30 genius costumes for conquering Halloween

From a giant Lego minifig to the "Stranger Things" opening credits logo, we've got a gaggle of costumes that venture outside the Halloween norm.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
Dune sandworm costume
1 of 30 canida

'Dune' sandworm

Jumpstart your Halloween costume brainstorming with a collection of outfits running the gamut from a toothy sandworm to a mini-Marty McFly and an Elvis/Star Trek crossover.

Nothing says Halloween quite like a giant alien worm with pointy teeth and a penchant for swallowing people. This full-body "Dune" sandworm costume comes from Instructables user canida and requires some basic sewing skills, tan and pink fabric, posterboard, wire and a cardboard box. The resulting costume will truly spice up your Halloween.

2 of 30 HalloweenCostumes.com

'Stranger Things' logo

The hit Netflix '80s throwback horror series "Stranger Things" gets an unusual cosplay tribute from HalloweenCostumes.com with this three-person version of the opening credits logo. Red cellophane and string lights give the costume its glow. Black body suits help hide the people behind the logo.

Crochetverse E.T.
3 of 30 Stephanie Pokorny

Crocheted E.T.

Crochet wiz Stephanie Pokorny crafted this elaborate E.T. costume for her son Jack over the course of four days. The design is all freehand, which makes it all the more impressive. A whole lot of brown yarn went into the full-body suit.

4 of 30 Ryan Scott Miller

Ecto-1 wheelchair costume

Meet the youngest Ghostbuster. Jeremy and his dad Ryan Scott Miller teamed up for a spectacular Ecto-1 costume based on the phantom fighters' classic car from the first "Ghostbusters" movie.

Jeremy has a spinal-cord condition called spina bifida. His main mode of transportation is a wheelchair, which also becomes the basis for this rocking Halloween costume for 2016 complete with working lights, siren and "Ghostbusters" theme music.

5 of 30 Picasa

Star Wars snowspeeder wheelchair

The "Ghostbusters" Ecto-1 wasn't Jeremy's first wheelchair costume. For Halloween 2015, his dad Ryan Scott Miller built a highly detailed snowspeeder from Star Wars for his brave Jedi. Miller is a big Star Wars fan and was thrilled to share the experience with his son.

Hubble costume
6 of 30 aliceharrison1337


One of the joys of Halloween is letting your imagination run wild and creating a truly out-of-this-world costume. Engineer Dan Regan built this full-body Hubble Space Telescope costume to wear at Denver Comic Con in 2016. It took him more than 40 hours to create the eye-catching wearable, which is made from foam and shiny Mylar.

DeLorean push car costume
7 of 30 cory4281/Instructables

DeLorean push car McFly

You don't have to be full grown to go on "Back to the Future" adventures. Instructables user cory4281 built this DeLorean push car for her little Marty McFly. The car is made from cardboard, tape, paint and wire lighting. The only problem? It won't get up to 88 mph.

8 of 30 Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Baby Iron Man

Professional prop maker Eric Hart wanted his son's first Halloween in 2014 to be special, especially since the tyke was still hospitalized after a premature birth. Hart crafted a cuddly Iron Man costume from a red onesie, yellow fabric and red and yellow foam pieces.

Samantha Cristoforetti as Janeway
9 of 30 Samantha Cristoforetti/ESA

Captain Janeway in space

A lot of fans have their own Star Trek costumes, but European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti took the art of cosplay to new heights when she donned her Captain Janeway outfit on the International Space Station. Cristoforetti rocked the "Voyager" uniform in 2015 and shared a selfie on social media.

Work Loader costume
10 of 30 rdt156/Reddit

Baby Ripley in 'Aliens'

DIY dad Jason Smith battled Halloween and won in 2012 with an epic "Aliens" Power Loader costume. The mechanical super suit got a kid-friendly makeover with an integrated baby carrier for his daughter, who took on the role of alien-fighting heroine Ripley.

The costume was so awesome another dad built a similar model for his baby in 2014.

11 of 30 Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Father-son MechWarrior

The MechWarrior game series comes to spectacular life with this father-and-son MechWarrior costume that puts baby at the controls of a fearsome battle machine. Dad Ryan Bowen and his son Geraint paired up to pull off the costume for Halloween in 2014. It's made of PVC, cardboard boxes and Velcro straps.

12 of 30 Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Young Jedi on a tauntaun

A young Jedi's Star Wars dreams came true in 2016 when sci-fi fan Clint Case built this all-in-one costume of Luke Skywalker riding a tauntaun. The handmade costume uses the kid's legs to operate the tauntaun, while his torso takes on the Jedi role. This is about as cute as Star Wars costumes get.

13 of 30 Chantelle Leck Bailey

Walker Millennium Falcon

Somewhere on a Halloween not too far, far away, two Star Wars-loving parents crafted this impressive Millennium Falcon costume to fit over their son's walker. The young Han Solo, who has cerebral palsy, took to his hero role right away.

14 of 30 Amanda Kooser/CNET

Elvis Trek

The Star Trek 50th anniversary convention in Las Vegas in 2016 attracted a lot of creative cosplay concepts. One participant really shook things up with this Elvis Presley/Star Trek crossover costume. Huge bell bottoms, a "TCB" Starfleet logo and plenty of sparkling gold accents made the outfit stand out in a crowd of Kirks, Klingons and Red Shirts.

15 of 30 Star Wars Chick


You don't have to be human to enjoy playing dress-up. Chubbs the pug terrorized Tatooine in this adorable bantha costume in 2012. Banthas in Star Wars get to be the size of an elephant. Chubbs the Banthapug, however, stays at his normal small doggy size.

Cat armor
16 of 30 Print That Thing

Cat warrior

Bobo the cat is a majestic beast, as evidenced by this mighty display of 3D-printed cat battle armor. The spiky armor is held together by rivets that allow natural feline motion even as the kitty is striking fear into the hearts of its enemies. While cat battle armor makes good fashion sense any time of the year, it's a particularly striking choice for Halloween.

Batman gadgets
17 of 30 Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Record-holding Batman costume

You could wear a Batman Batsuit this Halloween. Or you could wear a Guinness World Record-holding Batman Batsuit. Julian Checkly outfitted his Batman duds with 23 working gadgets, ranging from a folding Batarang to a fireball shooter. He holds the record for "most functional gadgets on a cosplay suit."

18 of 30 Cockeyed

Massive Star Wars AT-ST

Look closely. There's a person in this picture. Beneath the head of this Star Wars AT-ST costume stands a man dressed all in black. Scott Holden created this mechanical beast of a Halloween costume in 2012. A puppetry apparatus allows him to walk around and operate the giant prop.

Zombabiez costume
19 of 30 Stephanie Davidson

Baby zombie

Few concepts are more horrifying than a baby zombie, unless it's this adorable plush zombie costume designed for tykes. The Zombabiez costume features soft fabric entrails created from baby-safe materials. The undead cosplay completed a successful Kickstarter project in 2013.

Captain Kooser
20 of 30 Amanda Kooser/CNET

Wear what you love

Perhaps the greatest Halloween costume is the one you already have and love. This is my Star Trek Captain Kirk outfit, a combination of tailored black pants and a Kirk tunic from costume maker Anovos. Any opportunity to put on my Starfleet uniform and take on the role of Captain Kooser is a good one.

Captain America costume
21 of 30 Chez Marmota

Captain Guinea Pig

Halloween isn't just for humans. This guinea pig models a Captain America costume from Etsy seller Chez Marmota, who designed a line of pet outfits covering a variety of superhero looks.

22 of 30 Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

A perfect Chewbacca

When it comes to DIY Star Wars costumes, former "Mythbusters" host Adam Savage may have an unfair advantage over most cosplayers. The skilled maker created this incredibly detailed and accurate Chewbacca costume to wear at the Silicon Valley Comic Con in 2017.

23 of 30 Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET


"Wonder Woman" made a huge splash at the box office in 2017, so the superhero's look should be a popular choice for Halloween revelers. This particular cosplayer just happens to be a dog named Munchkin. 

Munchkin's person built this Wonder Woman costume for Halloween in 2016.

24 of 30 Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Cardboard Lego minifig

YouTube channel The Q is known for creating all sorts of interesting things out of cardboard, but this giant Lego minifig costume is a triumph of engineering. The Q posted a tutorial video on YouTube, but you will need some serious cardboard skills to pull it off.

Amazon Prime
25 of 30 Jason Hackett/Fusion Marketing

Amazon Prime

Autobots, deliver! The world of the Transformers robots meets two-day shipping with this cardboard costume that combines Optimus Prime with Amazon Prime boxes.

The clever Amazon Prime costume comes from Caron Arnold, creative director at Fusion Marketing in St. Louis. She built the outfit for the office Halloween costume contest in 2016 and took top honors.

26 of 30 Profiles in History

Princess Leia

This Star Wars "Slave Leia" costume looks incredibly accurate because it's the real deal. Auction house Profiles in History sold the outfit to the highest bidder in 2015. If you were the auction winner and happen to be the right size, then this could be your very chilly Halloween costume this year.

TARS costume
27 of 30 Iain Heath

'Interstellar' TARS

It took a lot of aluminum and two iPads to create this delightful walking TARS robot costume from the 2014 sci-fi blockbuster "Interstellar." The creator, Iain Heath, used a camera, LCD screen, audio amplifier and headset to help navigate while inside the costume. It took him three months to build the elaborate cosplay in 2015.

28 of 30 Costume Craze

Samurai Darth Vader

Star Wars is cool. Samurai are cool. Why not put them together? Costume retailer Costume Craze offered these crossover looks in 2014. They combine the warrior aesthetic from feudal Japan with the distinctive style of a Stormtrooper and Darth Vader from Star Wars.

29 of 30 Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

LED light-up kid

Back in 2013, photographer Royce Hutain used LED lights to build a supremely spooky stick figure costume for his toddler. He posted a very popular short video to YouTube showing the delighted kid running down a hallway. Hutain now runs a website offering the costumes and other LED gear.

30 of 30 Snap/Amazon

Snap dancing hot dog

Snap, the company behind Snapchat, offered up this oddball dancing hot dog costume through Amazon for Halloween 2017. It features "Convenient head/hands slits for easy access to cups, touch screens, and turntables."

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