Looking for a pop-culture-relevant Halloween costume for this year’s end-of-October festivities? Then you might want to turn to the memes. This year gave us a slew of iconic moments, forever memorialized in digital parlance. From Salt Bae to Nicole Kidman’s infamous approach to clapping, here’s a roundup of the best memes you could adapt into a tongue-in-cheek getup. These are minimal effort — and maximum internet points.
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Salt Bae — real name Nusret Gökçe — is the masterful meat-seasoning chef and restaurateur known round the world for his stylish approach to tableside food prep; just ask Leonardo DiCaprio. Additionally, the costume is simple: all you need is a white v-neck slim-fit t-shirt, black pants, round sunglasses (worn at night and indoors) and slicked-back hair. Bring a shaker of salt with you and a faux T-bone on a plate to really complete the look, and then practice your salt-sprinkling technique until you’ve got it down pat. All the celebrities will be queueing up to party with you and your moves.
Clapping Nicole Kidman
You could dress up as one of Nicole Kidman’s onscreen characters — she’s had a blockbuster year, between critically-lauded HBO miniseries Big Little Lies and her turn in The Beguiled — but that would be much less fun than dressing as Kidman herself. Specifically, you’ll want to be Kidman at the Oscars, where she was snapped applauding for her fellow celebrities in a rather odd way. The explanation: she was wearing such expensive jewelry that she didn’t want to endanger her gems. Makes for a quick costume: load up on faux baubles (the gawdier the better; her diamonds were over a hundred carats), twist your hair into a chic updo like Nicole’s, and step out in a nude-colored bejeweled column gown. Optional: find a Keith Urban lookalike to tag along and practice your Aussie accent. The seal-clapping will seal the deal.
Zombie Taylor Swift
In Taylor Swift’s super meta music video for “Look What You Made Me Do,” the singer takes a trip through memory lane, bringing back many old versions of her self — the cheerleader, the guitar nerd, the glamazon. The new Taylor of 2017, though, is the one you’ll want to reenact for Halloween. (Or is it the “old” Taylor? As we know now, she can’t come to the phone because that one’s dead.) It’s an especially fitting look for the ghoulish holiday, as it’s Swift’s zombie graveyard self. As seen in her behind-the-scenes video, all this look takes is a team of makeup artists spackling on skeletal features and faux nails, a ripped-and-dirtied dress, bedraggled hair and some practice clawing at passersby.
Swift even encouraged us to try this look on for size. “When you look this gross, you just have no physical insecurities. Like none. They’re gone. It’s freeing. I encourage everyone to look like a corpse at least once,” she said while getting into character on set.
Ah, SpongeBob SquarePants, the utterly nonsensical and equally well-loved childhood cartoon character whose bizarre shenanigans in his pineapple under the sea are millennial-kid lore. SpongeBob returned to the spotlight this year thanks to some internet users excavating one of his weirder freeze-frames and using it to mock other posts. According to KnowYourMeme, the still is taken from an episode in which SpongeBob acts like a chicken. But all you need to do is wear lots of yellow, stick sponges all over your body, find some square-ish brown pants and make sure that you adopt a supercilious, mocking tone for the evening. Sold.
Shouting Meryl Streep
[TK line about how she recreated it]Meryl Streep is the Hollywood gift that keeps giving. Exhibit A: her enthusiastic reaction to friend Debbie Reynolds receiving an honor at the 2015 Screen Actors Guild Awards. The image of Streep shouting, hands cupped around her mouth, surfaced again in early 2017 and became the subject of a number of viral memes, often including song lyrics. You, too, can be Meryl for a night this Halloween. Arrange your silver-blonde hair in a classic updo, don a chic black long-sleeve top and chunky silver bangle, and prepare to issue a number of call-and-responses whenever the mood strikes.
Pennywise — the clown from Stephen King’s IT, this year adapted into a movie and played with supreme creepiness by Bill Skarsgård — is the most Halloween-appropriate pop culture character of 2017; this is a killer clown we’re talking about, after all. Pennywise also happened to get the meme treatment, thanks in particular to a scene of the clown lurking in a sewer. Many forms of “it’s better down here” made the internet rounds. For a costume, you’ll want to deck yourself in clown garb — red wig, Pennywise’s distinctive face paint and eye makeup, red nose, white outfit with neck ruff. Then insist to all you encounter that you have the solutions to all of their problems, if only they would follow you into the sewer.
Stock Photo Trio
It was the stock photo seen ’round the world: a man caught mid-action as he checks out a woman other than the one on his arm. For this group costume, you’ll need a group of three, a plaid shirt, a blue shirt and a red shirt. Then you’ll need to practice getting in position and making the appropriate expressions. Beyond that, the possibilities are endless as to how you want to describe the dynamic your trio embodies. That’s what special about memes, after all: they are open to interpretation.