If you’ve been left scrambling to assemble a Halloween costume in the eleventh hour, consider using your movie knowledge to help you dress to impress. The Film School Shorts team has curated ten costumes inspired by cinema, ranging from blockbuster hits to the indie arcane, in the hopes of inspiring your Halloween look.

A Ghost Story (credit: A24)

1. A Ghost Story

Not one to fret the details? Invest in some extra bedding and recreate a time-honored Halloween staple — the bed sheet ghost. The iconic look was used this year in a meditation on grief called A Ghost Story by David Lowery. All you need is a pair of scissors and a California King white bed sheet. Besides being easy to make, it’s a costume that decorates itself — throughout your night of revelry, you’ll gather the requisite dust and grime to imply you’ve journeyed through the ages.

Ansel Elgort in Baby Driver (credit: Sony Pictures)

2. Baby Driver

Ghouls not your thing? Seize on this year’s smash action flick Baby Driver by Edgar Wright. Phlegmatic Baby’s look necessitates items that you might already have in your closet: a varsity bomber jacket, dark sunglasses, earbuds and an IDGAF attitude. And if you do plan on driving this Halloween, car insurance.

Pennywise in IT (credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

3. IT

Do you prefer a costume meant to incite true terror? Then look no further than this year’s horror reboot of IT by Andy Muschietti. Revive the terror induced by last year’s rash of creepy clown sightings around the country as Stephen King’s monstrous clown creation, Pennywise. The key is not to get lost in the details. You’re sure to find a Halloween makeup kit at any drugstore. Then dig up a pair of baggy pajamas and pick up a red helium balloon on the way to the party, and you’re all set for giving your friends nightmares.

Pris Stratton played by Daryl Hannah in Blade Runner (credit: Warner Bros Pictures)

4. Blade Runner

Another reboot making a resurgence this fall is Blade Runner 2049, but rather than chasing a trend, take a cue from the original 80’s classic Blade Runner by Ridley Scott and replicate Pris Stratton – the “basic pleasure model” replicant from the film. If you ever went through a goth phase, your closet already holds the beginnings of this costume. Think black — a black dress, black boots, black choker, black eye makeup and a blond wig are all you need to pull this outfit together.

Tippi Hedren in The Birds (credit: Universal Pictures)

5. The Birds

No Halloween is complete without an ode to the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. Give a nod to the Bay Area’s own Tippi Hedren this Halloween with a recreation of her iconic turn as Melanie Daniels in The Birds. All that is required is a pencil skirt and jacket reminiscent of the 1960’s, her iconic french twist up-do and some bird seed to attract some needed accessories. Why bother with fake feathers in your hair when you can cause an even bigger stir by bringing the live birds with you?

Keanu Reeves in John Wick (credit: Lionsgate)

6. John Wick

Do you have a penchant for vengeance, but a soft spot for cuddly creatures? Look no further for movie inspiration than John Wick by David Leitch and Chad Stahelski. The best part about this look is its simplicity: A well tailored suit, preferably all in black, and a puppy.

Malcom McDowell center in A Clockwork Orange (credit: Warner Bros.)

7. A Clockwork Orange

When it comes to movie-inspired costumes, you can’t go wrong with any character from the Stanley Kubrick collection. But we recommend taking a look at A Clockwork Orange for some Halloween inspiration. Embrace Kubrick’s dystopian future and don the look of the “Droogs” gang with a bowler hat, suspenders, some dramatic eyelashes and a glass of milk because every growing guy or gal needs their calcium.

Louise and Lisa Burns as the Grady twins in The Shining (credit: Warner Bros.)

8. The Shining

Another Stanley Kubrick gem for Halloween inspiration is The Shining. While the trending hipster, lumberjack-chic would make copying father-turned-possessed-murderer Jack a cinch, challenge yourself and go as the Grady twins. Don’t get hung up on the wardrobe details with this one. Any frilly, child-like dress with hair clip will do. They key is finding a twin to really make people do a double take. Whether or not you go for blood is up to you.

Mark Duplass in Creep (credit: Blumhouse Productions)

9. Creep

If you’re aiming for the prize of “most esoteric costume ever,” take on the role of Josef from Creep by Patrick Brice. This modern cult horror film just stepped into the franchise arena with Creep 2 this year and it’s already garnering attention on the indie scene. Mark Duplass’s goofy, grinning villain keeps the costuming simple with a black zip-up jacket, dad jeans and a very well-maned werewolf mask. Add a few unsettling hip gyrations à la the scene seen around the world and people might not know who you are, but they won’t want to stand next to you. If you really want to go the extra mile, you can learn the song too.

Scarlett Johansson and Thora Birch in Ghost World (credit: United Artists)

10. Ghost World

The 90’s are having a resurgence. My 20-something roommates listen to nothing but Green Day and Nirvana, and everyone has a wallet chain again. With that in mind, nothing says 90’s like Terry Zwigoff’s cult hit Ghost World, which stars a young Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson. Bust out the best in the bottom of your closet to recreate this iconic look. With a mini-skirt, comic t-shirt, combat boots and glasses, people might just think you’re on trend and not in costume. Be sure to make reference to your obscure vinyl collection repeatedly at any event.

These costumes are totally doable, last minute get-ups. We’ve even done some ourselves!

Carly Severn as Pris and Julia Shackelford as Josef (credit: Zaldy Serrano and Anna Oh)

Happy haunting this Halloween season movie lovers!

10 Last Minute Movie-Inspired Costume Ideas for Halloween 30 October,2017KQED Arts

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor