The Coolest Halloween Costumes for College Students 2016

Every fall brings the thrill of coming up with the perfect Halloween costume—the inexpensive, believable, and maybe even comfortable costume (admit it—no one wants to be itchy or otherwise miserable all night).

While planning ahead is useful, don’t worry if you’re pulling a costume together at last minute. Sometimes spontaneity results in a fresh idea that will delight all who see you, wandering about town or visiting a house party.

Brainstorm Halloween costume ideas with your friends to come up with a group theme. As a team, you could go as a popular band, where members have distinct personalities that you and your friends can each play up in clothing, hairstyle, or make-up. Surf the web for particularly helpful You Tube videos and accumulate ideas about what to wear, how to act, and what to say. For added authenticity, be prepared to lip-sync a performance!

Old-Style Sitcom Theme

These by-gone shows are the rage these days, since people access them via cable channels, with online streaming options, and of course via Netflix. Revive a pop culture icon from years past, like Archie Bunker from All in the Family or Fonzie from Happy Days. Go a bit more recent and dress up like Kramer from Seinfeld. Enjoy the laughs you’ll share at the party (or parties) you’re hitting. Yuck it up with a nostalgic person who watched the shows religiously as a kid, or share a laugh with some younger fans of the sitcom relic.

Ahoy There!

For something more whimsical, try out a nautical theme, where one person comes as a goofy pirate, one dresses as a ship’s captain, and someone else goes as some kind of marine life—say a crab or a shark. These are definitely family friendly, if that’s a concern, but you can easily layer on adult themes by going as a sexy mermaid or a rum-soaked pirate.

Rock the Trends

Another great way to nail the Halloween costume conundrum is to focus on what’s trending in terms of society or your community. How about reminding party-goers of the USA’s fantastic Olympics performance from last summer? Conjure up the right accoutrements to imitate the guys who made up that gold-medal swim team (a green haired Lochte, anyone?). Or figure out how to look just like one of those adorable gymnasts who charmed the world: a simple leotard, glitter, over-done make-up, and some athletic tape on your feet do the trick. Even simpler? Go as an Olympic sprinter—don running shoes, pin a number on your chest, then wrap up in the American flag for good measure.

Find Your Look (and Voice)

Circling back to the music theme, you could dress up as a coach from The Voice. How easy (and cheap) it would be to arrive at a party as Blake Shelton or Adam Levine ( but for Adam you’ll definitely need temporary tattoos)? Talk about economical! Of course, one value quotient of a Halloween costume is that others “get” who or what you are supposed to be, and all of the above are high on the recognition factor.

More Politics, Anyone?

Finally it is an election year, so one natural inclination is to lean into these options. It’s too easy to channel one of the presidential candidates, though, so consider dressing up instead as a local candidate, like a state senator running for re-election or the county sheriff. An added bonus? You might get the chance to actually do something in support of a candidate you like, because along with the question, “Who are you supposed to be?” comes the window for delivering a “stump speech” on that candidate’s behalf. So go for local flavor: you might just be able to enlighten someone about a regional race that matters.

The bottom line on the coolest Halloween costumes is this: don’t over-think, don’t over-spend, and remember—it’s all for fun.

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