Despite what Mean Girls might have you believe, Halloween costumes (and particularly plus size Halloween costumes) are about way more than how little clothes you wear. While some of us use Halloween as an opportunity to make a joke, others take the holiday very seriously and use it as a time to flex their creative muscles, handcrafting replication costumes to perfection.
When you start looking through the costumes of plus size babes on social media, it's easy to notice something of a trend in the ensembles. For starters, there's often a kind of creativity to the looks, not to mention a real sense of passion for paying tribute to the women who first introduced these gals to body positivity. Oftentimes, they'll dress up like the first media images of plus size women they ever saw (beyond Miss Piggy alone, who is always an obviously popular choice for plus size women who don't just want to go as the fat version of a known straight size character).
I've personally been incredibly inspired by all of the ways people avoid the pre-packaged route, paying tribute to their own plus size fashion and body posi roots and crafting looks inspired by body positive women from pop culture. There are loads of body positive babes out there proving that you can use Halloween as an opportunity to show the importance of fat visibility and total inclusivity in pop culture, so here's how you can dress like them too.
OK, OK. I know that Ursula is a known as a Disney villain, but stay with me on this one. For many chubby kids who grew up in the early '90s, Ursula was the first fat woman we saw on TV. She was also the first media representation we saw who suggested that fat was synonymous with ugly or bad.
As body positive babes fighting tirelessly against that social stigma, there's something powerful about reclaiming Ursula in the same way we have reclaimed the word fat. Blogger Jessica Biffi did a flawless job recreating this look and the key to doing it right is the silver wig, black dress, shell necklace, and a serious commitment to purple paint.
Disney Ursula Wig, $38.99, halloweencostumes.com
Ursula The Sea Witch Inspired Necklace, $8, etsy.com/shop/ JaceBlacDesigns
Boleyn Dress, $89, chubbycartwheels.com
Purple Body Paint, $4.99, partycity.com
2. Leslie Hall
Before there were YouTube sensations, there was Leslie Hall who first burst onto the scene because of her collection of gem sweaters in 2000. I remember first being introduced to Leslie Hall in the mid 2000s when I was just becoming aware of body positivity. Seeing someone like Hall who unapologetically wore tight gold lamé leggings was extremely influential to my own self love journey.
1980s Sandy Metro Frames, $34, etsy.com/shop/ salvagehouse
Gold Sequin and Bead Capelet, $57, etsy.com/shop/TreasurePicker
Imitation Leather Leggings, $28+, etsy.com/shop/VixenObscure
3. Peggy Bundy
I don't think Peggy Bundy played by Katey Sagal was plus size, but one scroll through the #PeggyBundy tag on Instagram and it's clear to see that her fabulously tacky aesthetic has been an inspiration to babes of all sizes. I was happy to see how many different ways this look has been interpreted, even though Married With Children went off the air almost 20 years ago.
Brands like Pinup Girl Clothing are a perfect way to recreate Peggy's signature animal print clad look.
Peg Bundy BeeHive Wig, $69.99, newattitudewigs.com
Vamp Top, $58, pinupgirlclothing.com
Legging With High Waist In Shimmer Disco, $29, asos.com
4. Tracy Turnblad
The plus size community is so lucky to have a woman like Ricki Lake still so involved in the movement. For many plus size women, Lake's portrayal of Tracy Turnblad in the 1988 Hairspray film was extremely influential and an introduction to body positivity. Independent designers like Candy Strike, of course, have paid tribute to her iconic looks.
Tracy Turnblad Hairspray Tracee, $34.99, maxwigs.com
Big Blonde & Beautiful, $28.50, etsy.com/shop/ CandyStrike
Plaid Midi Skirt, $99.90, eloquii.com
5. Jessica Rabbit
If Ursula represented everything bad about being fat, Jessica Rabbit represented everything good about being curvy. In a way, the narrative about "acceptable" fat and hourglass privilege is still very much an issue today. However, I think it's important to see plus size women like model/singer Peach reclaiming the Jessica Rabbit imagery as our own, proving that being sexy and curvy is not reserved for straight size women.
Although I couldn't find the exact dress, this sequin one is dreamy. Pair it with stretch purple gloves and a Jessica Rabbit wig and the look is yours.
Jessica Rabbit Cosplay Long Red Curly Wig, $70+, etsy.com/shop/ Wigglywigs
Elegance Sweetheart Red Sequin Strapless Maxi Dress, $184, kamishade.com
Ruched Purple Temptress Gloves, $7.95, yandy.com
6. Mimi Bobeck
I'm from Cleveland and before we had Lebron James putting us on the map, most people knew my city as the hometown of Drew Carey and The Drew Carey Show.
When I saw that blogger The Hefty Hideaway had recreated a look from Mimi Bobeck on the show, I was instantly brought back to a character who influenced my own style. She may have even been the reason my aesthetic has been nicknamed "plus size clown couture." I had to pick something from Cleveland plus size boutique Re/Dress, obviously, and pair it with a few of Bobeck's signature pieces.
Mini Bubblegum Pink PVC Hair Bow, $8, etsy.com/shop/ starryeyedbowtique
L.A. Colors, $1.99, drugstore.com
Vintage An Orange Affair Kimono, $88, redressnyc.com
Although I've never seen cult classic Pink Flamingos, I do know that plus size women everywhere are hugely influenced by Divine in the film. This look by blogger Horror Kitsch B*tch is extremely authentic (although it's quite difficult to recreate without making this dress from scratch). There are some tips from the blogger herself as well as a YouTube makeup tutorial to help you make this look on point, though, right down to the fake poop.
Glitter Collection, $5, bhcosmetics.com
Red Long Sleeve Belted Mermaid Dress, $26.06, rotita.com
Fake Poop, $0.57, carnivalsource.com
When thinking of someone to commemorate this Halloween, why not someone who's always made the case for size inclusivity?
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Images: Courtesy Elliot Parrott Photography; Courtesy Brands