Three Halloween Ideas


Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. (My history of costumes is here.) I love dressing up in costumes — and for the last several years, I’ve resisted buying a costume from the store in favor of cobbling together a look from my closet or the thrift store.

Normally, I’d prefer to do a Halloween post BEFORE the actual holiday. But it’s been a hectic few weeks — I was in Vegas for most of last week and am traveling to Florida as this post publishes. So let’s just say that this post should be a pre-emptive Halloween inspiration post for 2016. See? I’m early!

Here’s a look at what I wore this year (last year’s costume is here) and two runner-up ideas that can easily be churned out of any well-appointed closet.

The Morton Salt Girl

My costume was inspired by the classic imagery from the Morton Salt shaker.
My costume was inspired by the classic imagery from the Morton Salt shaker.

The Morton Salt Girl is such a classic costume. And I like that it’s a balanced look: The character is well-known enough for people to recognize you, but it’s a little left of the beaten path. (You won’t see a lot of these costumes, even in New York City.)

Everything for this costume was already in the closet. The dress is Free People (last seen here on the blog), the trench is Burberry (seen here and here) and the shoes are Miu Miu (seen here). The socks are American Apparel, the umbrella had been left at my apartment by a friend and the salt shaker is actually a sugar container. (The Duane Reade near my office didn’t have salt, so I printed out a new label.)

Extra credit: Here’s a history of the character and here’s how actress Elle Fanning wore a Morton Salt Girl costume.

Marty McFly

My inspiration.
My inspiration.

Like man others, I was swept up in the trending topic that was Back to the Future Day (it was Oct. 21, and the future is now officially the past). My hubby and I re-watched the movies to celebrate, which got my Halloween wheels turning. Here’s how I recreated the look:

Marty McFly costume, which I made on the fly.

The striped shirt is H&M (last seen here), the denim jacket is Zara (last seen here), the maroon tank top is Old Navy, the wedge sneakers are Nike (last seen here) and the Madewell jeans are such old news, they’ve been seen 700 times on the blog (like here and here). Unlike the rest of the outfit, the Patagonia vest is actually new-ish! You can purchase it here.

Now, fair warning — this is a popular costume, and I saw several Marty’s this year. But it’s a classic for a reason. And maybe by next year (the future!!!), it will seem shiny and new again.

Margot Tenenbaum

Fashion. Icon.
Fashion. Icon.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Margot Tenenbaum is one of the most celebrated fashion icons in film history. (And that’s saying something, considering that the film was only released in 2001.) She also doesn’t have a ton of costume changes — for the most part, the character is only seen in a couple of dresses and a trademark fur robe-style coat.

Here’s how I pulled together a version of the costume from my closet:

Margot Tenenbaum costume in a minute or less.
Margot Tenenbaum costume in a minute or less.

The fur coat was a vintage find (last seen here), the skirt is Zara (last seen here) and the striped shirt (filling in for Margot’s striped Lacoste polo dress) is Brooks Brothers, ON SALE, and available here. The vintage Gucci loafers were scored at this clothing swap.

So that’s a wrap for Halloween 2015! I guess we’re officially in fall now. In a few months, I’ll be bawling into a pile of coats, waiting for winter to come and devour me. On that note, Happy Halloween!