Halloween is just around the corner, and many of us slackers haven’t had a second to figure out what we want to wear. Well, have no fear! I’ve compiled a list of 20 fabulous and nerdy cosplays that are a breeze to put together (and easy on the purse strings).
Buffy Summers (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
What You Need: Any 90s era clothing, a blonde wig, and a sharpened stick
Tip: With Buffy, two things are important: the attitude and the stake. Make sure you bring both!
Superboy (from DC Comics)
What You Need: a black Superman logo t-shirt (or you can make your own with a black tee and red fabric paint), blue jeans, and a black wig
Tip: When everyone asks you if you’re Superman, make sure to get really angsty to sell the character better.
Hogwarts Students (from the Harry Potter franchise)
What You Need: a white dress shirt, a black V-neck sweater, a tie of appropriate house color (maroon and yellow, gray and green, blue and silver, or black and yellow), and a wand-like twig
Tip: Make sure to brush up on your spells! While the vast majority of folks will recognize you, shouting in bad Latin while brandishing twigs will be sure to jog their memories.
Men In Black Agents (from the Men In Black franchise)
What You Need: a black suit, a white dress shirt, and black sunglasses
Tip: If you’re worried about not getting recognized (or being mislabeled as a Secret Service employee or a Blues Brother), have your accessories and catch phrases handy! You can always spray paint a toy gun silver or create a neuralyzer out of a cigar case to sell the character.
Vixen (from DC Comics)
What You Need: a yellow open top (or the top part of a yellow one-piece bathing suit), yellow leggings, chunky belt, and a short, black wig
Tip: Try to match yellows as closely as possible, but don’t be afraid to mix it up! If you’re worried about recognition, bring along a stuffed animal or two!
Michonne (from The Walking Dead)
What You Need: a dreadlock wig, a fabric headband, a katana, a light brown vest, and a dirty white sleeveless shirt
Tip: The most important things for recognition are the hair, the headband, and the sword. Don’t be afraid to dirty it up to give it that more authentic look.
Dr. Who (from the Doctor Who franchise)
What You Need: a light brown (woolen) suit coat, a bowtie, a dress shirt, a pair of dress slacks, and a brown wig
Tip: The Doctor’s most recognizable accessory (other than the TARDIS) is his sonic screwdriver. Many nerd hubs have plastic ones that can be purchased (at Books-A-Million for example), or you can attempt to make one. Similar to the MIB neuralyzer, I’d recommend using the case that individual cigars come in along with some gray construction foam and some silver spray paint.
Selene (from the Underworld franchise)
What You Need: a black long sleeve shirt, a black pair of leggings (both preferably latex or shiny, but not needed), a black corset on top, and a black wig (bonus for light blue contacts and/or fangs)
Tip: You can always make a water gun/paintball gun into a simulacrum of Selene’s weapons to complement the look. Or, if you want to avoid guns, create several throwing stars out of gray construction foam!
Costuming + Make-Up
Death (from The Sandman series)
What You Need: a black spaghetti strap shirt, a pair of black pants, a pair of black boots, a black wig, and white face paint (bonus for making an ankh necklace)
Tip: Death is usually given eyes that look like Egyptian hieroglyphs or have a small black curl coming down from the corner.
Dr. Manhattan (from Watchmen)
What You Need: a pair of black bikini briefs, blue body paint (or a blue body stocking), and black eye liner
Tip: Dr. Manhattan has a heavy black outline around his entire eye as well as his classic symbol (a circle with a dot in the direct center) in the middle of his forehead
El Diablo (from Suicide Squad)
What You Need: a white athletic shirt, a bald cap, and black body paint
How You Do It (the face): El Diablo’s tattoos aren’t as distinctive as you think—in fact, they come off in the comic when he uses his powers. The main thing to focus on is making the face reminiscent of a skull: black around the eyes, tribal designs on the side of the face to simulate the recesses below the cheek bones, and the lines on the lips/chin to suggest teeth.
Costuming + Construction
Luke Cage (from Netflix’s Luke Cage)
What You Need: a black or gray hoodie, a bald cap, and a pair of scissors
How You Do It (the hoodie): Anyone who’s seen the show knows that Luke goes through a lot of clothes (so what you choose isn’t as important), BUT your look you needs to be bullet-ridden. To achieve this, pinch up the fabric and make a very small X with the scissors. This will make the holes look like something has burst out (as opposed to making a perfect circle).
Steven (from Steven Universe)
What You Need: a red t-shirt, a pair of jeans, a red pair of flip-flops, a brown, wavy wig, and yellow fabric paint (or yellow felt and a hot glue gun)
How You Do It (the shirt): With your gold fabric paint, paint a star on the center of the chest of the t-shirt. If you use felt, cut out the pattern, then hot glue it to the same location instead.
The Crew of the USS Enterprise (from Star Trek)
What You Need: a bright, long-sleeved, primary-colored shirt (red, yellow, or blue), black pants, gold fabric paint
How You Do It (the uniform): With your gold fabric paint, do your best to mimic the chest insignia (if you’re worried about screwing up, practice on paper first or you can cut out of yellow felt and hot glue it on). For finishing touches, make three stripes along the cuff of the shirts.
America Chavez (from Marvel Comics)
What You Need: a denim jacket, a red zip-up hoodie, a blue t-shirt, a pair of black shorts, a curly black wig, and red, white, and blue fabric paint (or strips of fabric and a hot glue gun)
How You Do It (the jacket): Either glue blue strips down the length of the arm or paint it on, then glue or paint three white stars on the stripe (equally spaced). On the shoulders, you’ll need to glue or paint on red and white stripes. Finally, you’ll need to glue or paint on a white star in the center of the chest on the blue t-shirt.
Kamau Kogo (from Bitch Planet)
What You Need: a yellow, sleeveless top, a pair of red overalls, a black afro wig, and white fabric paint
How You Do It (the overalls): The one thing that really signifies this look is by finding a way to work the NC (non-compliant) logo either onto the overalls (with white fabric paint) or onto the body with black body paint/black eye liner pencil. I recommend cutting a stencil out of an old piece of cardboard to make sure the logos are uniform.
Namor (from Marvel Comics)
What You Need: a green bikini, gold and white construction foam, and a hot glue gun
How You Do It (the cuffs and wings): with construction foam, cut out a pattern for two wrist cuffs (from the gold) and four small wings (from the white). Please do not hot glue the items directly to your skin no matter how much you want the look to be authentic!!! For the ankle wings, I recommend either gluing them to the sides of your shoes or attaching them to a small strip of fabric with overlapping ends (which you can hot glue together right before you want to showcase the look).
The “Street Level” X-Men (from Marvel Comics)
What You Need: black clothing, yellow fabric paint, and an appropriate wig (plus various accessories…I recommend going as Jean)
How You Do It: Basically, as long as you have the black and yellow theme, you will fit in with the team! Use the yellow fabric paint to create an X on the chest of your shirt, and there you go!
Princess Bubblegum (from Adventure Time)
What You Need: any variety of skirt/dress in pink, any pink accessories, a pink wig, a headband, yellow felt, and a glue gun
How You Do It (the crown): I recommend taking a solid hair band (like the kind little kids wear that has bendable plastic inside) as the base of the crown. For the elevated prong, you could get an old spoon, a few pipe cleaners, or some old wire (like from a coat hanger) and shape it as needed. Once shaped, cover it and the headband with felt and hot glue the two items together. Finish it off with a piece of teal fabric cut in the shape of a gem or a fake plastic gem.
Rey (from Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
What You Need: a pair of white/light gray joggers, a white, sleeveless tee, several yards of cheesecloth/muslin fabric, and materials for constructing a metallic or metallic-looking staff
How You Do It (the staff): Option one: use an old, silver curtain rod. Option two: cover a broom handle in tin foil or silver paint (the tin foil could also be shaped into various nodules that are at the staff ends)
And that’s all you need! Good luck, and happy costuming!
Did you try one of our suggestions? Tweet it to @HeyMrTullyman and @GeeksOUT!