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The Absolute Best ‘80s Costumes for Halloween

Halloween is approaching and you need a costume that is easily recognizable and near and dear to your heart. The answer to this dilemma is taking a trip down memory lane. We are talking of course, about taking a trip to the greatest decade to ever exist, the ‘80s. With these ‘80s costumes for Halloween you are sure to be the center of attention and easily strike up conversations with other nostalgic individuals at the party.

We will be taking a deep dive into the cultural highlights of the ’80s, the best musicians, the best TV shows, and even some of the best toys. All of these costumes are sure to trigger fond memories for you, but more importantly for everyone you encounter this Halloween. So, spread some Halloween spirit by perusing this list and choosing the costume that’s right for you.

Top 80s costumes – Beetlejuice and Lydia from “Beetlejuice”

man and woman wearing a Beetlejuice and Lydia halloween costume
Photo from Wikipedia Commons


Wasn’t it weird that back in the ‘80s costumes for comedy and horror were mixed in a beautiful but unique way? Nowadays teens are watching legitimately terrifying movies that don’t have the same charisma as these Tim Burton originals. Which Tim Burton character am I referring to? None other than the icon himself, Beetlejuice. With this outfit, you can show off how snazzy you look in a tuxedo, while also being a great blend of wacky and suave. For bonus points, you can partner up with a friend and be both Beetlejuice and Lydia. As a power couple, you guys will be the stars of any party. Don’t just take our word for it, recently, Bella Hadid and The Weeknd rocked this couple outfit and looked absolutely stunning.

The “Saved by the Bell” Cast

When you were channel surfing in the ‘80s you’d inevitably find Saved by The Bell playing on one of the popular stations (usually NBC). If you are out of Halloween costume ideas, consider yourself Saved by The Bell. Now, you have a wide selection of characters to choose from, Kelly, Lisa, Jessie, Zack, etc. Whether you want to be Jessie or Screech or any of these goofballs, you will definitely have people coming up to you complimenting your nostalgic outfit choice.


Photo credit: David Burke https://www.flickr.com/photos/cit_thmc/11183321104


Speaking of couple outfits, if you and your friends want to spice it up, there’s no way you could go wrong with Salt-N-Pepa outfits. For those who don’t know Salt-N-Pepa is an American Hip Hop group that took America by storm. Thinking back, there are so many fun nights spent jamming out to Push It. Whether you want an excuse to play this band’s music at an obnoxiously large volume or a reason to wear tight spandex outfits, this is the outfit for you. If these kinds of outfits scare you a bit, don’t let them! Halloween is the one time of the year where you can genuinely dress as crazy as you’d like. Don’t miss the opportunity!

Princess Diana and Prince Charles

woman in a wedding dress looking at her groom
Photo credit: Joe Haupt https://www.flickr.com/photos/51764518@N02/16626834260/


You remember this moment. Everyone remembers this moment. The ’80s cannot be talked about without literally the BIGGEST event of the decade. I am not even sure why we are typing this description when you are already imagining the huge puffy sleeves and the gargantuan veil. This is your chance to have a royal costume of your own. Do you know what the best part of this costume is? It’s easy to piece together or purchase outright. You always wanted to be a prince/princess growing up, now is your chance!


a woman singing on stage wearing all black
Photo credit: Fiona Hodge https://www.flickr.com/photos/fifilafolle/211627582/


Can we be 100% honest for a second here…Madonna’s current music isn’t dominating the charts anymore. There are probably many of you that don’t even know Madonna has steadily been adding to her musical catalog. But you know what is great? The fact that she is still consistently touring and being an icon in the music industry. Yes, we just brought up Princess Diana, but Madonna is the QUEEN of pop. The impact she has had on our culture permeates through society even to this day. So get your Walkman out, start playing Like a Virgin and choose your favorite Madonna outfit to rock!

“The Breakfast Club” Cast

Do you think his hand is still in the air? That freeze-frame is still being shown on several screens every day as the new generations learn about The Breakfast Club. The popularity of this film is easy to understand because we all have our own mini-breakfast clubs. Sure, we all aren’t caricatures of John Hughes characters, but we all have our own backgrounds and we found a unique and special group that accepted us. If you have a friend group that is a bit disjointed but still loves each other, this group outfit might be just the one for you. Be warned, if you are the unfortunate one with the John Bender costume, people will ask you to fist bump and hold the pose throughout all of Halloween.

Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

a smiling man wearing reading glasses
Photo from wikimedia.org


In West Philadelphia, born and raised on this costume is where I spent most of my pay. How was it that Will Smith could do it all? In the ’80s this man was genuinely on TV, on the big screen, and making hits with DJ Jazzy Jeff. There are very select people nowadays that can accomplish this triple feat. The best part about this outfit is that you can become the Fresh Prince or DJ Jazzy Jeff by finding your snazziest pair of windbreakers and doing your cheesiest poses in front of a mural. The more eye-popping the windbreaker the more accurate the costume.

Elliott and E.T. from “E.T.”

E.T. character wearing an orange hoodie


Step 1, grab a blanket. Step 2, put the blanket around your significant other. Step 3, put your fingers together. Congratulations, you have just won Halloween. I might have missed a step or two, but you get the idea.

E.T and Elliot were squad goals before that term existed, and it’s for good reason. It’s very difficult to make an audience emotional about a connection between a child and an alien. If you want to embody this pair, as we said earlier find a blanket and get yourself a red hoodie. Pair those together and you have a Steven Spielberg classic.

The Twins from “The Shining”

display of two similar dresses and shoes of twin girls
Photo from wikimedia.org


This movie is 40 years old. 40. Years. Old. Isn’t that just insane? The reason it doesn’t feel so dated is that the twins in the hallway scene are creatively being parodied every year. This is for good measure too, as they are extremely creepy and scarred into our memory. Now, if only there was a creepy scary holiday where you could dress up as these twins … oh wait. If you want to embody the true spirit of Halloween and be a scary duo with a buddy, just put on these costumes and menacingly stand in hallways on the 31st.

Summer and Casey from “Baywatch”

big letter display of Baywatch in the shore
Photo from wikimedia.org


Are there more perfect ‘80s costumes? I mean the only way this costume would be even more fitting is if you were invited to a Halloween party that was also a pool party. Yes, that exists…no I haven’t been invited to one before. For those of you lucky readers that have been invited, this decision is a no-brainer. Show off your body, show off your Baywatch pride, and get into wacky situations with your attractive lifeguard friends.

*Looking like David Hasselhoff is a plus but not necessary*

Marty and Doc Brown from “Back to the Future”

two teens wearing Marty and Doc Brown costumes
Photo credit: https://bit.ly/36dLn5B Gage Skidmore


Everyone is going on and on about this new show Rick and Morty. Well, Marty and Doc Brown are the Rick and Morty before the Rick and Morty. They’re the unlikely zany duo that you need to have at your next costume party. If no one wants to do it, I guess you will have to. Arm yourself with the puffiest vest you can find and throw on a white shirt underneath. For Doc brown, all you’ll need is some white hair and a penchant for theatrical reactions. Who knows, with a good enough costume, you may end up taking a detour on the way to the party and arrive in the distant future.

Whitney Houston in “I Wanna Dance with Somebody”

Whitney Houston holding mic and pointing to audience
Photo from Wikipedia Commons


Even just reading the title will make the song stuck in your head. You will hum it at the cooler, and it will infect everyone else standing around the cooler and they will hum it at their desks. Eventually, you will all be loading up I Wanna Dance with Somebody on the ride home back from work. That’s the effect just from reading the title, now imagine how pumped up everyone will be when they see you decked out in Whitney’s iconic outfit from her music video. Fair warning, someone will steal the aux chord and play this jam in your honor. Just have the dance moves ready when that time comes.

The “Heathers” Cast

Thanks to Riverdale, Heathers got a second wind in the mainstream media, but make no mistake this movie has its own two legs to stand on. So worthy in fact, that you can take a freeze-frame of any part of this film and you could construct an outfit based on that split-second. We will say though, there is a high likelihood you will stop upon a pleated mini skirt no matter what part of the movie you pause on.

Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury action figure
Photo credit: Marcos Teixeira de Freitas https://www.flickr.com/photos/imortal/30684829602/


There are rock stars, and there are legends. Legend is not a word that should be used lightly, which is why we reserve this word exclusively for Freddie Mercury. You already know the costume, you know the mustache, and you know everyone will recognize the outfit immediately. With his recent biopic that came out this past decade, there isn’t a person on this planet who hasn’t experienced Freddie Mercury in some way shape or form. Go get a half-broken mic stand, and get ready to make Halloween your Live Aid concert. Ay-oh!

Uhura and Kirk from “Star Trek”

Kirk and Uhura looking at a man in a scene from Star Trek
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/retroweb/3834895782/ Kipp Teague


Do you know what is just cruel? The fact that Star Trek and Star Wars was considered nerdy in the ’80s, but is now considered cool in the current generation. Now, we can either sit and complain about this, or we can take advantage of the fact that we can dress in our fabulous decked Star Trek costumes and not be considered the geek at the party. Let’s be real though, Kirk and Uhura wouldn’t care about geekiness or coolness anyways.

Joel from “Risky Business”

Perfect the slide, throw on the costume, and get ready for a reaction. This costume is so iconic that we hesitate to even bring it up because there is a small likelihood someone else may be wearing the same thing. In that scenario, we recommend synchronizing the slides and practicing your Tom Cruise impersonations together.

The “Family Matters” Cast

Now dressing up as the Family Matters cast is another way of saying dressing up as the epitome of ‘80s fashion. Genuinely, the characters on this show either influenced the fashion of that generation or vice versa. Yes, the re-runs are entertaining, but the outfits are also great costumes.

Ferris from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

man wearing the costume from Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Photo credit: Heather Miller https://www.flickr.com/photos/heathervesta/50202712746/


Another John Hughes movie? Yes. Should you be surprised? No. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off launched Matthew Broderick into Valhalla of ‘80s fame. This is your chance to have a taste of what it was like to steal a car, interrupt a parade, and just be a lovable goofball. Why does intense costume shopping when you can recreate this look by just visiting your local thrift shop?

Westley and Buttercup from “The Princess Bride”

man and woman wearing black and red costumes of Westley and Buttercup
Photo credit: Anna Creech https://www.flickr.com/photos/eclecticlibrarian/2811618113/


Throw on a crown and throw on a wedding dress because The Princess Bride is one of the most underutilized costumes on this list. This quotable movie is a fan-favorite and you will be happy you chose this classic as your Halloween costume when everyone tells you to prepare to die all night.

Johnny and Baby from “Dirty Dancing”

woman looks at her partner's eyes while they are dancing
Photo credit: California Musical Theatre https://www.flickr.com/photos/californiamusicaltheatre/13719950325/


Nobody puts baby (and this costume) in a corner. Old school cool in the dictionary is accompanied by the chiseled face of Patrick Swayze. With Halloween approaching, it is your turn to channel that sex appeal and charisma as you don the outfit from Dirty Dancing. If you would rather go as Baby, that is another fantastic choice that will make every guy wish they had the moves and the courage to woo you just as Johnny did.

The “Ghostbusters” Cast


When there are no costumes in your closet yet, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! These guys were squad goals, and you can emulate their friendship and camaraderie within your squad as well. The Stranger Things kids pulled off these outfits amazingly, but we have a feeling you can one-up them with a bit more pizazz and attention to the paranormal.

The “Golden Girls” Cast

Yes, you do have shoulders, but they are not in their final form. With just a few feet of shoulder pads, some intricate earrings, and an attitude to match you will be a force of nature just like the Golden Girls. Are you showing up with three of your gal pals? If the math checks out, you have a chance to make an appearance as one of the most iconic female squads in history. There is only one rule, I call Blanche.

Cyndi Lauper

woman with pink hair singing on stage
Photo from wikimedia.org


Take some makeup and apply it to your eyes. Then apply a bit more. Then apply the rest of the makeup in the container, because Cyndi Lauper never had enough eye makeup whenever she made an appearance. Go grab the most outlandish outfit you can find and bling yourself out to the max. I’m talking shawls, scarves, beads, drapes, pearls, necklaces, and everything in between. Halloween is about dressing up, and this costume delivers that in spades.


Singer Prince holding mic attached to stand
Photo from Wikipedia Commons


We had Princess Diana and Prince Charles, but now we introduce to you THE Prince. The Prince of music, the Prince of the ’80s, and the Prince that had more hair than hit records (and he had a lot of hit records). If the ’80s had a soundtrack, then it also had a singer, and this was that man. Grab a suite, make sure it’s purple, and warm up your vocals so you can hit those notes in Purple Rain.

Jane Fonda

close-up of a smiling woman with bangs
Photo from wikimedia.org


Schedule a quick workout session before your Halloween party, and let’s get physical! Yes, you could try to pretty yourself up this Halloween, or you could be the coolest female to ever exist and channel your inner Jane Fonda. The choice is yours, but the correct answer is pretty clear.

Sir Elton John

a man singing while playing piano on stage
Photo from wikimedia.org


Some may mistakenly refer to Elton John as Elton John, but that is SIR Elton John to you. That is something you need to repeat in the mirror if you plan to dress up as this icon this Halloween. Just like Freddie Mercury on this list, Elton John has also had a recent biopic about his life, which breathed new life into his staggering fan base. Get a little zany, go a little crazy, and take this outfit for a spin. By dressing up as Sir Elton John you pay tribute to one of the greatest musicians alive. The fabulous sunglasses are a plus.

Hulk Hogan

bearded man wearing Hulk Hogan's orange outfit
Photo from wikimedia.org


Not the green angry guy, the other Hulk who would beat the green angry in the WWE. Hulk Hogan was a beast and still is. If you have biceps that are larger than life, it is your duty to take up the Hulk Hogan mantle this Halloween. Hulk Hogan is in the conversation for perhaps the most famous wrestler of all time, but he is 100% the most famous wrestler of the ’80s.

Rubik’s Cube

disassembled Rubik's cube


The last costume on this list is a personal favorite of mine because I am secretly hoping for a resurgence of this bad boy. Before fidget spinners and Tik Tok, we had this 3×3 cube that was impossible to solve but still fun to attempt every few days. Keyword being attempt, not solve. I remember having this on my desk, and you can jog that memory for everyone else when you show up as one of the most beloved toys of the ’80s.


To fit a decade’s worth of culture into one article is a difficult task, but we braved the storm so that you could feel more prepared for this upcoming Halloween. While this is the Absolute Best ‘80s Costume List, there is a teeny tiny chance that maybe we missed one of your favorites. If we did, we are happy to hear about it in the comments below. We will be sure to include these additions in our next list Absolute Best ‘80s Costume List. Until then, we wish you the best of luck and we are excited to see you rock one of these awesome costumes this Halloween.

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