A long time ago, people donned costumes on Halloween so all the ghouls and ghosts and creepy things would mistake them as fellow spirits–and so not abduct them. Now that the supernatural’s disappeared from our everyday lives, Halloween’s become another excuse to dress up–whether in something creepy, or something flat out awesome. Enter the Halloween cosplay.
Cosplay’s really been starting to catch on in America. A bunch of shops catering to the US of A have popped up–but how are you supposed to know which sell quality cosplays, and which sell rags? And before we even start talking about quality, how do you decide who, from millions of characters, you want to cosplay? Let a fellow geek walk you through everything.
How to Choose a Halloween Cosplay – Buying Guide
When you’re choosing something that’s so abstract and dependent on personal taste, it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why, this time around, we asked Bree, who has extensive experience in designing her own cosplay. So let’s get right to it and talk about how to pick out a character and outfit for All Hallow’s Eve.
Bree, most commonly known as Breezeeweezee Cosplay, is a curvy, geeky, cosplay gal. She has about four years of original costume crafting experience. With a long history of geek fandom love, she finally found an outlet to share her love via cosplay, body positivity, and social influence.
You can also connect with Breezeeweezee Cosplay on Instagram and spend hours scrolling and admiring her creativity.
・The Breezeeweezee Cosplay Site: https://www.breezeeweezee.com/
Choose a Halloween-Creepy Series and a Character You Can Imitate
So, we start off with the big, holy grail of questions–what series do you want to cosplay? It can, of course, simply be a series you love. Or, in the spirit of Halloween, try for something dark or spooky. The obvious choices would be characters (or creatures) from Japanese horror classics; you can go with anime, like Higurashi: When They Cry, or games, like Resident Evil or The Evil Within. If you’re looking for laughs, Ao Oni is also a viable option.
Series that revolve around Japanese yokai are also good stuff. No, we’re not just talking Yokai Watch, but something more retro or creepy: like GeGeGe no Kitaro, Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales, or its spin-off, Mononoke. Then, there’s the stuff inspired by Gothic culture or ancient Europe, like Black Butler or Fate/Grand Order. If you love Vocaloid, try exploring its creepy underbelly, and recreate songs like “Dark Woods Circus” or “Circle You, Circle You.”
When it comes to specific characters, there’s no “rule” about whom you should dress up as. But, just remember: a unique costume might be more appreciated at a party than something you’ll see every corner you turn. Also, choose a character whose mannerisms you’re comfortable with imitating, and your masquerade will be that much more real. (Plus, your pictures will be cooler.)
I keep up with the trends and what other people are going to be doing. This year, for example, the Marvel movies are really big, so there'll be lots of characters from like The Avengers. Another thing I’ve noticed is lots of memes get made into Halloween costumes, and those are kind of fun. This year, there was the Kylo Ren challenge where everyone was doing the swole topless thing. It’s cool to think about what other people are going to be cosplaying and create my costume based on that.
Make Sure You’ve Got the Right Number of Characters for Group Cosplays
You, hopefully, won’t be trick-or-treating alone. So why not do a group cosplay? They’re a lot of fun and leave an impression. Think about how many friends or family members you’ll be spending Halloween with, and pick an appropriate duo, trio, or army. (Your writer once saw a father-son pair walking around as All Might and tiny Deku, and it was the cutest thing ever.)
Mushishi is a great series, for example, but you can’t cosplay it with a bunch of people–unless everyone who isn’t Ginko is cool with being a nameless villager or bug. But if you’ve got a crew of five, you’ve got all the main characters of Madoka Magica, right there. If your group is gigantic, try for a long series with a bunch of major characters, like Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.
Definitely my favorite group cosplay I've done is the Disney viking group that my friends and I put together in 2016. There were 7 of us that all got together and did our own Disney princesses as vikings. It was so cool; we all had our big shields and just walked around together. And we entered a contest and ended up winning the level above the one we entered.
There’s a Time and Place for Everything: Get Outfits You Can Move Around in
Let’s be practical, too. If you’re going to be trick-or-treating, do yourself a favor and cosplay a character whose getup is easy to move around in. (As cool as a giant suit of armor may seem, you can’t really walk long distances in it.)
If you’re going to be at a Halloween party, don’t bring any accessories that might break or get lost or tangled in anyone’s hair (like a giant scythe). Rethink long hems, too, if they’re just going to get dirty or stepped on.
I have never gotten along with long wigs, just because they are synthetic. They don’t detangle easily, but they tangle super easily, especially if you combine them with necklaces, spiky shoulders, or anything it could catch on. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.
If You’re a Stickler for Quality, Check for Fabric (Cotton is Good!) and Workmanship
First off, lots of cosplays are made from uniform cloth. It’s a cheap blend of cotton and polyester–matte, fairly thick, and good enough for most. Of course, pure cotton is softer and breathes better. Linen’s one of the lightest fabrics; it’s good for sensitive skin and sturdy. It does wrinkle easily, but you might want that for an old world, Assassin’s Creed-style vibe.
Wool, by the way, doesn’t wrinkle, but it is hot. It’s great if you’re up north and things start cooling off around mid-October, but So-Cal Halloween nights are still pretty warm.
If you’re looking for lustrous cloth, see if you can get silk–even if it’s the cheap synthetic variety. Most cosplays are done in costume (or baroque) satin. It wrinkles quickly, frays easily, and throws back camera glare like nobody’s business (and thus looks cheap). You want to avoid this. Spandex blends offer a lot of stretch and don’t restrict movement. Pure polyester’s also popular because it’s cheap, but it doesn’t wick moisture and can feel suffocating.
Finally, a note about workmanship. It’s, of course, hard to check for this kind of stuff online. But, to ensure you’re getting what you’re seeing, reviews and brand recognition are your best bet. And you might want to look at the websites of actual costume brands, as some sellers use pictures from other websites.
I know there are lots of costumes that have a shiny texture because of the character—just avoid flash if you are using that material. It is fun to have a shiny costume if you don’t want to completely limit yourself.
Another thing is pure black and pure white. Pure white will wash out because the details disappear. Pure black, you also lose a lot of the details; if you’re wearing a texture or pattern, it’ll just look like a solid color. You can try a charcoal and layer it with black, depending on your details and texture. And for white, you can use an off-white, like beige or a very light gray, depending on the character.
Make Sure all the Accessories are Either There or Easy to Get
It’s a simple thing, but make sure the outfit comes with all the accessories you’re going to need. Some of them don’t come with hairpieces, weapons, masks, necklaces, and so on. You can get them separately, but it’s going to cost you. On the other hand, some accessories that come in kits may be cheaply made.
We’d also venture to say 99% of cosplays don’t come with shoes, just because sizing’s such an issue. And getting fancy boots custom-made is going to cost–think Altria Pendragon from FGO. If you’re looking to pinch pennies, cosplay a character with simple shoes: plain black boots or loafers.
If your cosplay kit doesn't come with shoes, I would start with an old pair of shoes that you don’t mind destroying. You could make a removable cover, which is just a stretchy fabric that you pull over the shoe and your leg. It’s often done for anime characters, where you want a fitted, thigh-high boots kind of look. For more complex things, like an armor style, you can easily glue directly to the shoe.
Top 10 Best Halloween Cosplays to Buy Online
Figure out exactly who you want to be yet? If you’re still groping around for ideas, here are 10 of our favorite cosplays that’ll put a spin on your Halloween night.
10. Mtxc Women’s Puella Magic Madoka Magica Cosplay Dark Homura Akemi
An Entrancing Devil’s Dress with all the Accessories
For Halloween, let’s dive into the dark side of Madoka Magica. And who better to talk about goblins and witches than Homura–after she became a demon? There’s a few inaccuracies with Mtxc’s take on Homura: the wool for the skirt isn’t as long and feathery as it appears in the movie, and the slit for the bodice isn’t as deep (plus the original material looks more like silk or leather than lace). But the cosplay’s soft, easy to wear, and the workmanship is solid.
You get the dress (of course), gloves and arm ribbons, hair ribbon, and feathery necklace. It doesn’t come with the socks, unfortunately, but it’s an easy enough pattern to locate. You also don’t get the cool wings, or the ability to fly–so take care no one steps on your train.
9. Higurashi When They Cry Rena Ryugu Cosplay
A Staple of Japanese Horror Done in Clean Worksmanship
How can we talk Japanese horror without talking When They Cry? And what better way to spend your Halloween night than by chasing people around with Rena’s cleaver? (Not included with the cosplay, unfortunately.)
There’s no exact information on the fabric used, but the seams are clean and the material is solid. The shirt and skirt do wrinkle, so don’t rumple them too much. We think the colors are accurate enough–but if you really want to nitpick, they look slightly washed out. You’ll also have the find the socks and loafers yourself–but at least you’ll be able to use the shoes for a bunch of different schoolgirl cosplays.
8. freevivienne Vocaloid Sandplay Luka Cosplay Costume Dress
A Ballroom Gown, Vocaloid Style, with Intricate Detailing
Vocaloid itself isn’t very Halloween-y–but the ballroom splendor of Sandplay is. It’s also super fun to do as a group–so see if you can line up a Kaito, Miku, Gakupo, and Luka. We picked up Luka this time around because of the intricate detailing on the dress and hairpiece–the gems on the skirt and in the ribbon, the gold and silver embroidery.
The piece isn’t a completely faithful representation–the original’s a darker purple, the gloves are fitted, and the entire skirt looks like a tulle material. However, we can see how a tulle skirt of that size would rip and get caught on things; this interpretation is more sturdy and durable. And, don’t worry–it does come with the headpiece.
7. Holran Devil May Cry 5 Dante Men’s Leather Coat Jacket Cosplay
A Devil-Slaying Coat That’s Super Close to Real Leather
If you’re super excited about the release of DMC5, you can jump the gun and get the cosplay first. And the coat’s of such a nice quality, people are wearing it in their everyday lives–just to keep warm. It’s pleather, but the texture is really similar to the real thing. (So is the smell, so you might want to wash it before wearing.)
The red lining’s soft, the stitching is clean, and the detailing on the sleeve is just as it appears in the game. You’ll need to get everything else separately–guns, necklace, jeans, and whatnot–but Dante’s outfit is normal enough that the pieces shouldn’t be too hard to gather. Also, consider going a couple sizes larger–because Dante wears his coat kind of floppy.
6. Aliceeve Little Witch Academia Cosplay Costume Full Set
Two Cute Witches in Wrinkle-Free Polyester-Wool
What’s Halloween without witches? Little Witch Academia‘s full of quirky characters, but we’re picking up air-headed Akko and cool-headed Diana–two personalities on separate ends of the scale. Aliceeve’s cosplay is a blend of wool and polyester; it’s matte, wrinkle-free, and a lovely texture. (If staticky and prone to gathering dust.)
We also liked that the detailing was done with a plastic-metal material–not stitched-on PVC. The shirt comes with the hat, dress, and belt–but not the shirt or boots. The shirt’s simple enough–a white dress shirt with a navy-blue ribbon–but the boots, you’ll either have to make or buy separately. (And they’re pretty pricey…)
5. Sidnor Soul Eater Professor Franken Stein Cosplay
Sturdy Lab Coat from a Classic Halloween-y Anime
Soul Eater’s old, but it’s a Halloween classic. And so is Frankenstein. So here we are. The lab coat is lined and pretty sturdy. The entire outfit’s made out of either cotton or uniform cloth, so it doesn’t fray and is a nice matte color.
If you want to nitpick, the outfit’s not exactly the same as in the anime. Franken Stein’s collar is supposed to be completely grey, for one. The stitches aren’t quite in the right places. Also, the pants don’t have pockets (and the ones on the coat are obviously fake), so you can’t stick your hands in them like Franken Stein does–although you could always substitute in another pair of black pants. Also, you don’t get the glasses, or the giant screw in his head. And you need the giant screw.
4. Miccostumes Men’s Protagonist Phantom Thief Cosplay Costume Mask
Enigmatic Mask, Lustrous Uniform Cloth Trench-Coat
So, the Persona 5 anime came out this year–and we think the Phantom Thieves are a enticing, Halloween-ready cast of characters. We’re featuring the Joker this time around, with his enigmatic smile (can you pull it off?), dark trench-coat, and white mask.
Miccostume’s coat is made out of uniform cloth. It’s smooth and slightly lustrous. Only thing is, it’s a dark blue, rather than black–which is pretty annoying if you’re a stickler for color. You also get the shirt, gloves, and mask, but no shoes and no pants. (But they’re black and plain and common enough.) Miccostume’s also got other cosplays–Soul Eater, Hero Academia, and Final Fantasy–and the quality’s all pretty solid.
3. Cosonsen Fate/Grand Order FGO Monte Cristo Edmond Dantes Avenger Cosplay
A High-Quality Three Piece Suit and a Vengeful Character
Dark Halloween nights beg for the Victorian-Medieval-Fantasy feel of FGO. We’ve decided to highlight Dantes, with his dark thirst for revenge. Cosonsen gives you everything but the shoes–his cloak, overcoat, jacket, waistcoat, shirt, trousers, scarf, hat, and gloves–which is impressive visually, but will have you breaking out a sweat on a warm evening or in a crowded room.
Everything’s made out of this thick polyester blend; it’s durable, not too shiny, and the seams on it are tight and clean. (But polyester doesn’t wick away sweat.) In general, Coconsen actually has a decent reputation when it comes to tailoring. They also offer a huge range of cosplay, including stuff from new, semi-obscure hits like Hypnosis Mic–so you are free to browse for something less stifling.
2. CosplaySky Final Fantasy XV Costume Lunafreya Nox Fleuret Dress
Synthetic Silk Gown, Intricate Detailing–the Gorgeous Side of Halloween
For us commoners, Halloween’s about the only time we get to wear jaw-droppingly lovely gowns. And this time around, we tapped Final Fantasy as the perfect mix of dreamy evening gowns and dark, apocalyptic suits suited for an October night. We went with CosplaySky’s Lunafreya because a) CosplaySky’s known for reliable quality and b) with a gown this intricate, you need quality.
The detailing’s clean and surprisingly accurate. The gown’s made of synthetic silk, which doesn’t fray too badly, with pleather accessories. But the train is frustratingly fragile. Don’t take it trick-or-treating, or to any mad parties. Instead, look for other FF greats at CosplaySky: Gentiana, Lightning, or your classic Sephiroth.
1. Ya-cos Tokyo Ghoul Costume Ken Kaneki Cosplay
Battle-Ready Outfit with a Solid (Pleather) Vest
What’s Halloween without ghouls? So we top off our list with Ken Kaneki. Visually, he’s spooky yet delectable. And if you’ve got no faith in your acting ability, his mask takes up three-fourths of your face; all you need to do is stare out with your remaining eye. However, the cool mask is not included (neither are the shoes), but you can grab a pretty decent one for a little over $10 on Amazon.
So why do we love this cosplay? The stitching is tight and clean, even on the pleather vest. And we like the choice of pleather; it’s solid and looks more like battle armor than, say, stitched-on PDA. The rest of the outfit is made out of uniform cloth. It’s pretty comfy. We have just one complaint. The pockets are fake. (Where are you supposed to put your wallet and phone?)
You’re pretty much stuck as yourself for 364 days of the year. So, for Halloween, at least, why not cross into the wonderful world of 2D? We’ve lined up a bunch of spooky, entrancing, and super chill cosplays for you; hopefully, something’s made you stop in your tracks. Happy trick-or-treating!
You’ve seen those GIFs, right? They flash through about 30 anime characters at an astounding speed, and then, you realize–they’ve all got the same face. In the 2D world, identity is contained in hair. That why wigs are integral to cosplay. But wigs are feisty things. They get tangled, burn when you curl them, or look ridiculous when you try to sweep them back. But how a wig acts is predetermined by a number of factors: how thick it is, for example, or if the hair’s sewn onto the base in wefts. Let’s break it down. How to Choose a Wig for Cosplay – Buying Guide How do you know you’ve found the perfect cosplay wig? Well, if it successfully changes you into someone else. This time around, we asked Ginny Di–a cosplayer who knows a thing or two about metamorphosis–how she goes about looking for wigs. Invalid Short Code. There is not profile. Please write expert_id = 3 comment.
Cheap and Convenient, Synthetic Wigs are a Cosplayer’s First Choice Wigs can be made out of hair harvested off of a human head, synthetic fibers, or a mix of th
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Different Foundations Serve Different Purposes throughou
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