After a month of anticipation, "Treehouse of Horror" binges, and spooky Twitter names, Halloween is finally upon us. This special day means so much to so many people, and one of the greatest joys it gives us is licensed costumes based on comic book properties. Some of them are incredibly detailed and accurate to the source material, some of them are hilariously bad, and some, somehow, manage to be both.
We've rounded up some of the best comics-themed Halloween costumes from this year to provide you with some last minute inspiration for the big night.
Remember the heady days of 2008 (and 2009, 2010, 2011, etc) where Heath Ledger’s Joker was the Halloween look? Warner Bros presumably wanted to replicate some of that spark with Jared Leto’s Suicide Squad performance, but his gutterpunk gangster Joker just does not translate well to licensed costumes (or to the cinema screen, for that matter).
If this is the look you want to go for, the version that comes with the coat is only five dollars more expensive, but on the other hand I’m not sure how much you’d have to pay me to leave the house dressed like this.
Harley Quinn Adult Costume
On the other hand, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn does seem to be the breakout costume of this year, and while some people may be cynical about its popularity, it is a relatively easy costume to pull off and make look genuinely authentic.
There were a lot of spot on Harley Quinn costumes available this year, including some really good Batman: The Animated Series-inspired ones featuring her original costume.
Secret Wishes Harley Quinn
Then on the third hand, we have this “Secret Wishes” Harley Quinn costume which I don’t think I’d be able to tell was Harley if not for the diamond patterns on her socks. It seems more influenced by the look of the Arkham games than comics or movies, but the dulled aesthetic of the costume makes it look more in line with something from Dishonoured or Dark Souls. There’s not enough character in this costume to accurately convey Harley Quinn, and her secret wishes might be best kept to herself.
Batman Armored Supreme Costume
Did you love Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? Did you love the bit where Batman gets in his The Dark Knight Returns armor and fights Superman? Do you have $649.99 to spare? Then do I have the costume for you.
Honestly, I don’t see the appeal of a costume like this. You’re not going to buy it for a Halloween night out, so it’s probably aimed more at cosplay enthusiasts and convention attendance. However, that kinda feels like cheating. Half of the fun of cosplay is building the costume yourself, and if you’re just gonna rock up at NYCC in nearly seven hundred dollars worth of metal, what’s the point?
Wonder Woman Deluxe Adult Costume
I love this costume so much, because to me it screams “I really wish NBC picked up the David E. Kelley Wonder Woman pilot starring Adrianne Palicki,” which is a long and very specific sentence for a costume to scream, but it’s a dedicated and niche stance for a costume to take.
The costume is also perfect for fans of J. Michael Straczynski’s blockbuster run on Wonder Woman that everyone absolutely remembers from 2011. You know the one, where everyone forgets who Wonder Woman is? She wears the jacket? Phil Hester had to take over when JMS decided he didn’t want to finish it? That’s the one, and thankfully that iconic run has been immortalized in this costume.
Deluxe Jor-El Adult Costume
Speaking of niche costumes, I cannot imagine anyone who loved Man of Steel so much that they decide they want to represent their favorite film on Halloween night, but not by dressing as Henry Cavill’s Superman or even Michael Shannon’s Zod. No, they’re going to go all out as Russell Crowe’s Jor-El. The perfect costume if you want to be explaining who you are to strangers literally all night long.
Deluxe Men's Black Panther Costume
I don’t have much to say about the costume here, it’s run-of-the-mill superhero stuff with a muscle suit and mask. However, could the company taking these promo shots not do the literal bare minimum required of them and get a black model for this shot? We’re at a point where Marvel Studios is finally gearing up to release its first solo film starring a black lead with a predominantly black cast, and yet the costume people put a white guy in the suit and decided it was good enough.
Doctor Strange Robe Adult Costume
They couldn’t find a black guy to dress as Black Panther but they made sure to get a white dude with a goatee for the Doctor Strange costume.
There’s a lot of things to love about this costume, with my favorite being that it’s not available until December, which means Marvel is missing out on a wave of goatee-clad gentlemen wandering around Greenwich Village asking if this is your card. I love that it doesn’t feature Strange’s iconic Eye of Agamotto or Cloak of Levitation. I love that the model looks like a cross between Chip Zdarsky and Sylvester Stallone.
I’d actually be tempted to get this costume and wear it for Halloween, but I’d tell everyone I was dressed as Doctor Weird, an Asylum Films original character.
While this is billed as a Deadpool costume for women, it’s actually a costume of the breakout character of 2010, Lady Deadpool, who was created by none other than Rob “The Rob” Liefeld. The advantage of this costume is that you can use it to your advantage whenever someone dressed in a knockoff Doctor Strange costume tests your comic reading credentials, and make them look a fool for not knowing all about the history of Wanda Wilson of Earth-3010.
Second skin bodysuit costumes tend to look pretty poor, mostly because they try to capture the nuances of an Iron Man or Captain America with one flat layer of cloth. However, a Mr. Fantastic costume in this vein is actually kinda genius and while possibly an unintended addition of authenticity, it manages to capture the inherent body horror of a man with stretchy abilities incredibly well.
It’s also a collector’s item due to the fact that Marvel is currently so ashamed of the Fantastic Four, it refuses to put out anything to do with the concept until the bad taste of Fant4stic is out of everyone’s mouths, which may be a few more years yet.
Nothing about this costume is good, starting with its use of the Rescue name. Rescue is the superhero identity of Pepper Potts, and she wears a suit of armor that looks absolutely nothing like this.
As a gender-swapped Iron Man costume, it would be somewhat better, but the costume’s biggest sin is just how uncomfortable the material looks. In trying to replicate the shininess of an Iron Man suit of armor, the costume makers have resorted to what looks to be an assortment of different colored bin bags stapled together into the form of a dress.
A cute Iron Man inspired dress isn’t a bad concept for a Halloween costume, but this isn’t that.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
We’ve all been through a lot over the past eleven images, there have been some highs and lows and I felt you all deserved to see something as pure as four dogs dressed like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
In all honestly, the dogs could have put more effort into their portrayals, and casting the same dog as both Leonardo and Raphael is just laziness on the part of the photographer. However, they are indeed very cute doggos and dog costumes are one of the most amazing parts of Halloween.