Nerd Culture

10 Favorite Costumes of Halloween 2015

As one might expect, costumes were literally everywhere to be seen across the Valley over Halloween weekend – and people adorned themselves in all manner of getups for the occasion. Some were stylish and sexy while others ran the gamut from downright silly to flat-out scary.

And there was no shortage of places around the Phoenix area to sport a costume in honor of All Hallows Eve, including any of the vast amount of events, theme parties, and high-end hotel balls that took place on Friday, October 30, and Saturday, October 31. That includes such big-ticket Scottsdale affairs as Wicked Ball 2015 at Talking Stick Resort and the Haunted Hotel Ball at The Saguaro, as well as all the various costumed affairs around town.

Simply put, it was a non-stop parade of costumes, many of which were definitely of the colorful, creative, or curious variety. There were plenty of people who followed this year's Halloween costume trends, including a plethora of Katy Perrys and Party Sharks, multitudes of Minions, and a surfeit of Star Wars-inspired characters.

As is the case every Halloween, some costumes stood out more than others, and we don’t mean those of a tasteless or offensive nature (which there were plenty of this year, like all the Caucasian dudes who saw fit to dress as Native Americans). What we’re referring to are all the costumes that caught our eye, blew us away, or referenced beloved pop cultural icons and characters, all of which we encountered during Halloween weekend.

Captain Obvious
Spotted at: Masquerade Block Party at The District in Scottsdale

Not everyone is a fan of this quirky and nautical-themed pitchman for, who — as his moniker implies — states annoyingly obvious facts during often-goofy commercials for the lodging website. (Adweek referred to the character as “obnoxious” and “irritating.”) We happen to enjoy the spots, and dug that one local recreated the good captain for Halloween. We weren’t the only ones who were impressed by the costume, as he was asked to participate in the Masquerade block party’s costume contest mere seconds after we snapped his photo. He ultimately walked away without a prize, so hopefully an appearance on our list might make up for it.

Jules Winfield and Vincent Vega
Spotted at: Freaky Tiki Block Party at Maya Day and Nightclub

Despite the fact this twosome wasn’t carrying a briefcase containing Marcellus Wallace’s soul, chowing down on Big Kahuna burgers, or packing hand-cannons, it was easy to spot the wisecracking hitmen from Pulp Fiction lurking about Maya in Scottsdale during the Freaky Tiki part — if for no other reason than the sharp-looking suits they were wearing. And they looked just as cool as their silver screen counterparts. 

Margot Tenenbaum
Spotted at: Monster’s Block Party at El Hefe in Tempe

While The Royal Tenenbaums isn’t the most critically lauded film from director Wes Anderson esteemed oeuvre (according to Rotten Tomatoes, that particular honor goes to Moonrise Kingdom), it’s certainly our favorite of the bunch. And one of the many reasons we adore the darkly comedic and angsty melodrama, besides being our first exposure to Anderson’s work, is Margot Tenenbaum, the mopey playwright and adopted daughter of the Tennenbaum who was played with sullen beauty by Gwyneth Paltrow. Hence our delight at seeing one attendee of the Monster’s Block Party dressed as the character, which definitely stood out among all the Minions, superheroes, and other commonplace costumes being worn around Tempe that night. 

Spotted at: Haunted Hotel Ball at The Saguaro in Scottsdale

Given the phenomenal box office success of the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton this past summer, we weren’t surprised in the slightest to see many groups of people portraying the ultra-influential rap group over the Halloween weekend. This particular ensemble and its recreation of N.W.A., who hung out at the annual Haunted Hotel Ball in Scottsdale, was arguably the best we saw out and about on All Hallows Eve. Not only did they sport the correct ball caps worn by each member, the Eazy E. look-alike had a full-on Jheri curl going. Hell, they’re even one of the finalists in the ball’s costume contest, which will be decided by an online vote that runs through November 9. 

E.T. and Elliot
Spotted at: Wicked Ball 2015 at Talking Stick Resort

Arguably, one of the best places in the Valley to witness intricate and astounding-looking costumes being worn during Halloween is the annual Wicked Ball at Scottsdale’s Talking Stick Resort. For proof, look no further than this phenomenal mockup of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Elliot, which recreates one of the more epic moments from Steven Spielberg’s 1982 cinematic classic when the intergalactic BFFs soar through the sky on a bicycle.

Disney Villains
Spotted at: Wicked Ball 2015 at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale

Like the old saying goes, sometimes it feels good to be a little bad. Just ask this foursome of friends who had a blast portraying some of the most infamous villains from Disney movie pantheon, like Jafar from Aladdin, The Little Mermaid’s Ursula, and 101 Dalmatians baddie Cruella de Vil. (Fittingly enough, the quartet was spotted at this year's Wicked Ball at Scottsdale's Talking Stick Resort.) As you can see from the above photo, the group also included the reimagined version of Maleficent from the 2014 live-action film of the same name, which portrayed the character as a protagonist. Since she was still pretty darn malevolent in the flick, we consider her to be a villain and are willing to look past this technicality.

Patrick Bateman
Spotted at: Monsters Block Party at El Hefe in Tempe

Do you like American Psycho? This particular patron of the Monster's Block Party at El Hefe in Tempe certainly does, as he portrayed the cult film’s axe-swinging, Huey Lewis-loving yuppie serial killer Patrick Bateman for Halloween. And he did it with style, including sporting a snazzy power suit, blood-streaked raincoat and countenance, and even a silver case filled with business cards. We tried asking the guest DJs at the party to spin up “Hip to Be Square” in his honor, but they were more interested in laying down high-energy EDM instead of '80s jams.
Peg and Al Bundy
Spotted at: Wicked Ball 2015 at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale

At the risk of showing our age and unabashed appreciation for the often cheap laughs of ‘80s sitcom Married With Children, we’re eagerly including this humorous recreation of the show’s iconic couple, Peg and Al Bundy. Everything about the costume was spot on, from Peg’s bouffant hairdo and leopard-print blouse to Al’s wearied expression and T-shirt for his fictional anti-feminist group NO MA'AM (a.k.a. the “National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood.”)

Rick James and Prince
Spotted at: Freaky Tiki Block Party at The District in Scottsdale

If you were to rank some of the greatest skits from Dave Chapelle’s legendary sketch comedy show, we’re certain that the ones involving Prince's b-ball heroics and Rick James coke-fueled antics (both of which were vignettes from “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories”) would be near the top of the list. And with good reason, too, since both were unforgettable hilarious and infinitely quotable. The skits are two of our show's best, in our humble option, which is why we’re delighted to see two Valley residents at the Freaky Tiki Block Party dressed as His Royal Badness (complete with basketball) and the late Rick James as depicted on the show. We dug the costumes so much that we were willing to overlook the fact that the Prince look-alike didn’t have pancakes with him.

Michael Jackson's Ghost

Spotted at: Wicked Ball 2015 at Talking Stick Resort

It’s been over six years since the King of Pop shuffled loose the mortal coil, a fact that we’re reminded of every Halloween when Jacko’s smash hit “Thriller” is played virtually nonstop. (Not that we’re complaining, since we dig the song.) Another quaint reminder of Jackson’s passing was Rosie Freitag’s impressively cool and unique getup portraying his ghost, which blew us away with its ingenuity. Functioning in the same fashion as an Invisible Man costume, whereby a person is tucked away out of sight, it gave the illusion of interacting with a supernatural version of the pop star and earned a lot of praise and awe at the Wicked Ball.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.