College Halloween Costume Ideas That are Classy, Not Trashy

By Julie Homerding, University of Illinois

Cady Heron, the protagonist of the movie "Mean Girls," described the 21st century girl's Halloween best: "In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it."

Although some of the lessons Cady experienced at North Shore High School have been influential for girls, others will unfortunately say things about your Halloween costumes whether you like it or not.

Girls should not have to think that dressing provocatively will impress others. Halloween is about dressing up and having fun with friends, not a competition to look like the hottest girl at the party. Plus, looking hot does not have to mean looking trashy.

This Halloween, focus on wearing something cute and creative rather than trashy, because you can still look hot without looking like you should belong to the Plastics.

Here are some costume ideas that aren't trashy, but can still catch someone’s attention — in a good way.

Flashback costumes: Relive your childhood and wear your favorite Halloween costume from when you were a kid.

  • Barbie: Barbie has been everything from a cheerleader to a chef, but she always kept her outfits classy. Buy a blonde wig (if you aren't blonde already) and create a costume based on your favorite Barbie outfit.
  • Disney Princesses: Whether it’s Ariel, Belle or Cinderella, there is nothing wrong with being a princess for at least one day, even in college!
  • Butt-kicking chic: Pink Power Ranger Kimberly was everyone’s favorite, enough said.

Decades Costumes

  • 1920s: Flapper Girls might have been rebels during the 20s, but you can still look sexy and classy as a flapper.
  • 1950s: Teenie Boppers and Greasers are straight from the 50s. Try to get one of your guy friends to dress as Danny and you can be Sandy.
  • 1960s: Find your inner peace and love by dressing up as a hippie. Fringe, tie-die and bell bottoms are perfect essentials.
  • 1970s: Get ready to boogie at the disco. Anything with sparkles is perfect to be a dancing queen. Spice it up with some platform shoes.
  • 1980s: Teased hair, bright makeup and mismatching clothes will make a perfect costume.

Traditional Halloween Characters

Why not dress up as an average witch, mummy or ghost? We fill our homes with these decorations, but we do not always think about being one for Halloween. You can even wrap yourself up in decorations like spider webs or caution tape!

Halloween does not have to be about wearing a pair of animal ears and spankies then calling it a costume. Spice things up! Be creative and playful, and people will be talking about your costume for the right reasons.

Image: m_bartosch /

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