Nerd Culture

10 Hottest Halloween Costume Trends for 2015

At this point, it might seem like everyone’s got a Halloween costume going.

Your co-workers are going as the staff of Camp Firewood from Wet Hot American Summer, including Mitch and his beloved can of vegetables. That geek kid you know is building a screen-accurate rendition of Kylo Ren. The next-door neighbors and their kids are all gonna be Minions. And your married friends have a clever take on the whole “Netflix and chill” thing.

So what will you be going as for Halloween (other than Captain Sweatpants)? A zombie, huh. That’s, um, always popular, if a little bland.

Face it: You need better, and more current, ideas. With just a couple of weeks left until Halloween, you’ve got just enough time to put together a good costume and we’ve got a few suggestions for inspiration, including many things that are pretty popular this year.

As is the norm, that includes blockbuster movies and television shows, as well as topical figures, pop culture sensations, and Internet icons. And this isn’t just our opinions, as we spoke to the employees at some of the Valley’s most popular costume retailers, such as Groovy Ghoulies in Mesa, Mardi Gras Costume Shop in Scottsdale, and landmark midtown store Easley’s about what’s trending in 2015.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
The naive and adorable popular heroine from the popular Netflix comedy totally jibes with Halloween, if for no other reason than you often wind up having candy for dinner, just like Kimmy Schmidt herself, around this time of year. Her ultra-colorful ensemble of a yellow sweater, rainbow-dotted blouse, and bright pink slacks is also as attention-grabbing as anything you’ll see being worn during All Hallows Eve.

Speaking of which, said outfit is pretty easy to pull off from thrift store finds, or you try to find one of those ugly dresses she wore with her sisters in the bunker before being freed from captivity.

Taylor Swift's Girl Gang
There’s a lot of perks that come with being besties with Taylor Swift. After all, you get to hang with T-Swizzle at all the swankiest parties, roll with her to the VMAs, appear onstage during her concert tours, star as a character in her music videos, and become the envy of all her millions of fans. Such is the life for the members of Swift’s infamous girl gang, which includes A-list models Cara Delevingne, Gigi Hadid, Martha Hunt, Lily Aldridge, and Karlie Kloss, as well as various pop stars, singers, and actresses.

Groups of girlfriends everywhere are likely going to attempt to mimic Swift’s entourage for Halloween this year, either copying each member’ everyday style and appearance or going all out to portray the ass-kicking characters (like “Destructa X,” “Mother Chucker,” and “Homeslice”) they played in the singer’s action-packed music video for “Bad Blood.”

Pizza Rat
When the now-famous clip of a New York City rodent hefting a slice of pizza into the subway hit the Internet, it not only gave birth to a lot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles jokes but also inexplicably gave notorious Valley costume company Yandy the inspiration for one of the numerous sexy getups it sells.

And while it's not necessary in the slightest to make it sexy, you too could make a fun costume inspired by the pizza-loving urban vermin. All you’d need is a rodent outfit, which is available at any of the aforementioned local costume shops, and craft an enormous slice of round pie out of cardboard. Whether or not you choose to lug it around by your teeth is entirely optional.

Jurassic World
Debbie Easley says her granddaughter really wants to go as a pint-sized Indominus rex for Halloween. And thanks to the costume industry’s profitable practice of catering to such desires and making costumes for every popular franchise out there, her wish will become a reality.

Ditto for anyone of the millions who paid to see the blockbuster hit Jurassic World this past summer and want to be either Indominus rex, a regular old tyrannosaurus rex, or raptor trainer (and all-around badass) Owen Grady. If you’re the sort that would like to put the costume together yourself, it shouldn’t be too hard (considering all you’d need is a faded blue shirt, rumpled gray slacks, and leather cargo vest). Whether or not you can pull off perfectly mimicking the character’s iconic raptor-calming moves is up to you.

These incomprehensible yellow creatures were pretty darn inescapable last Halloween as countless adults and kids wanted to bomb about as a Minion. It’s going to increase quite exponentially this year, owing to the fact that the Minions movie was astronomically popular over the summer, raking in more than a billion dollars worldwide. (And it’s still in theaters and vacuuming up the cash as of this writing.)

As one might expect, a plenitude of Minions costumes are readily available online and in stores, including versions for all ages and even your dog. There’s also a couple hundred tutorials available via YouTube, which cover everything from makeup to crafting some goggles. You can even learn how to speak like one, if you seek true Minion realism.

Left Shark
It so happens that one of the year’s bigger Internet memes was birthed right here in the Valley. See, back during Katy Perry’s spectacular Super Bowl XLIX halftime show at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, one of the pop starlet’s background dancers dressed in a cutesy shark costume (the one on her left) couldn’t quite seem to keep in time with everyone else’s moves. Thus, Left Shark was born.

The meme not only scored massive Internet fame following its birth (including being credited as the real Super Bowl MVP) and has since become a tattoo, plush doll, smartphone case, adult onesie, and even a character in Perry's soon-to-be-released video game app. There are even two different Halloween costume for sale, one official and a knock-off, inspired by Left Shark. It's perfect for swimming through the sea of people at any crowded Halloween gathering. Just be prepared to pose for pictures.

Mad Max: Fury Road
If you’re one of the many who not only dug the action-packed and dirt-caked apocalyptic wasteland seen in Mad Max: Fury Road but also plan on using it as the basis of a costume, we’ve got some good news. A lot of the goggles and other funky gear being worn by characters in the film (ranging from The Imperator Furiosa to the War Boys) can be had on the cheap at big costume stores, thanks to the popularity of steampunk stuff.

More materials for your killer Mad Max: Fury Road costume can be scored at any number of thrift and secondhand stores dotting the Valley or the handful of army surplus shops that are still around. You might have to hit up a couple of different ones to find the red long johns worn by The Doof Warrior, however, but his flamethrowing guitar might be a little more challenging to make.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump is very much like a metaphorical cockroach. And just like la cucaracha, the mere sight of the billionaire blowhard and Republican presidential frontrunner probably makes you physically ill and will never go away despite your best efforts. And we’re willing to wager that the Donald isn’t making a disappearance from the public eye anytime soon.

It’s also a safe bet to say that a lot of people will don his ridiculous-looking hairdo during the Halloween season to either portray or parody Trump. Besides straight-up versions of the billionaire in a suit, there’s likely to be a variety of remixes of The Donald, like a version who’s sporting faux flames (invoking his famed catchphrase, “You’re fired!”) or the inevitable “Zombie Trump.”

If that amazeballs cosplay of Ironman's Hulkbuster armor from The Avengers: Age of Ultron that made a splash at last weekend’s New York Comicon or any of the summertime superhero movies inspired you to don cape and cowl for Halloween, you won't be alone. Fantastically powered characters and comic book icons will once again be popular thing on All Hallows Eve.

Unlike years past, there hasn't been a specific character or franchise as the clear-cut frontrunner this year in terms of popularity. People are interested in being Antman, Superman, Batman, and any of the Avengers due to their recent or upcoming films. “People have come in wanting to be a lot of different superheroes that are popular this year,” Larry Horn of Groovy Ghoulies says. “Except the Fantastic Four. No one wants to be them.”

Star Wars
The impending arrival of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in a couple of months, nostalgia for the legendary space opera franchise is building quite rapidly and has become a force to be reckoned with (pun very much intended). As such, costume shops such as Easley’s are experiencing a big demand from people interested in going as Star Wars characters for Halloween. And it isn’t just those who want to go as the heroic Poe Dameron, the evil Kylo Ren, or any of the new characters.

According to Debbie Easley, there’s a significant amount of interest in old-school Star Wars. “A lot of people want to go as Darth Vader or one of the original characters this Halloween,” she says. May the Force be with them.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.