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A Very Geek Chic Halloween: 10 Geeky DIY Costume Ideas

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Geek chic costumes: Cho Chang, Uhura, Amy Pond
[L-R Cho Chang, Uhura, Amy Pond]

I absolutely love costumes. I’d wear them every day if it were socially acceptable. (Really, the whole point of the Geek Chic column is getting away with costumes-that-aren’t-really-costumes!) But aside from events like Comic Con, Halloween is the only time of year when we fans can truly let our geek flags fly.

While past Geek Chic posts feature wearable, everyday ensembles inspired by shows and movies, this post is all about in-your-face outfits–the wilder the better!

Trust me when I say that geeky Halloween costumes are a blast: you get to blatantly advertise your fandom devotion and no one will think it’s weird.  The past few years, I’ve dressed up as characters from Doctor Who, Star Trek, and Harry Potter (pics above), and been totally surprised at how many people recognized/appreciated the costumes, all of which were assembled in my dorm room for cheap!

Tips & Tricks for Budget Costuming

  • DIY! Why spend $50 on a shoddy polyester costume that will fall apart by the end of the night when you can make a better and cheaper version yourself? Plus there’s nothing like the satisfaction of being able to respond to a compliment with, “Thanks, I made it myself!”
  • Thrift stores are your friend. Buying fabric by the yard isn’t cheap, nor is it practical if you haven’t got a sewing machine in your dorm room. But thrift stores are a gold mine for inexpensive, already-constructed clothing articles that you can easily alter for your own needs. Or you can source materials from oversized garments: for instance, craft leather is expensive, so instead I cut up a pair of $7 leather pants from Goodwill to use for the armor on my Wonder Woman costume this year.
  • Plain t-shirts are also your friend. So many possibilities! Add a nautical collar and pin on a bow: boom, you’ve got the top of a Sailor Scout costume.  Iron a transfer-paper “Merlotte’s” logo to a white T-shirt and you’re Sookie Stackhouse!
  • Use what you have! I’m a stickler for accuracy when it comes to making my convention costumes, but Halloween isn’t about screen-accurate replicas: it’s about having fun! Shop your own closet (or your friend’s) for clothes that can pull double duty as costume parts. And household items like aluminum foil and pillowcases can be unexpectedly great for costume-making!

10 DIY Costume Ideas

Still looking for that perfect Halloween costume? Check out these suggestions for geeky costumes that won’t break the bank!

1. Wonder Woman from DC Comics

Wonder woman costume
Product Information: Tank, Shorts, Socks, Sneakers, Belt, Earrings, Cuff | Photo credit

You probably won’t win any “most original” awards with this costume, but Wonder Woman is an absolute classic. Who wouldn’t want to be Diana, warrior princess of Themiscyra? All you need to get your Amazon on is a red tank or tube top and cobalt shorts (or stay warm in colored skinny jeans or leggings). Use fabric paint or sew craft felt onto the top to make her armor, and do the same for the white stars on the pants.

Red knee-high boots are difficult to come by, so get the look by wearing red knee high socks with any red shoes that you’ve got. Cuff bracelets are popular and available for cheap at stores like Forever 21. Don’t forget to slick on a coat of classic red lipstick!

2. Dobby from Harry Potter

dobby
Product Information: Dress, Sock 1, Sock 2, Shoes | Photo credit

There aren’t any more Harry Potter midnight premieres to attend but you can still show your Hogwarts love! Pay tribute to everyone’s favorite house elf (sorry, Kreacher) with this easy costume. If you’re on the petite side, just cut holes in an old pillowcase for your arms and head. If you’d prefer to wear real clothing, a light-colored wrap dress will work just as well.

Mismatched socks are a must for this costume — the crazier the better! Finally, cut ears out of craft felt and glue them to a plain headband. It might not be an instantly recognizable outfit, but you’ll get to shout “Dobby is a free elf!” all night at everyone who asks who you’re supposed to be.

3. PSY from Gangnam Style

gangnam
Product Information: Blazer, Shirt, Pants, Oxfords, Bowtie, Glasses | Photo credit

This isn’t a fandom-inspired outfit, but it’s definitely fun! If you’ve been anywhere near social media the past few months, you’ve almost certainly watched the music video for the undeniably catchy “Gangnam Style.” And don’t lie — you’ve tried out the dance moves in your dorm room.  Hop on the K-pop bandwagon with an outfit inspired by PSY (who, by the way, is a BU alum…go Terriers!).

You might already have all the pieces for this costume in your closet! Just add on snazzy extras like sunglasses and a bowtie. Because bowties are cool.

4. Starfleet Officer from Star Trek: The Original Series

starfleet
Product Information: Red Dress, Yellow Dress, Blue Dress, Boots, Bag, Foil | Photo credit

All you need to boldly go where no one has gone before are black boots, tights, and a long-sleeved mini-dress in command gold, science blue, or security red! Make the Starfleet delta insignia yourself: just cut out a piece of study cardstock in the right shape, wrap it with aluminum foil, then safety pin or sew it on. If you’re going as Uhura, you can also pop on a bluetooth headset to emulate her earpiece.

A black crossbody bag does double duty here: it resembles the tricorders that the crew carries on missions, and it’ll hold all your essentials when you go out on Halloween night!

5. Castiel from Supernatural

castiel
Product Information: Trench, Shirt, Jacket, Trousers, Shoes, Tie, Wings | Photo credit

Quick note: There will be a proper Geek Chic post on Supernatural-inspired fashion coming soon, but I just had to make a shout-out to my latest fandom obsession! (I now go into involuntary spasms whenever “Carry On Wayward Son” starts playing.) My favorite character is definitely Castiel, the long-suffering, trenchcoat-wearing angel played by Misha Collins.

Besides the Impala, Castiel’s coat is probably the most recognizable object from Supernatural. And luckily, it’s also a closet staple that you might just have on hand. Add basics like a blazer, trousers and a white blouse to get that “holy tax accountant” look, then borrow a navy tie from a guy friend. (Wings are optional.)

6 & 7. Dexter and DeeDee from Dexter’s Laboratory

dexters
Product Information: Lab Coat, GlassesJeans, Gloves, Boots, Dress, Tights, Flats | Photo credit

Group costumes are always fun, especially when it means bringing it back to your Cartoon Network-watching days! Just grab a friend to be the DeeDee to your Dexter (or vice versa). If you know a science major, or if you are one yourself, it shouldn’t be difficult to get your paws on a lab coat. Add thick-rimmed glasses, black pants, and boots, then pop on a pair of gloves. (Grab an extra pair next time you have chem lab!)

For DeeDee, you’ll need a poufy pink dress, white tights, and plain ballet flats. (Tie ribbons around your ankles to get the lace-up look.) Then tie up your hair in the highest, most obnoxious pigtails you can manage and you’re set!

8 & 9. Jamie and Adam from Mythbusters

mythbusters
Product Information: Beret, Mustache, Cargo Pants, White Shirt, Black Shirt, Jeans, Glasses | Photo credit

Here’s another dynamic duo that spends lots of time in a lab: Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage from Mythbusters! Whether you and your designated costume-partner are hardcore fans or casual viewers who just drop in for Shark Week episodes, you’ll both have a blast channeling the hosts of this uber-geeky show.

For Jamie, the beret and walrus mustache pretty much are the costume: just add a white shirt, cargo pants, and the most disdainfully skeptical expression you can muster. Adam’s outfit is super easy, requiring only a pair of thick black glasses, a black blouse, and black pants. Bonus points if you get other friends to dress up as Tory, Kari, and Grant! (Anyone else have a huge crush on Grant?)

10. Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones

daenerys
Product Information: Top, Skirt, Leggings, Boots, Wig | Photo Credit

I haven’t started watching Game of Thrones yet (for shame, I know!) but Tumblr tells me that Daenerys is one badass lady who hangs out with dragons. Since her white blonde hair is a vital element of the costume, you’ll have to get wiggy with it (unless you happen to have waist-length platinum locks!).

Go for tough, strappy boots and textured garments in natural hues to emulate the rugged leather pieces that Daenerys wears. If you have an old maxi skirt that you don’t mind altering, cut a slit up the side to mimic her overskirt, then wear leggings underneath. Feeling crafty? Follow this easy tutorial to make a homemade dragon egg as a fun prop.

What do you think?

Is spooky your favorite season? Would you wear any of these costumes? Are you dressing up geeky for Halloween this year? Do you DIY your costumes?  Let us know in the comments!

Posted on on October 20, 2012 / Filed Under: Inspiration / Tags: , , , , , ,

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54 Responses to “A Very Geek Chic Halloween: 10 Geeky DIY Costume Ideas”

  1. 1
    October 20th, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    These are all awesome, but I am loving you for including Castiel. :)

    I’m a big fan of DIY costumes! Then you don’t look like anyone else and you can be a lot more creative. And I’m definitely doing geek myself this year.

  2. 2
    October 20th, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Ahh, I can’t wait for the Supernatural-inspired post, it’s one of my favourite shows!

  3. 3
    October 20th, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Great post! Some other ideas:
    Korra from LOK
    anyone from Avatar: The Last Airbender
    the TARDIS
    a Weeping Angel
    Edward Scissorhands (not really geeky but whatever)
    Pacman
    Carl Sagan
    an internet browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer…you can even team up with others for this)
    anyone or anything from Pokemon
    He-Man

  4. 4
    October 20th, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Totally gonna be Castiel instead of River Song now.

  5. 5
    October 20th, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    For including Castiel and Dany, you have won my everlasting love.

  6. 6
    October 20th, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    The links for the Star Trek dresses aren’t working for me for some reason….. I really want to go as a Star Trek character now! Just have to find the appropriate dress.

  7. 7
    October 20th, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    These are so fun, and I love the Supernatural one!!! Great post!

  8. 8
    October 20th, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    I APPLAUD THIS POST!

  9. 9
    October 20th, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    I’m just gonna dress up as Honey Boo Boo Child so ya’ll better redneckognize!
    lol

  10. 10
    October 20th, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    The links for the Dobby Costume are not working

  11. 11
    October 20th, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Where are the Star Trek dresses from? The links are not working.

  12. 12
    October 20th, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    I was police kissogram Amy Pond for Halloween last year! I had the shirt, mini, tights, shoes, and red hair already, made the tie from some fabric remnants, and picked up the vest and a fake badge. my husband was nurse Rory and we had an 11th Doctor in our group, too. … just had to share because absolutely no one we met got my outfit, but it’s in your first photo set, so I feel vindicated haha. Love these ideas!

  13. 13
    October 20th, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Apologies for the broken links! Not sure why they’re not working, but I’ll fix them asap. In the meantime, here are the links for the Dobby dress, red dress, yellow dress, and blue dress.

  14. 14
    October 20th, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Other geek-chic costume options could involve the girls from Firefly! River and Kaylee seem specially easy to DIY.

  15. 15
    October 20th, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    If you could post the correct link for those oxford shoes for the PSY inspired outfit I’d be eternally grateful! I’m mildly obsessed…

  16. 16
    October 20th, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    @Alexa: Oxfords link!

  17. 17
    October 20th, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    I love the Castiel costume. I wish I found this site before I ordered my costume.

  18. 18
    October 21st, 2012 at 12:06 am

    The PSY Blazer link isn’t working either :-/

  19. 19
    October 21st, 2012 at 12:43 am

    how did you know I was looking for a Daenerys costume! great ideas, am totally going to try it!

  20. 20
    October 21st, 2012 at 12:54 am

    Ha! Dexter and DeeDee is a FABULOUS idea

  21. 21
    October 21st, 2012 at 2:17 am

    I think I’m going to cry because every single one of these costumes are basically my life haha.

    But I’m actually going as Black Widow from The Avengers this year. I’m really proud of the way my DIY came out :) Perhaps the 11th Doctor next year…

  22. 22
    October 21st, 2012 at 6:20 am

    Sorry about the links, guys – we were upgrading a few things on the server last night and it caused a glitch with our link system. All the links should be working now!

  23. 23
    October 21st, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Sooo much love for including Cas. Can’t wait for the supernatural geek chic post!!

  24. 24
    October 21st, 2012 at 11:04 am

    I never thought of Dobby. That is adorable! And I am a Potter-head forever, so maybe I will do that. And Adam and Jamie are so cool. And being one of the two would be pretty easy (except I would have to find an epic mustache).

  25. 25
    October 21st, 2012 at 11:13 am

    These are all awesoem ideas and I’m definitely going to send these to my friends who are still trying to come up with ideas. Also, that Castiel costume is exactly what I’m already doing for halloween!

  26. 26
    October 21st, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    This is brilliant! I’ve been looking everywhere for inspiration for Halloween! Thanks Shannon!

  27. 27
    October 21st, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    So in love that Castiel was brought up! I can’t wait for the Supernatural post, I’ll be checking this site every hour from now until then!

    And I love the idea of PSY!!!

  28. 28
    October 22nd, 2012 at 12:12 am

    Love the dee dee idea!! She was always one of my favorites hehe

  29. 29
    October 22nd, 2012 at 4:10 am

    Yes! Amazing post.

    Supernatural is one of the greatest shows ever made, so my heart is so happy you included Castiel! Now I cant decided if I should dress up as Castiel or Marty McFly. Hrmmmm…

    PS. Can NOT wait for your SPN post!

  30. 30
    October 22nd, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Mythbusters!!!!!! :D

  31. 31
    October 22nd, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Love the third costume! I have the cutest black/white oxfords from Chinese Laundry that would be perfect for this outfit.

  32. 32
    October 22nd, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Omg! Can’t wait for the Supernatural post! I love Cas (and the fact that the actor’s name is Misha, which is cool on a male) but back to the point, love the idea to dress as him!
    P.S. I go crazy when “Carry on my wayward son” comes on as well! :-)

  33. 33
    October 22nd, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Shrieked when I saw Cas on the list, Supernatural is my ultimate fandom :3

  34. 34
    October 23rd, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    Ah the Dobby costume is so cute! I’ll definetely be trying that one. Unfortunately, the dress mentioned is one from the UK. I wish I could find a dress that’s from the US :(

  35. 35
    October 24th, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    I am sad Effie Trinket isn’t on here. She’s totally Goodwill do-able if you wanted to.

  36. 36
    October 25th, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    hahahahaha I love these “geek chic” fashion posts. Always makes fashion much more fun :)

  37. 37
    October 25th, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    “Because bowties are cool.” <3 <3

  38. 38
    October 26th, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Is it wrong that I am literally squealing in joy over the prospect of a Supernatural inspired outfit blog? OF COURSE NOT! On easy DIY costumes front, Rosie the Riveter from WW2 propaganda posters would be awesome. I’m actually dressing up like her this year. All you need is some nifty vintage-style make-up, red bandana, boots and denim shirt. So easy!

  39. 39
    October 26th, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Love love love Castiels look! And i happen to have already bought that exact trench because it reminded me of him!

  40. 40
    October 28th, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    i love these costume ideas! the mythbusters one is super easy

    P.S. I LOVE GRANT!!!! mrs. imahara anyone? ;)

  41. 41
    October 31st, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Cute ideas! I’m opting for Amy Pond ala “The Wedding of River Song”. Got a suit jacket from the thrift store ($10) and an eye patch from the drug store ($2). Already have black pants and shoes. I knit a TARDIS sweater for my dog so I may bring her along trick or treating with the kids. We always do DIY for costumes around here and we always use the thrift stores. Great resource on a low budget.

  42. 42
    November 1st, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Thanks for doing a post on wonder woman! You did a really good job of capturing her. Some further ideas for geek chic: serenity, robin hood men in tights, she-ra.

  43. 43
    November 3rd, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    LOVE THE CAS AND STAR TREK!!! Thanks for posting!

  44. 44
    November 13th, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    i’m still new to gc, but now that i’m here i want more but there haven’t been any more posts. :'(

  45. 45
    March 17th, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    I love the cas one! I wanna go to a convention in Exeter like that but I don’t wanna look too manly! Do you think I could replace the blazer with a corseted waistcoat and the trousers for a pencil skirt? Would the message still get across? Also I can’t find anywhere to get good black (or white) wings! Any links for those?

  46. 46
    September 11th, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    I’m going a a Tardis

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