10 Unlikely Halloween Costumes Based On Recent Movies

By  · Published on October 7th, 2015

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Welcome to my 8th annual list of Halloween costume ideas based on recent movies. As usual, the point here is for me to suggest costumes that nobody else has thought of, because you don’t want to be just another Imperator Furiosa or Ant-Man at the party. I’m not aiming to be too obscure, though. If so, I’d say to go as the greatest movie character of the year, Emily from Don Hertzfeldt’s animated short World of Tomorrow or, for a couple’s costume, Carl and Jean Boenish in their BASE jumping suits from the documentary Sunshine Superman.

This year I wanted to go with all memorable characters who aren’t necessarily popular or seemingly distinct enough to warrant a Halloween costume. Not all their movies were big box office successes, but they should all be familiar enough in name that your friends will nod when you explain to them who you are. As always, I want to see photos from anyone who takes one of my suggestions. And the story of your experience in the costume. I’d also love to see any other unique costume based on a recent movie, if you come up with something else.

Universal Pictures

Hunky Blackhat Hacker from Blackhat

Let’s start off with an easy one. All you need to dress up as Chris Hemsworth’s character in Michael Mann’s Blackhat is any sort of exaggerated muscle man suit (this inflatable one is perfectly ridiculous), then put a tight white or grey shirt over it and finish off with any kind of pants and maybe one of those mini laptops, to further the overstatement of scale.

Marvel / Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Unfortunately Named Characters from Avengers: Age of Ultron and Pan

This one works best as a pair, so loop your friend in. One of you goes as Ulysses Klaw (Andy Serkis) from the Avengers sequel and one of you goes as James Hook (Garrett Hedlund) in the Peter Pan prequel. Although I’m pretty sure Hook doesn’t lose his hand in Pan, it’s still enough of a known fate that giving the costume a hook hand is appropriate. And although we never see Klaw get a claw-like prosthetic, go with it anyway. Or both of you pretend to be missing an arm. Either way, you’re drawing attention to the fact that these characters have last names that are awfully prophetic. Maybe if you have a third buddy to bring into the fold, he can be Doctor Doom (Toby Kebbell) from Fantastic Four.

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LoudQUIETloud Villain from Jupiter Ascending

Some costumes only really work when you properly vocalize the part. This is that kind of costume, which might only go recognized by the few who saw the Wachowski’s latest once you speak. If you speak in the loud-quiet-loud style of Eddie Redmayne as Balem Abrasax. For the clothes, just look to the photo above – or, maybe you’ve still got an old Zorg costume you made based on The Fifth Element that you can repurpose. If you have a dog, you can bring him into the concept by giving him a little black outfit, some light-up roller skates and do they make eyeliner for pets? Probably not. Oh well. The pup will still look perfect as the half-canine Caine Wise (Channing Tatum). If your dog is from Andalusia, that’s all the better for extra Pixies-ness.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Ursual and Hugo Gernsback from Tomorrowland

It’s too bad Brad Bird’s new Disneyland-inspired movie wasn’t better – or even bad but beloved – because there would be some decent cosplay mined from its characters if anyone cared about them. I actually saw a photo of a couple dressed as young version of George Clooney’s character, Frank (Thomas Robinson), with his neat amateur Rocketeer look, and the 1960s version of Athena (Raffey Cassidy) from Comic-Con, but that was surely a real rarity. For even rarer, there’s the Gernsbacks (Kathryn Hahn and Keegan-Michael Key), who are arguably the most enjoyable part of the movie. Their black-and-white atom bomb shirts they wear in this viral video shouldn’t be too difficult to replicate if you’re okay going outside the actual movie story.

Twentieth Century Fox

Rick Ford from Spy

Here’s a little callback to the 2011 edition of Unlikely Halloween Costume Ideas (the real list from Spout is gone, so here’s a copy). Back then, I suggested going as the main character from Drive when he’s wearing what I believe is supposed to be a Jason Statham mask (it’s for the character’s work as a stunt double in action movies). This year, the real Statham gave a memorable comedic performance in Paul Feig’s Spy, and as a viral marketing effort, 20th Century Fox made a video showing how to make your own Statham (as Rick Ford) mask with a 3D printer. Once that’s produced, all you need is a white tuxedo jacket and black bow tie.

Universal Pictures

Lowery Cruthers from Jurassic World

I’m sure someone has already gone as Jake Johnson’s hipster control room character in this year’s Jurassic Park sequel. I’ve even seen a guy dressed as Jimmy Buffet’s cameo, for goodness sake. That’s how hard it is to come up with unique ideas for memorable characters these days. Anyway, I haven’t seen it done yet, and it’s a pretty easy one. Jurassic Park ringer tees are not hard to find and neither are horn-rimmed glasses. Finish it off with a giant Jurassic World soda cup, and you’re ready to go solo or as the most unique of a group costume involving all the movie’s main characters.


Sexy Sadness from Inside Out

Everything can be turned into a “sexy” costume, and everything apparently will be. That’s why it’s difficult to name one that hasn’t already been done, whether as cosplay or as exploited by some pricey costume manufacturer. There are already sexy Minions, sexy dinosaurs and sexy Ultron. There’s even a sexy Donald Trump costume. I haven’t seen any “sexy” costumes based on any of Pixar’s Inside Out characters yet, but most of them wouldn’t be too difficult. Joy and Disgust would be the easiest. But Sadness could be a challenge, because she’s so frumpy. Not impossible, however, as it’s hardly different than doing a sexy Velma from Scooby-Doo. Just get a tight blue body suit, a pair of glasses, find a turtleneck sweater that still exposes your cleavage and some tight-fitting short blue pants. And just constantly make an adorably sexy pouty face to keep it in character.

Universal Pictures

Tyler the Rapping Kid from The Visit

Evil grandparents might be a good couple’s costume, but how specific is that, really, to M. Night Shyamalan’s new horror film? More direct and also more unlikely is the idea to go as Tyler, the misogynistic rapper kid (Ed Oxenbould) who looks like a mini Dax Shepard. In lieu of a Dax Shepard mask, though, what would make this costume recognizable? That’s right, an adult diaper stuck on your face. You’ll gross everyone out, but that’s the point of Halloween, right? If you can convince your grandparents, evil or not, to take you out trick-or-treating in your Tyler costume, all the better.

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Vampire Whitey from Black Mass

We need at least one Johnny Depp character costume per year, and while you’re more likely to see other Whitey Bulgers than Mortdecais, there’s a way to go as Whitey but do it originally. Sort of. Depp hasn’t acknowledged this as far as I know, but his portrayal of the notorious gangster in Black Mass seems intentionally vampiric. If not intentional, it’s still quite noticeable, as a majority of reviews of the movie referred to his look and performance as vampiric. There’s even a video pretending Black Mass is a Nosferatu-like silent horror film. Just get a common Dracula costume, some blue contact lenses, slick your hair back and, since you’ll otherwise just look like any vampire, be sure to speak in a Boston accent.

The Weinstein Company / Lucasfilm, Ltd.

Chef Vader from Burnt

Bradley Cooper’s celebrity chef movie isn’t out yet (it will be by Halloween), but I’m inspired enough by the latest trailer, which offers up random Star Wars references by saying you have to be like Luke Skywalker to get a Michelin star, and then it’s suggested that maybe Cooper’s character is now like Yoda or, more plausible since he’s apparently a jerk, the Darth Vader of chefs. Because nothing Star Wars related can be totally unique, there have been Darth Vader chefs before, but now the idea has real meaning.

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.