The Best Little Black Dress Halloween Costumes Inspired by Pop Culture

For an easy, timeless look.

Christina Ricci in The Addams Family Values
(Image credit: Alamy)

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, but I'll admit that I've dealt with a number of years in which the holiday has completely snuck up on me. This lack of preparation has left me to cope with the pathetic final dredges of leftover, ill-fitting Halloween costumes from stores or lengthy delays in online shipping. But while I tend to be a shopping procrastinator, I also happen to be resourceful, and have been able to create a number of DIY Halloween looks incorporating the one item that just about every woman has in her closet: The little black dress.

Whether you're aiming for a scary, sexy, or nostalgic look this Halloween, the little black dress can serve as a number one ingredient for a memorable look. In addition to being cost-effective, a little black dress Halloween costume is also easy, chic, and won't awkwardly collect dust in the back of your closet during the other 51 non-spooky weekends of the year.

Of course, you can throw on a black dress before popping on a pair of fake fangs or a witch hat, but there's also a treasure trove of icons from popular culture that are recognizable, fun, and feature the famous sleek black number. Scroll on for some of our favorite contemporary looks that incorporate the ultimate women's fashion staple.

Holly Golightly

Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's

(Image credit: Alamy)

It's just about impossible to think of the little black dress as a costume (or of the little black dress at all) without thinking of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's. It's one of the chicest, most immediately recognizable looks of all time, and it's unbelievably easy to put together. One year, when I was in college, I dressed as Golightly, and it remains one of my most compliment-inducing costumes to date.

Wednesday Addams

Christina Ricci as Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family

(Image credit: Alamy)

Not only is the matter-of-fact, ever-pessimistic, astonishingly woke Wednesday Addams one of the most meme-able and relatable characters of all time, but her preppy-meets-goth look is also easy to mimic and incredibly fun. Pair her classic, iconic collared outfit with tall socks and Mary Janes for the full look. And don't forget the pigtail braids!

Morticia Addams

Christina Ricci, Anjelica Huston, and Jimmy Workman as Wednesday Addams, Morticia Addams, and Pugsley in The Addams Family

(Image credit: Alamy)

Like her daughter Wednesday, Morticia Addams is also a fashion icon. If you love The Addams Family but want to go the sexy rather than killer-child route, consider Morticia's dramatic, form-fitting silhouette and killer red lip. For the full look, straighten your hair or look into black hair extensions—and if you're in a couple, see if your partner is down to be the Gomez to your Morticia!

Lydia Deetz

Winona Ryder as Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice

(Image credit: Alamy)

Beetlejuice is one of my absolute favorite movies (who can forget those possessed dancing scenes and that unhinged artistic decor?), and Lydia Deetz is everyone's favorite angsty teen. If, like Lydia, you are a self-professed "strange and unusual" person, try out her spooky look. What with Winona Ryder's recent re-uptick in popularity after appearing in Stranger Things, this costume is bound to be a nostalgic hit.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

(Image credit: Alamy)

Marilyn Monroe is one of the most recognizable beauties of all time, and with Andrew Dominick's new Monroe-centered film Blonde (starring Ana de Armas), interest in this icon is sure to continue rising. Marilyn posed in the above still for her role in the 1950 film The Asphalt Jungle, but once you master the hair and makeup aspect of her look, there'll be no mistaking who you're dressed as.

Cruella de Vil

Cruella de Vil cartoon

(Image credit: Alamy)

I do not stand behind the OG Cruella de Vil's animal cruelty, but I do love her outfit—and I always have. Not only is this look chic and universally flattering, but its long shearling coat is a great way of keeping warm during this often-chilly holiday. A costume that's sexy and cozy? Let's. Go. 

Gabrielle Ulubay
Beauty Writer

Gabrielle Ulubay is a Beauty Writer at Marie Claire. She has also written about sexual wellness, politics, culture, and fashion at Marie Claire and at publications including The New York Times, HuffPost Personal, Bustle, Alma, Muskrat Magazine, O'Bheal, and elsewhere. Her personal essay in The New York Times' Modern Love column kickstarted her professional writing career in 2018, and that piece has since been printed in the 2019 revised edition of the Modern Love book. Having studied history, international relations, and film, she has made films on politics and gender equity in addition to writing about cinema for Film Ireland, University College Cork, and on her personal blog, Before working with Marie Claire, Gabrielle worked in local government, higher education, and sales, and has resided in four countries and counting. She has worked extensively in the e-commerce and sales spaces since 2020, and spent two years at Drizly, where she developed an expertise in finding the best, highest quality goods and experiences money can buy.

Deeply political, she believes that skincare, haircare, and sexual wellness are central tenets to one's overall health and fights for them to be taken seriously, especially for people of color. She also loves studying makeup as a means of artistic expression, drawing on her experience as an artist in her analysis of beauty trends. She's based in New York City, where she can be found watching movies or running her art business when she isn't writing. Find her on Twitter at @GabrielleUlubay or on Instagram at @gabrielle.ulubay, or follow her art at