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50 Scary Halloween Costumes That Will Spook Everyone

From horrendous horror villains to ghastly ghouls, these scary Halloween costumes are perfect for delivering spine-chilling scares

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There’s so much to love about Halloween. The creepy aesthetic, the spooky traditions, the spine-chilling stories and, of course, the plethora of awesome Halloween costumes available make it a beloved holiday. It’s a time where we can transform into pretty much anything, after all—including the creepier things in life…and the afterlife. If you’re looking for a costume that really delivers the scares (in good fun, of course), check out the scary Halloween costumes below.

These scary Halloween costumes have a little spooky something for men, women, kids and even those looking for a petrifying group Halloween costume. Pair them with twisted makeup ideas and you have some seriously spooky gold.

The Nun Costumevia merchant

The Nun costume

Dress up as the terrifying villain in one of the scariest Halloween movies to give your friends and family a real fright.

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The Grabber costume

The Black Phone is easily one of the best scary movies released in 2022—and the film’s masked killer, The Grabber, is extra sinister. If you’re looking for a costume that really brings the scare factor, dress up as The Grabber, complete with that terrifying mask and eerie getup.

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Sith costume

Feel like going to the Dark Side for a night? This simple Sith getup is perfect for Star Wars fans.

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Carrie costume

Turn Halloween into prom night gone wrong by dressing as Stephen King’s unforgettable protagonist in Carrie. All you need is this white sheath dress doused in fake blood and a corsage (telekinesis optional). For real-life nightmares, check out these ouija board stories that are actually true.

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Kids’ Grim Reaper costume

If you’re looking for a scary Halloween costume idea for your kids, this Grim Reaper getup will do the trick. The creepy glowing eyes really add to an already spooky costume. It’s a pretty easy Halloween costume to throw together too.

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Vecna mask

Vecna has made his mark in the villain world after terrorizing the town of Hawkins in season 4 of Stranger Things. Pay homage to the Upside Down’s biggest bad guy this Halloween by donning this eerie mask. Bonus points if you carry around a clock to really sell the character. If you really want to scare people, try telling some of these spooky Halloween stories that are equally creepy and entertaining.

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Zombie bride costume

Scary and romantic—what’s not to love? This eerie zombie bride costume is pretty easy to put together. Do your face paint, put on a white dress and you’re on your creepy way.

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Scream costume

Dress up in this simple but scary costume and pay tribute to one of the most iconic slasher movies. You’re sure to get a couple of screams with this one! It’s also a good last-minute Halloween costume idea—all you need is the mask and some black clothing. If you’re in the mood for streaming something scary, check out these Halloween movies on Netflix.

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Scary skeleton costume

This is one of those scary Halloween costumes that’s pretty easy to DIY. All you need is black clothing (like leggings and a long sleeve shirt) and some black and white face paint, and voilà—you’re a scary skeleton. Feel free to carry around a fake skull for an added spooky effect.

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Scary clown costume

The killer-clown mask is the key element of this scary Halloween costume, of course, but it’s helped along by a disturbingly cheery outfit with slash marks and a weapon of your choice. Bloody cleavers, flailing spiked balls—the options are endless and disturbing.

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Scary mummy costume

Get wrapped up in the Halloween spirit with this ghoulish mummy costume. Leave the toilet-papered mummy for the kids—you’re going all-out this Halloween with these well-worn, tattered bandages that are actually very sturdy (and attached to a jumpsuit). This can also make a great DIY Halloween costume for adults.

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Jester Costumevia merchant

Evil jester costume

This jarring guy’s no joke. Speaking of jokes, break out these Halloween jokes to tickle your friends’ funny bones.

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Swamp skeleton costume

You don’t have to live by the bayou to get some swamp frights this Halloween. Kids will love dressing up in this scary swamp skeleton getup, especially when they see everyone’s faces while trick-or-treating.

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Victorian bride costume

This can be a truly terrifying vintage costume if you do your Halloween makeup right. Let the screams ensue!

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Spooky ghost costume

This freaky, faceless reaper in the ghastly white robe and pointy black gloves will have trick-or-treaters running in the other direction. Add clanking chains to announce your arrival from the afterlife—or a set of lighter but realistic-looking plastic chain links—and add a light-up skull lantern for a truly spooky effect.

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Headless Horseman costume

People will lose their minds over this scary Halloween costume. Plus, you can get a kid’s version if you want to dress up as a headless brood.

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Dreadful vampiress costume

You’ll be the talk of the town (or Halloween party) in this scary costume. Pair it with a scary vampiress makeup look and you’re all set. Get extra creative by making up a vampire legend for your ghastly character.

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Scary ringmaster costume

Be the twisted host of the scariest event in town! Your best friend can also dress up as a creepy clown, creating a terrifying circus duo.

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The shadow demon

With this head-to-toe, all-black costume, you can’t see any other identifying details either—and you can blend into the darkness, making it even more frightening. Add a pair of gloves with way-too-pointy fingers, demonically glowing eyes and some stealthy moves, and you have a recipe for pure terror as you creep up on unsuspecting friends.

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Ghost pirate costume

This is a scary Halloween costume idea that’ll leave an impression. Plus, you could make up a fun (or terrifying) backstory explaining how your character met their fate. If you’re looking for something on the lighter side, browse through these punny Halloween costumes.

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Haunting scarecrow costume

You’ll be scaring way more than crows in this costume.

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Witch costume

Go for the classic Wicked Witch of the West look with green face paint and a black witch costume. Make it really believable by bringing a broom!

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Sam costume

There’s just something so…eerie about this costume. Maybe it’s the bright jumpsuit or the button eyes—either way, you’ll be spooky dressed up as this Trick ‘r Treat character.

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Jigsaw mask

Feel like playing a game this Halloween? If so, dress up as Jigsaw, the frightening mastermind of horrific games in the Saw series. This mask is sure to get some gasps.

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Scary pumpkin costume

Dress up as the scariest gourd in the pumpkin patch this year and see how many shrieks you get.

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Slenderman costume

Halloween is the perfect time to dress up as Slenderman, the creature at the center of a creepy urban legend. It’s a simple costume that’ll inspire plenty of scares.

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Kids’ Eyeless Jack costume

This is another scary kids’ Halloween costume to consider for your little ones. They can dress up as a creepy urban legend for the night and (innocently) frighten those in their path. Then, they can turn in for the night and watch these Halloween movies for kids.

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Pennywise costume

This costume pays tribute to Pennywise from the 1990 IT miniseries. It’s just as scary as the new Pennywise look, and it’s unique too. You can easily stand out in a sea of Pennywises (which sounds terrifying, for the record).

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The Purge light-up masks

A big perk of this costume setup is that you can wear pretty much what you want as long as you have the masks. Equally scary and practical. Don’t forget to check out these top plus-size Halloween costumes to wear this year.

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Annabelle costume

A creep doll costume is bound to get a couple of gasps. Dress up as Annabelle, the demon doll who causes mischief and pure terror. Bonus spooky points if you carry a creepy doll around all night.

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Axe murderess costume

Talk about a killer costume. This is a scary Halloween costume idea guaranteed to turn heads.

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Cursed zombie costume

Go as the undead this Halloween in this cursed zombie costume. The clothes don’t come with the costume, but that means you can be creative with your zombie attire.

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Plague doctor costume

Get ready to send chills down people’s spines in this creepy plague doctor getup. You’ll make a scary impression—and possibly an appearance in someone’s nightmare.

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Entity Costumevia merchant

Faceless entity costume

A costume with no face? The scare-o-meter is high with this one.

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Ghost Mask Costumevia merchant

Sinister ghost mask

Go as a ghastly ghoul this Halloween by wearing this sinister ghost mask around town. Pair it with a dark robe to make one of Halloween’s most legendary monsters extra spooky.

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Jason costume

You’ll make a few people scream by dressing up as this legendary Friday the 13th slasher.

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Scary werewolf costume

This is another low-maintenance scary Halloween costume that’s guaranteed to get some gasps. All you need is a creepy werewolf mask and a flannel and you’re good to go for some spooky fun.

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Demogorgon costume

This is another scary costume option for fans of Stranger Things. Don the dreaded demogorgon look to be the scariest thing outside the Upside Down. It makes a great Halloween costume for teens too.

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Little ghoul costume

Looking for a scary DIY costume for kids? This one’s perfect for the little one who wants to be a spooky ghoul. All you need is a white dress, white face paint and black lipstick to complete the look.

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Mike Myers costume

When it comes to scary Halloween costumes, you can’t go wrong with dressing up as one of the most iconic horror movie bad guys, Mike Myers. The jumpsuit, the mask…we’re already getting goosebumps.

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Gargoyle mask

Talk about creepy! This gargoyle mask is perfect for anyone looking to get a scream (or two) this Halloween. Pair it with a simple black cloak and the eerie getup is complete.

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Scary jack-o’-lantern scarecrow

This costume is perfect for anyone wanting to show off their scary face-painting skills. All you need is orange and black face paint, a flannel and a straw hat to get the chilling look.

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Leatherface costume

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre terrified millions of moviegoers, thanks in large part to the chainsaw-wielding madman known as Leatherface. Recreate this horror villain’s look this Halloween by combining this mask with a bloody apron.

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Twisty the Clown costume

Now this is one scary Halloween costume. Dress up as Twisty the Clown (who made a horrific impression during season four of American Horror Story) to really send chills down some spines at the Halloween bash.

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Bloody Mary costume

The creepy urban legend of Bloody Mary comes to life with this getup. Get creative with the face paint to really heighten the fright—just make sure you don’t say her name three times in the mirror while getting ready…

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Old Man Winter mask

Yikes! Talk about a chilling Halloween costume idea. Dress up as a scary Old Man Winter for some freezing frights, complete with this mask and a black cloak.

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Frankenstein mask

You can make the monster in Mary Shelley’s classic novel come to life with this terrifying mask. Pair it with a green blazer jacket, black shirt, black pants and black boots to make the undead creature come to life.

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Spooktacular Creations Renaissance Medieval Scary Vampire Deluxe Halloween Costume Ecomm Amazon.comvia merchant

Vampire costume

You can’t beat this classic scary Halloween costume. Dress up as a Count of the night this year to scare the daylights out of those crossing your mysterious path. Plus, you could tone down the getup and make it a work-appropriate Halloween costume.

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Chucky costume

This costume is anything but child’s play. In fact, it’s downright menacing—just like Chucky himself.

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Frank the Bunny costume

If you’ve seen Donnie Darko, you know this bunny all too well. Dress up as this ghastly rabbit and turn some heads!

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Kelly Kuehn
Kelly Kuehn is an associate editor for Reader’s Digest covering entertainment, trivia and history. When she’s not writing you can find her watching the latest and greatest movies, listening to a true crime podcast (or two), blasting ‘90s music and hiking with her dog, Ryker, throughout the Finger Lakes.