We’ve all got that friend. The one who starts spitballing next year’s Halloween costume ideas on November 1 and spends the next 364 days deciding on the perfect character, assembling costume pieces, and nailing down the styling details until the big day finally rolls around, and they can blow everybody else at the costume party out of the water.
We love the hardcore costume mavens; after all, when else can you be completely extra if not Halloween? But we also know what it’s like to be too busy (or too lazy) to handcraft our own chainmail or apply body paint. So for those of us whose costume-planning leans more last-minute—and wallet-friendly—we present 18 Halloween costume ideas that are all about the hair.
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So maybe this look isn’t all about the hair—but it does play a key factor. After all, having glitter on your eyes isn’t a Euphoria look until you give it context. For Zendaya‘s character Rue, that context is natural curls often flipped over to one side. To get this look, let you curls do their own thing, then simply add glitter tears and a casual hoodie.
SHOP: Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow, sephora.sg
MIDSOMMAR FLOWER CROWN
Finally, a new use for that old Coachella accessory. Arguably the most iconic looks in the film are the floral dresses and headpieces worn by the women at the festival. Inspired by crowns typically worn during traditional Swedish Midsummer —the celebration of the Summer Solstice—the look takes a dark turn thanks to the runaway horror hit.
SHOP: Free People Flower Crown, freepeople.com.
MIDGE MAISEL’S CURLS
In addition to a marvellous sense of humour, Mrs. Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) also has a marvellous head of hair. Her bouncy, 1950s pin-curls are perfect for mid-length hair, but shorter and longer lengths can do variations too. And be sure to spray with as much hairspray as possible for both hold and historical accuracy.
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PEN15 EARLY AUGHTS HAIR
The nostalgia overload that is Hulu’s Pen15 provided many an early 2000s fashion flashback—hello, hot pink thong—and the hair was a crucial part of that. For shorter hair, there’s Maya’s bowl cut, which eventually transitioned into a flippy bob, and for longer hair there’s Anna’s straight, piece-y style. Whatever you choose, don’t forget the butterfly clips.
SHOP: Urban Outfitters Butterfly Snap Clip Set, $6, sg.urbanoutfitters.com.
The music, hair, and fashion icon is timeless—but thanks to The Cher Show, the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical based on her life, her life and sense of style are back in the spotlight. The straighter, the better for this style, and giant gold hoops don’t hurt. (And for the record, you do not need a Sunny to complete the costume.)
BETTY COOPER’S PONYTAIL
There’s a lot of important hair on Riverdale, but perhaps none more vital to the show itself than Betty’s ponytail. For her signature style, it should be set high, every hair tucked into place, with a single, bouncy curl.
PRINCESS LEIA’S SPACE BUNS
The one true original hairstyle-as-costume, Princess Leia’s side buns are the ultimate low-commitment, high-reward Halloween costume. In fact, they make such a strong impression that the simple fact of them transforms any outfit, Barbie-esque, into Leia (plaid shirt and skinny jeans? You’re hipster Leia. Business suit? You’re corporate mogul Leia) but for the real A New Hope look, a flowy white dress is the way to go.
Margot Tenenbaum may have been known for her extreme secrecy, but her ultra-sleek blunt bob is perfect for an artsy-yet-easy Halloween costume. Just center part your bob (or lob) and flatiron it pin-straight. Grab a red barrette to pull the left side back and you’re one sweep of black eyeliner away from being the coolest girl at the Halloween party.
SHOP: L. Erikson barrette, amazon.com.
Diana’s long bombshell waves might be her classic look, but before she became Wonder Woman this Themysciran was rocking a pretty wonderful infinity braid. If you want to go for maximum Amazonian realness, clip-in extensions (and possibly a friend to take over when your arms get tired) are the way to go, but it will look just as cool even with a shorter braid. Cut one strap off of a nude tank top (or just throw a sheet over one shoulder, toga-style—hey, it’s all Greek!) and you’re good to go.
XOXO Gossip Girl
Curls, straight, wavy, frizzy—it doesn’t really matter what your hair looks like on Halloween day. If you have a cute headband, you can pass as a cast member of Gossip Girl. Simply pair your headband with a preppy, school-inspired outfit like a plaid skirt and button-up shirt, and you could be easily mistaken for one of Blair Waldorf’s minions (or Queen B herself).
SHOP: Lele Sadoughi Tweed Knotted Headband, lelesadoughi.com
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THE HOLLY GOLIGHTLY
If you walk into a costume party with this iconic updo, you won’t have to explain your costume to anybody. You really don’t even have to manage an identical copy of the elaborate (and notoriously difficult) French twist that Audrey Hepburn showed off in the film to make sure everybody gets the gist. A little fluff at the front and some artful draping (plus a tiny tiara, naturally) are all you need to pull-off Holly Golightly.
SHOP: FUMUD tiara hair comb, ifumud.com
We love a big, bouncy natural hair look any time of year, but if you’re looking for an excuse to really turn the volume up to 11, who better to emulate than the queen of disco herself? To achieve curls of planetary proportions, throw out your frizz-prevention rulebook and embrace the fluff. Grab a teasing comb, a teeny curling iron (if needed), and some hairspray and you’re good to go.
Madonna just might be the queen of dramatic, iconic looks, but for our money, nothing outdoes this over the top braid-wrapped high ponytail from her Blonde Ambition tour. Best of all, it’s simple to pull off. Just slick your hair back into a high pony at the crown, then wrap the base in a wrapped length of extensions to match your hair colour, pin in place, and be prepared to karaoke “Express Yourself.”
TINKERBELL TOP KNOT
You don’t have to be blonde to make this pixie pouf work; heck, you don’t even have to have bangs or long hair (just see the tutorial below). Faking your way to these long side-swept bangs is as easy as pulling your hair up into a topknot: just leave one section of the ends laying forward over your forehead and finish with a green ribbon or hair tie. Since so much of the look comes down to volume, make sure to use a texturiser or work with second-day-dirty hair if your hair is fine or thin. Did we just give you an excuse not to wash your hair for Halloween? You’re welcome.
SHOP: Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray, revolve.com
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If braiding is your go-to hairstyle, then consider a last-minute Medusa costume. A few plastic snakes—the kind you get at a dollar store—are all you need to evoke the most stone-cold villainess in Greek mythology. The best part? You don’t need to fuss with making sleek perfect braids or pinning them up just so; wild, messy, untamed hair are what this costume is all about.
LEELOO’S ORANGE COIFF
Have a bob with bangs? You’re one coat of temporary hair paint away from emulating this technicolor sci-fi icon. Don’t worry about getting everything combed just so or perfectly blown out; this elemental alien’s look is all about the disheveled cool. Just throw on your most out there outer space look (bonus points for orange suspenders) and don’t leave home without your multi-pass.
SHOP: Jerome Russell hair color spray, amazon.com.
ROSIE THE RIVETER
How about channeling the original can-do gal, Rosie the Riveter? Not only is this look super-simple to achieve (you know you have a bandana stashed somewhere) it also works no matter how long—or short—your hair is. Add a red lip and go smash the patriarchy.
CREEPY AND KOOKY
There’s nothing like wearing your hair over your face for the ultimate in low-effort Halloween costumes. Toss on a hat and a pair of sunnies and you’ll be the spitting image of everybody’s favourite Addams extended-family member, Cousin Itt. Will you be able to see that spitting image? Probably not. But at least you won’t have to worry about fixing your makeup.
SHOP: H&M sunglasses, $14.99, hm.com.
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MINNIE TO THE MAX
Why buy mouse ears when you can make them? These perfect little buns are guaranteed not to fall off mid-party or get left behind in a cab, and as added bonus, you can use the same technique to make ears for other animal costumes, so you and the squad can go full-menagerie.
SHOP: Motique Accessories hair bow clip, amazon.com.
Grab a black dress and some pearls and you’re almost a flapper–but it’s the hair that will really upgrade your last-minute costume. A finger-waved faux bob (or just finger-waves if your hair is short enough) paired with a sparkling headband or bobby-pinned necklace will have everyone oo-ing an ah-ing like you planned ahead for weeks.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.