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Beyond Basic Witch: Why the LBD Is Your Halloween Costume

It’s reasonable to say that Halloween brings a certain uneasiness to the air. Elaborate haunted houses, 1980’s slasher movies, and age old ghost stories will always illicit a chill down the spine. On top of it all, there’s always a certain mystique surrounding pop up Halloween shops. As a seasonal store it’s understandable that they’re never around for long. Yet there’s a certain phenomenon about them. They arrive when you least expect it, vanish without a trace, and as much stock as they have one can never land on just the right costume. Where does the large quantity of costumes go? Why are they all made out of polyester and latex? And what happens to the garments once the festivities are over?

To avoid this endless cycle of questions and last minute search for a costume, head to your closet. There’s nothing like being resourceful. And almost every wardrobe holds the key to sustainable costume success: a little black dress.

Our Guide to How to Style Your LBD for Halloween

Wednesday Addams (The Addams Family)

Wednesday (and Addams family) has a lasting legacy in popular culture that spans well over 50 years. It’s surely her dark yet endearing affinity for horror, but it also resides within her wardrobe. Her signature black a-line dress with a peek-a-boo white collar put her in a unique position. On the surface her ensemble and matching braids mimic a school girl’s uniform; she’s non-assuming until she enacts one of her antics or plan

Must haves: Pointed or Peter Pan collar, matching braids

Lydia Deetz (Beetlejuice)

The inner workings of Tim Burton’s mind have supplied us with iconic films which include Beetlejuice. Winona Ryder, who is prone to unusual characters, cemented Lydia Deetz as a goth icon. She describes herself as strange and unusual, is able to see ghosts, and consistently wears all black. Her most memorable look comes with her spiked bangs, teased hair, lace shawl atop a black dress, and thick black choker necklace. Maintain a teenage “don’t care” attitude, compare your life to a dark room, and you’re ready to go.

Must haves: Black shawl, and hairspray (a simple fix to maintain the spiked bangs).

Bonus points: Large rounded hat and camera

Bellatrix Lestrange (Harry Potter)

Simply put, Bellatrix was maniacal. Her breakout from Azkaban was a grand entrance into the franchise, but could never prepare us for her use of dark magic and bone-chilling laugh. Similarly to the rest of the Death Eaters, the dark witch maintains an all black wardrobe, but with a feminine flare. Her floor length black dresses are whimsical – always featuring velvet, lace details, and detailed embroidery. The more eccentric the better, so reach for your dress with bell sleeves, cutouts, or contrast stitching.

Must haves: Wand, tight ringlet curls, pendant necklace

Optional items: corset, arm length gloves

Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s)

In the opening scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Holly Golightly stepped out of a cab to reveal an elegant black dress. Despite her casual window shopping and preoccupied nature with a coffee and croissant, the dress stands as the scene’s focal point. The piece was made by none other than Givenchy alongside costume designer Edith Head; together the pair would craft its sleek silhouette, open shoulders, and cutout back made out of Italian satin. Cited as one of the most memorable black dresses of the 20th century, a recreation of the costume will hold turn heads just like Audrey Hepburn.

Must Haves: Costume jewelry, sunglasses, arm length gloves

Group Costumes

American Horror Story: Coven

For a coven of witches, black attire is standard. American Horror Story: Coven followed through with this unwritten rule, dawning all forms of mini, midi, and maxi black dresses and accessories to match each particular character; just be sure to include a Supreme.

The Craft

The Craft is teen horror at its finest. When the group of girls isn’t fending off school boys or controlling parents, they’re channeling their angst into magical powers. The film’s wardrobe also captures goth and punk sub-genres that are easy to replicate. Include black dresses, jackets, sunglasses, and layered jewelry.

The Spice Girls

Despite the platform shoes, cheetah print, and Union Jack dress, Posh Spice’s go-to black dress reigned superior – after all she was posh for a reason. A spaghetti strap black mini will do just the trick, all that’s left is a microphone and a strong sense of girl power.

-kennedy smith


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