Last Minute Meme-Inspired Costumes for Halloween

by Alli Hoff Kosik
Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock

I always make the process of choosing the perfect Halloween costume a lot more complicated than it needs to be. There's this pressure in adult culture to get pretty deep with what you wear on Oct. 31 — to somehow contribute to the larger conversation around world events in a clever or provocative way or to play into major pop culture trends. Usually, this month-long over-analysis ends with me standing in my apartment hours before my first Halloween party, trying to figure out what kind of costume I can assemble with the stuff I already have in my closet — and most of the time, the result is a fine costume that isn't effortlessly hilarious and doesn't have a clever secret meaning. I've ruined the month of October for myself stressing about Halloween, and my costume isn't even good. Excellent.

Memes are the ideal solution for someone like me. A quick search for popular memes reveals a treasure trove of reminders about key recent moments in politics, news, and entertainment, which makes them the perfect source of Halloween inspiration — as long as you can avoid taking your inspo from an image that's offensive or inappropriate, of course. Here are some memes from the last year that might make especially great (and timely and clever and well-informed) costumes for the 2017 season.

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Side-Eyeing Michelle Obama

I know you've been practicing your side-eye since roughly Jan. 20 (actually, never mind — make that Nov. 8), so it's time to put it to work. Pair that ice-melting expression with the right ladylike basics, a casually wrapped Tiffany box, and a general skepticism about the future. You're good to go!


Burgundy Dress, $28, WithChic | Black Skinny Belt, $17, Groupon | Black Despina Pumps, $40, JustFab

What You'll Need: Just a few simple (and fierce) basics! You can replicate Michelle Obama's 2016 inauguration look with a simple burgundy dress like this one a skinny belt, and the perfect pair of black pumps. Pull back your hair with a middle part and fix that side-eyed glare toward 2020.

Distracted Boyfriend

The perfect inspo for a costume threesome, 2017's über popular Distracted Boyfriend meme may require a bit of charades for full effect, but I'm pretty sure your fellow Halloweeners will get the message if Boyfriend himself can nail that quasi-duck face.


Blue Tank Top, $30, 6pm | Plaid Button Shirt, $27, Macys | Red Dress, $27, WithChic

What You'll Need: Your trio shouldn't worry too much about what they're wearing on the bottom — people will get the effect as long as you perfect the tops. Find a simple blue tank for the scorned GF, a short-sleeved plaid button-down for the inconsiderate dude, and a simple red outfit — maybe a dress? — for the object of his attention.

Diddy At The Met Gala

Never one to play it safe or subtle, Diddy made quite an entrance at May's Met Gala — and the world took notice. Borrowing your Halloween inspiration from this look is pretty much guaranteed to have a similar effect. One rule: you must take every opportunity to lay casually on a staircase.

White Button Up Shirt, $25, Charlotte Russe | Tuxedo Trousers, $16, BooHoo | Leather Oxfords, $36, Yes Style | Sequined Black Blazer, $47, Popmap | Wool Cape, $33, BooHoo

What You'll Need: Shake up Diddy's flashy menswear by combining basics — a classic white button down, tuxedo pants, and patent leather oxfords — with attention-grabbing accents. A sequined black blazer is a sure thing, and if you buy a cape to really top things off for your costume, you'll probably wonder how you ever lived without it in your daily wardrobe too.

Roll Safe

Complex calls Roll Safe the best meme of 2017 so far, largely because its simplicity allows for so many creative spins. Think of how many so-called "captions" you can come up with to accompany your costume over the course of a single Halloween party!


Faux Leather Jacket, $43, Amazon | Mens Gold Watch, $57, Overstock

What You'll Need: I just gave you the excuse you were looking for to pick up a new (faux) leather jacket for fall! Add a gold men's watch and you're a dead wringer for the Roll Safe guy.

The Future Liberals Want

Yes, actually, this is the future I want. Thank you so much, internet, for giving me a perfect visual representation of it. In the meantime, I'd love to see some "The Future Liberals Want"-inspired costumes come Halloween. There were plenty of takes on this theme circulating earlier this year, but this one offers the unique opportunity to ride piggyback all night.

Aviator Sunglasses, $24, Popmap | Choker Necklace, $27, 6pm | Crochet Cat Ear Beanie, $11, Amazon | White Ears, $6, Amazon | Long Red Necklace, $14, Amazon

What You'll Need: It's all in the accessories for this super fly canine/feline duo. If you're playing the dog, wear a pair of square-ish aviator shades, an orange choker to mimic the German Shepherd's collar, and a set of brown ears — and be sure to tape your cell phone to your sleeve with some masking tape. The cat costume requires white ears and a long red necklace for the harness.

The Floor Is...

The Floor Is meme, in particular, sparked a whole lot of "been there!" responses this year. What better way to celebrate your solidarity with the message than by building your costume around it?


Long Pink Cardigan, $25, H&M | Brown Keds, $39, 6pm

What You'll Need: Go retirement chic with a simple denim dress, a long pink cardigan, and some "sensible shoes".

Beyoncé's Order

Beyoncé's the only one in the world who can look this fabulous nickel and diming a server, but there's no reason the rest of us can't try — at least on Halloween. Do you think I can score a free lemonade (or a vodka lemonade) if I really perfect the look?


Red Jumpsuit, $37, Dress Me Plus | Tassel Drop Earrings, $15, Top Shop

What You'll Need: Go for a plunging neckline in a super sexy dress or jumpsuit and add some statement earrings to make you feel like a Queen Bey.

George W. Bush's Inauguration Poncho

I knew the world had changed when I looked at Bush 43 during January's inauguration ceremony and felt warmth in my heart. Was it the fact that he just looked so sad in the rain? Recreate that admittedly jarring moment for your friends this Halloween — and stay dry in the process.


Black Trouser Pants, $30, Kohls | Black Blazer, $32, Old Navy | Black Tie, $10, Amazon | Clear Poncho, $20, Oriental Trading

What You'll Need: To recreate GWB's inauguration style, build a simple suit with a pair of black trouser pants, a black blazer, and a dark tie. Throw on a poncho and a grimace and you're ready to party.

Blue Ivy On The Balcony

In real life, I imagine that Blue Ivy Carter is a very sweet, sassy kid — not a mini-modern Marie Antoinette — but this image of Bey and Jay-Z's little one overlooking the scene below her balcony had the Internet cracking up as one of 2017's top memes.


Short Sleeved Green Dress, $28, Poshmark

What You'll Need: The only must-have for this costume is a flouncy, short-sleeved green dress. Add some pigtails and maximize photo ops behind railings and banisters.

Name A More Iconic Duo

Whether you love the Kardashian-Jenner clan or hate them — and I'm pretty sure your feelings about them don't fall somewhere along the more moderate continuum — it's hard to deny the impact they've made on pop culture over the last decade. Recently, Kendall and Kylie Jenner have become especially iconic in the fashion and beauty world.


Faux leather Jacket, $42, Amazon | Black Floral Top, $25, Target | Adidas Tank Top, $21, Zappos

What You'll Need: Your Kylie should wear a leather jacket, while Kendall can layer a black floral top under a black printed tank. This Adidas pick is especially on-brand for the Jenners, as Kendall was named the face of the classic sportswear company earlier this year.

Fidget Spinners

It's been impossible to avoid fidget spinners this year, so why should Halloween be any different? Keep the trend going with this embarrassingly simple costume.


Blue Plaid Shirt, $30, Macys | Fidget Spinner, $4, Amazon

What You'll Need: All you need to put your own spin (get it?) on this meme is a blue plaid shirt, a green fidget spinner, and a willingness to drive your friends a little crazy.