simply sew or glue on thin ribbon, rhinestones or silver yarn into a spider web. Add a spider if you wish too. Complete the look with 1950s shoes and accessories and voila! (I left off the spider on mine because my baby is going to be my spider to make a matching mom and baby costume….awww.)
- Dress: Vintage. See similar 1950s style dresses here.
- Hat: Vintage. A 40s/50s black fascinator would look great too.
- Gloves: Vintage. Similar gloves here.
- Pearls: Vintage. New pearls here.
- Stockings: Seam Stockings in Black.
- Heels: Glittery Mary Janes. See similar shoes here.
Back in the 1940s, the sexy pinup girls were black cats. This look is easy if you have the confidence to pull it off. Start with a black playsuit (romper), swimsuit, or shorts and a blouse. Add sexy peep toe high heels and some cat costume pieces. Instead of just ears, I opted for a cat mask. Finally, I happened to have fuzzy velvet gloves which were another purrfect cat-like accessory.
- Playsuit/Romper: Forever 21. See similar rompers.
- Cat set: Cat tail, collar, and ears here.
- Cat Mask: Don’t Cross My Path Glittery Black Cat Mask.
- Fur Cuff Gloves: Vintage. See more gloves.
- Shoes: 1940s Ankle Strap Pumps.
1960s pumpkin / Jack O Lantern! You don’t literally have to look like a round pumpkin to create the same visual effect. If you have an orange dress, pin on felt cut outs of a Jack O’ Lantern face and wear a green vintage hat, scarf or headband. Fun and crafty idea! See this Glamorous Housewife blog post for inspiration.
- Dress: Forever 21. See more ’60s dresses or Halloween themed clothing.
- Scarf: Green Scarf.
- Shoes: Target. See similar ’60s shoes (Go Go boots would be awesome!).
Be Miss America, Miss (your state) or a beach beauty queen from the past. Wear any of your vintage or vintage style swimsuits, heels, and sunglasses for a pageant worthy costume. Don’t forget to make a sash announcing your title. You may also need a coat or wrap to stay warm outside.
Playsuits or rompers are another option without the swim aspect. They have a pin up look with a little more modesty.
Halloween Themed Clothes
You don’t actually need to wear a costume to dress for Halloween. Wearing retro Halloween themed dresses, skirts, shirts, shoes, and accessories is all you need to be festive. Clothes with spider webs, bats, ghosts, skulls, birds, and black cats will keep you in the Halloween spirit during October. Shop here.
You can mix your Halloween themed clothing into a costume if you wish. This costume is based on the movie Nightmare Before Christmas and the lead character, Jack Skellington. For this female Jack Skellington look, start with a striped dress, skirt, or pants. You could add a striped jacket or sweater as well, but for this look I fell in love with a skull themed cardigan sweater instead. Paired with skull tights and a not too spooky pair of black cat heels, it is a little bit of everything Halloween.
Look at the collection of retro inspired Halloween clothes and create your own look:
1920s Halloween Costumes
Flapper and more- Turn that flapper costume dress up a notch by becoming a Ziegfeld Follies girl. Or a character from Chicago, The Great Gatsby, The Artist, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Boardwalk Empire, Peaky Blinders, or even Downton Abbey. Whatever your favorite 1920s movie or TV show is, use that as inspiration to adjust your costume away from the stereotypical and into a classy dame! Try a cloche hat instead of a headband, handpainted stockings instead of fishnets, and a no-tobacco e-cigarette for realistic “smoking” (only where allowed inside).
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby (Men or Couple) – Naturally, becoming the Great Gatsby is an excellent costume by itself. You can take it up a notch by adding pale makeup and a fake gunshot wound to signify Gatsby returned from the dead. Your partner could be Myrtle, who also came back from the dead. There are other easier men’s 1920s costumes you can wear too. Look here for some men’s costumes ideas. For the ladies, look at these 1920s thrift store costume ideas.
Jordan Baker (The Great Gatsby) – Did you remember Jordan was a pro women’s golfer? 1920s golf clothes are easy to recreate. A mid shin pleated skirt with a blouse worn under a long button down sweater (funky patterns are perfect) makes an easy 1920s golf costume. Jordan and other “new women” in the 1920s were making a statement against those silly flappers. Dress in men’s 1920s inspired clothing (pants/knickers, newsboy hat, and tie!) for a radical and historically correct costume.
Silent Movie Stars
I ran across this idea on Pinterest, and I love it. Wear all black or grey tone clothing and makeup and carry around a chalk board to “talk” to people. Since the 1920s were the golden age of silent movies, you might as well reuse those 1920s costumes. See more examples on this Glamourous Housewife blog post.
1920s flapper dresses for sale:
Gangsters (Men or Women) – Boardwalk Empire made 1920s gangsters popular again. This is naturally a great men’s costume, however women could do the gender bending gangster role too, with just as much class. Real 1920s gangster women wore dresses, but many independent “New Women” wore wide leg pants with a button down shirt or blouse and a necktie. Suspenders or a vest add a bit more of the menswear look. Shoes are plain women’s Oxfords and a hat could either be a newsboy cap or a fedora. Carry a toy Tommy gun if you wish. Shop gangster costumes.
See more DIY gangster girl outfits here.
Aviator Amelia Earhart
Aviator– Another gender defying woman in the 1920s was Amelia Earhart. Her vintage Aviator costume is becoming more and more popular every year. You can buy this costume above or combine a leather flight jacket, riding pants or knickers, tall riding boots, a vintage aviator hat with goggles, and a white scarf. Easy!
Court Jester / Clown
Court Jester – People in the 1920s took dressing up and Halloween very seriously. Most home and public parties were themed parties where everyone wore homemade costumes. Looking through old costume books from the 1920s, there is one theme that repeats itself: the Court Jester. The 1920s were obsessed with historical court life. Your look could be an awesome court jester outfit, 18th-century gown or vintage Harlequin clown costumes. While it may not scream “1920s,” it certainly would be fun. My friend Lauren made a black and white Pierrot clown costume last year and it turned out amazing!
Egyptian Queen / King- Another popular theme in the 1920s was anything Egyptian. You can take your 1920s beaded dress and add theme accessories like a snake arm bangle, a beaded headdress, gold sandals, and a scarab ring. Add Egyptian makeup to complete your look.
Peacock / Butterfly
Peacock, Butterfly, Dragonfly – Another popular vintage 1920s costume Halloween theme was birds and insects, especially colorful ones like peacocks, dragonflies, and butterflies. Wear 1920s clothing in the animal or insect’s color (or black) and add wings or feathers. I used my green beaded flapper dress and made a peacock facemask for a Halloween Masquerade party one year. The above butterfly wings would look amazing with a black flapper dress. There are a bunch of dresses, headbands, wraps, and even shoes with a peacock or insect motif to help you get the look.
1930s Halloween Costumes
Gypsy – 1930s movies were obsessed with the mysterious Gypsy women.You can turn any 1930s clothing into a gypsy costume by adding scarves, headwraps, big hoop earrings, and of course your fortune telling ball. Belly Dancing clothes are great for this costume, as well as Boho accessories.
Bonnie and Clyde
Bonnie and Clyde (Couple) – I know, I know, so overdone right? But it’s a perfect way to wear your 1930s clothes and be a coordinated couple. If you want to be a bit gorier, add multiple bullet holes and pale makeup for a post mortem return.
For Bonnie, you can wear a midi skirt and bow blouse or knit sweater with 1930s style shoes. For Clyde, a pair of wide leg pants, dress shirt and shoes keeps it casual. Add a pair of suspenders and a hat for a touch more vintage appeal.
Musical Dancing Stars (Fred and Ginger)
Musical Movie Star – Hollywood moved away from silent movies into singing and dancing musical sensations. Don your finest old Hollywood gown, put on your gold or silver dancing shoes, add a tuxedo clad dancing partner to your side, and be the next Fred and Ginger!
Bride of Frankenstein
1930s monster movies – Frankenstein, The Mummy, Dracula, Black Cat and Bride of Frankenstein all came out in the 1930s. You could say it was a decade obsessed with Halloween horror flicks. Why not watch these movies and recreate the costumes from them? Here is a look at women in 1930s horror movies.
Elegant Bat Woman
Being a bat is another timeless Halloween costume. Being a beautiful bat is something the 1930s can do best. Following these pictures as inspiration, I wore a long black velvet ’90s does ’30s black velvet gown, vintage opera gloves, and a bat mask. The crafty bat wings are a rectangular piece of sheer embellished fabric. I gathered the fabric into a bustle effect and secured it on with safety pins, raised my arms and viola! Bat wings. So glamorous!
- Dress: Vintage, find similar 1930s style dresses here
- Gloves: Long Black Gloves
- Jewelry: Deco costume earrings and bracelet
- Mask: Lace Bat Mask
- Shoes: 1930s Heels
Olive Oyl (Popeye)
The best cartoon lady of the 1930s was no other than Popeye’s favorite girl, Olive Oyl. Her look is easy to make in any decade from the 1930s onward. In the above look, I paired a red top with a black skirt and brown heels instead of boots. Of course, you can buy a ready-made Olive Oyl costume too.
The other cartoon film star of the 1930s was the sexy Betty Boop. Her short sequined red flapper dress is an iconic sexy costume, yet I prefer just a black dress to replicate her original black and white cartoon. Don’t forget her short kiss curled hair and 30s makeup.
1940s Halloween Costumes
The Pinup – Yes, the iconic 1940s pinup in a sexy tight fitting wiggle dress, romper, or swimsuit makes a perfect vintage costume. Add tall heels,a hair flower, and seamed stockings for the final details.
One funny alternative to this look is to age yourself with makeup (or not, if you’re already well past your pin up prime), add a grey wig, and carry around a photo of your “younger self.” Granny pin up girl!
Another Pinup Idea is to be the showcase girl who promotes a “new” vintage item. Carry around a vintage telephone, toaster oven, Silly Putty, or any other 1940s invention. Go out and sell your product!
WWII was in full force at the start of the 1940s. Many were off at war wearing various uniforms (Army soldier, Navy seaman, and Pilot are the most common men’s costumes) women were serving in non-combat volunteer roles such as WAVES, WAC, SPARS, Red Cross nurses, and clerical personnel. Choose one of these WWII inspired uniforms for your 1940s event or Halloween party.
Sailor and Nurse
Sailor and Nurse (Couple) – Use the most iconic 1940s photo – “The V day Kiss”- and become that couple. He can wear a navy sailor suit and she can wear a white nurse’s uniform (or any white dress), white tights, and white Oxford shoes. Wear a lot of chapstick, because your lips might get raw from kissing all night : )
Radio Hour Voice (Men and Women) – Before TV, the radio is what everyone used for news and entertainment. Be one of the famous “voices” of the radio by dressing in 1940s clothing and carrying around an old microphone as a prop. Stop and recite some funny vintage commercials, sing a song, report the news, or play a game show. Use real scripts from the 1940s and entertain your friends!
See 1940s costume clothing ideas for women and men (coming soon).
Rosie the Riveter
Rosie the Riveter – Another classic 1940s costume that is really easy to create from thrift store clothing or stuff in your closet already. Overalls or wide leg denim jeans, a men’s style button down shirt, and headscarf is all you need. Add some tools to your pockets for props. Shop here for all the items.
Sailorette – Besides the sexy pinup, the most popular 1940s – 1950s look is the Navy and White (or Red, White and Blue) sailorette dress. Nothing says WWII cutie like a sailor inspired vintage dress. It doesn’t have to look “costumey” to look great on you. Make or buy a “V” pin for Victory as a charming and historically correct accessory.
Wonder Woman – Be a vintage comic book character! Research any of your favorite comic book characters and you may find a fascinating history of his/her clothing as they developed through the decades. Wonder Woman is one comic book icon whose 1940s costume is one of my favorites. Her costume changed a bit over the decades, but I still love the 1940s version best. She is a popular costume this year, so you could either buy a complete cheap-ish Wonder Woman costume or DIY your own. Use a polka dot skirt and red top, white belt, red western boots and a Wonder Woman tiara for the look above. If you are inspired by the latest movie set during WWI, consider one of these costumes she wore in London.
Agent Carter is a hit TV show set after WWII. Agent Peggy Carter’s clothing ranges from military inspired uniforms to patriotic colored wiggle dresses. She also loves a good pair of high waisted pants with a blouse and peep toe heels. Don’t forget her iconic red fedora hat.
Dorothy – Made in 1939, The Wizard of Oz featured Dorothy wearing a 1940s blue gingham dirndl dress (also called a jumper dress) over a white peasant blouse and the most magical red sequin shoes. Cheap Dorothy costumes are great as is, but for something more unique, try pairing a dirndl dress with a blouse, white socks, and red shoes. Don’t forget Toto in a basket.
Also consider characters from other movies made in the 1940s, such as Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White and …
Jessica Rabbit– Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a classic ’40s detective drama with a lot of cartoon characters. Jessica Rabbit is by far the sexiest cartoon was ever drawn (sorry Betty Boop). Her sequin strapless red gown, long purple gloves, pink high heels, and pouty red lips are what dreams are made of. If you have the body and the confidence, you MUST be Jessica Rabbit for Halloween.
Vintage Baseball Uniforms – The Rockford Peaches baseball team kept spirits high during the war. Their adorable uniforms are what puts a smile on my face. You can buy these two costumes as is or make your own with a 1940s style pink shirtwaist dress, belt, tall socks, baseball hat, and cleats (saddle shoes would look cute too). For a couples’ costume, have your other half dress in a men’s vintage baseball shirt.
1950s Halloween Costumes
1950s Sock Hop – If you are new to the 1950s look, the most natural costume to select is the teenager’s poodle skirt with black and white saddle shoes, bobby socks, a chiffon scarf, and cat eye glasses. Learn more about what women really wore to the Sock Hop.
Rock N’ Roll lovin’ teen boys wore dark denim blue jeans with the cuffs rolled up, saddle shoes,a white T-Shirt, and a leather jacket. This is also known as the Greaser look. Women can wear this too – maybe with snug capris instead of long jeans. Easy last minute costume!
Grease – Speaking of greasers the cast of Grease always makes fun 1950s costumes. You could be a pink lady, Rydell cheerleader, Beauty school drop out and many many more. Besides these Halloween costumes, you can assemble your own 1950s car hop costume with these tips.
Car Hop – A popular job for teens in the 1950s was to be a roller skating car hop. Find a vintage pair of skates, a skirt, capris/pants, and bowling shirt for a uniform look. Make yourself a name tag with a cute ’50s pet name like “Bunny” and carry a serving tray as your prop.
Marilyn Monroe- There are many famous movie and TV stars that would make great 1950s costumes. Marilyn Monroe is one of them. Her iconic white halter neck swing dress is easily recognized. Consider her other famous costumes such as the pink evening gown, sultry white slit gown, and sexy burlesque costume.
Shop these ’50s classic Halloween costumes.
Lucy / Housewife
1950s Housewife – If you have a 1950s style house dress or polka dot dress, you can easily pull off the I LOVE LUCY, June Cleaver, or Donna Reed vintage housewife look. Add a retro apron and carry a pie as your prop. For a gross twist, place a hand, eyeballs, or other dismembered body part in the pie. A creepy smile helps too.
Retro Disney Characters
Twice a year, Disneyland has a Dapper Day event where men and women dress in vintage clothing at the theme park. It is great fun seeing what everyone comes up with. Many women choose to dress as their favorite Disney character but with a vintage-inspired twist. Take Minnie Mouse for example. She is retro already with a cute polka dot dress, petticoat, hair bow, necklace, and retro heels. She is, after all, a classy little mouse. I love the combination of red and yellow. It is so retro!
Another idea is to channel your inner Snow White with a mix of retro 1950s clothes. Start with a yellow dress or skirt, it could be long or short. Wear a blue cardigan over the dress or a blue blouse with your skirt. Add a splash of red accessories such as a red hair bow/headband, red shoes, and 1950s style red purse! All of the items in this Snow White costume are from Unique Vintage
For more Disney inspired retro ideas, consider Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Cruella DeVille, Sleeping Beauty, Little Mermaid or the Frozen sisters.
“Up” (Couple) – My husband and I are huge Disney Up fans. We danced to the theme song at our wedding, had the couple’s chairs as our wedding cake topper, painted the Up house in my daughter’s nursery, and soon will be dressing up as the young Up couple (late ’50s/’60s/’70s clothes). We are such nerds like that! Go ahead, steal this idea, its ok. Shop 1950s style women’s and men’s clothing.
Hawaiian / Tiki Costumes (Couple) – A popular party trend in the 1950s was the tropical Tiki room. Hawaiian music, drinks, and clothing were what everyone was listening to and wearing. This is a fun couples’ costume. Women can dress in tropical print 1950s dresses while the men look dapper in Hawaiian shirts. Don’t forget to wear a lei and carry a Pina Colada pineapple drink with you!
Rockabilly / Pinup
Rockabilly – Rockabilly is now a somewhat mainstream ’50s inspired pinup fashion blended with western elements and the rock n’roll lifestyle. Dressing in 1950s Rockabilly clothing could mean wearing a black/red dress with gothic, skulls, flames, leopard, or cherry prints. Casual Rockabilly looks are pairing black capri pants with a sexy 50s top and high heel shoes or comfy ballet flats.
1950s style clothes:
1960s to 1980s – Halloween Costumes
Beatnik – Be a ’60s starving artist with an all black outfit – 1960s black dress or stirrup pants, turtle neck shirt or sweater, beret hat, and a fake cigarette. An accent of a white scarf is so MOD too. Another easy last minute costume to wear.
Mod Hipster / Spy
Mod Hipster or Spy – I love mod print clothing for their graphic style and wild colors. Two tone colorblock dresses, short shift dresses, mini skirts, and other classic mod ’60s designs can stand out on their own as a cool costume. Add tall go go boots and funky sunglasses to complete your outfit. Shop 1960s mod costumes here.
Hippie – Bright clashing colors, bell bottom pants, folk prints, long hair, and leather fringe. Hippie costumes are fun and easy to create. With the current trend in Boho ’70s fashion, the clothes are easy to buy. Need I say more?
Audrey Hepburn – Who doesn’t swoon over Audrey Hepburn’s long black gown, white gloves, cigarette holder, sunglasses,, and sparkling pearl jewelry in her role at Breakfast at Tiffany’s? This is an easy outfit to re-create, assuming you have a 60s black formal gown.
One of my favorite easy to DIY costume looks is a French mime. It cane be set in any time period, but the black and white theme sets it best in the 1950s or 1960s. Almost everyone I know has a striped shirt in their closet these days and some kind of black skirt, jumper or pants. Now add a pair of black and/or white shoes, black or white gloves, and a black hat (berets are a great choice of style this year too). You could leave your back and white mime outfit alone or add one little pop of color with a red scarf, or in this case a red headband turned into a scarf. Easy right?
The 1970s boho/hippie fashion is back in style, which makes it very easy to DIY a simple costume. How about a 1970s scarecrow? At first, this outfit looks like one of my fall outfits with flared jeans, lace up boots, a plaid tunic shirt and belt. Adding a straw hat takes it to that costume level, but the secret to making this everyday style into a Halloween costume is in the makeup (if you choose).
Morticia Addams – I love her and all the characters from the Addams Family. Her sexy long black dress with bat wing sleeves is easy to make with a chiffon shawl for the wings. Don’t forget her long black hair (wig) too. If you prefer the other female Addams Family member, Wednesday Addams, a 1960s black and white mod dress is a great start.
Bewitched – This popular TV series aired in 1964 with clothing that was part housewife, part witch. Be both sides at once with a 1960s house dress covered up in half by a witch costume. Two vintage costumes in one!
Disco – 1970s Disco costumes are BIG this year. Everyone is shopping for 70s jumpsuits with flare legs or fringe vests and faux or fur coats. Add a big Afro wig, dancing heels, a chain necklace, and you are ready to party at Studio 54. Do you have the Saturday Night Fever in you for Halloween this year?
Strawberry Shortcake (Matching mom and baby) – In 1977, the Strawberry Shortcake character was made and eventually became a popular 1980s cartoon. I never watched the show, but I remember my first board game was Strawberry Shortcake themed. A few Halloweens ago, I found a cute Strawberry themed costume for my then 6-month-old daughter. I bought a ready made Strawberry Shortcake costume so that together we coordinated. It was really cute! You could easily make a version of her costume with a pink skirt or dress, white blouse, striped green tights, mop cap, and a frilly apron.
80s Roller Skating Divas
1980s roller-skating teens – Oh the ’80s with their bright, colorful, clashing colors and leg warmers! Bring back the ’80s fashion icons that you love to hate: peg leg pants, ugly sweaters, scrunchy wrapped ponytails (on the side), huge shoulder padded suits, leggings, fluorescent pink jewelry, and leotards. Shop ’80s costumes.
TV Land Ladies – Who doesn’t want to look like Jackie O or wear a cute Pan Am Stewardesses uniform (with bag) or be a Mad Men character? Vintage Inspiration is all over past and current TV shows.
Historical Costume Ideas
Gothic Victorian – Have a black Victorian dress? Probably not, but now is a perfect time to make/buy one. You can use it as a base for a Gothic vibe, Lolita style, Ghost, or Steampunk. Add to your costume by coming up with a real or made up a story of how you lived and died in Victorian times. Shop Victorian costumes (plenty of witches).
Moulin Rouge- I went to a Moulin Rouge themed party for Halloween last year. I had so much fun putting together my costume. I was going for a mix of vintage circus, burlesque, and Steampunk in my look. Read more about it here.
On a similar theme, a vintage Ringmaster costume is a trendy Halloween look this year. Striped pants, riding boots, an ivory blouse, and the best part – a red military-style jacket with brass buttons. To take it to a costume level, add white gloves and a mini top hat.
The Victorian ladies of the night were not always about sex. They were usually just dancers hired to socially entertain men in upscale saloons and dance halls. Their outfits were shorter, more decorated, and a bit more revealing than a ladies’ costume. Sometimes called a Can Can Dancer costumes, Victorian Saloon girl costumes are a lot of fun to wear! Shop here.
Almost every woman is introduced to the era of giant hoop dresses from the Civil War era while watching Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind. Her ladylike white dress or thrifty curtain ballgown are two iconic Victorian dresses. You, too, can dress like a southern belle with an early Victorian dress and shoes or a ready-made costume.
Titanic Passenger- Ghost
Titanic Dress- The 100th anniversary of Titanic’s maiden voyage and ultimate demise was remembered eight years ago. It is still a very popular theme for parties and costumes. This era of clothing is also easy to make, using a few select thrift store clothes. Read about how to create your own Titanic dress here. I have seen some awesome makeup done to look like frozen ice crystals.
- Dress: Nataya Titanic Tea Dress in Black Gold
- Robe: Thrifted
- Hat: Thrifted. See similar Edwardian style hats
- Necklace: Heart of the Ocean (of course!)
- Shoes: Astoria Edwardian shoes
- Gloves: Vintage
Mary Poppins (1910s)
The most loved nanny of all times, Mary Poppins! Her traveling costume is an easy one to re-create in a 1910s meets today style. Start with a white blouse and a blue or black skirt. A long skirt is more authentic but a shorter one like above with a pair of black stockings is a bit more youthful (and easier to buy). Next, you need a bit of red. Mary wears a red bow tie around her shirt collar, but a red belt creates the same cheerful effect. A blue or black blazer adds another layer to her costume. A small black vintage hat and black boots come next. Finally, a large leather or woven fabric “carpet bag” and an old long black umbrella are perfect accessories.
Nothing has Halloween creepiness like a corpse that has come back from the dead. The, unfortunately, beheaded Marie Antoinette has been a classic Halloween costume for centuries. She and countless others who lost their lives in a most gruesome way come back to haunt us each year. If you have an 18th-century costume in your wardrobe, by all means, bring it out, add an oozing neck cut, ghostly makeup, and the story of your demise.
- Chemise Dress and Hat: Handmade by Lauren Stowell
- Clocked Silk Stockings in white
- 18th Century Leather Shoes “Kensington” in Oxblood red (even the color is spooky)
Need more ideas? Check out this Pinterest page of Vintage Halloween Costumes