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My predictions for the most popular Halloween 2023 costumes

Three jack-o-lanterns with smiley faces in the dark.

CC BY 2.0 “Halloween Pumpkins” by lobo235

Coming from a frosh whose midterms hit them like a truck: how can Halloween be approaching so quickly when it feels like we just got to Princeton but also feel like we have been here for years?

To help with last-minute costume shopping, I predicted the five most popular Halloween costumes that I think we’ll be seeing on campus this year. Perhaps, like me, you’ll still have time to Amazon Prime your items before October 31.



Two mannequins, one in a black outfit and one in a pink pant and shirt combo, are posed behind a Barbie display case.

“Barbie and Ken costumes from Barbie movie at Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood” by Dam0812 / CC BY-SA 4.0

I’m expecting lots of pink on the Street this Halloweekend — an ode to the 2023 live-action “Barbie” that took cinema by storm. In the past, dressing in full-fledged Barbie pink may have been seen as a tedious reference to a childhood show, but this year, portraying Barbie holds deeper implications. “Barbie” (2023) analyzed the intentions behind the doll’s creation, overviewed its detrimental impact on young girls’ self-image, and best of all, humanized Barbie as a character with struggles.

The film made a bold statement on feminism: being a Barbie doesn’t merely equate to dolling up and flaunting a stereotypically attractive body anymore. Rather, being a Barbie is now a proud statement of womanhood. The Barbie concept is also extremely versatile, largely thanks to the film’s portrayal of Barbie as an ever-changing woman of many shapes, sizes, hopes, dreams, and ambitions. While Barbie used to imply wearing a blonde wig and glamorous pink clothes, Barbie now comes in a plethora of different forms. Costumes may include Barbie-and-Ken couples in rollerblades or Western outfits. A group of Barbies can dress as the different movie Barbies, such as President Barbie, Lawyer Barbie, and Doctor Barbie. A Ken group might include Ken, his Ken-dom, and Allan.

Miscellaneous Animals and Rodents

A girl dresses as a feathery bird and holds a basket that contains an egg.

“just hatched” by istolethetv / CC BY 2.0


Efficient and budget-friendly, animal costumes are a timeless classic that repeats yearly, and for good reasons. I am not ashamed to admit that my high school friends have dressed up in shark onesies from 7th to 10th grade — four Halloweens of reusing the same exact costume while twinning. Now, although I am not encouraging anyone to go to such ends of laziness, a onesie is a ridiculously easy costume solution, hence why they are so popular. However, my guess is that they’re getting a bit too childish and low-effort for college student standards. So in addition to animal onesies, I predict many students will wear a pair of animal ears with a matching outfit. The Halloween costumes from “Mean Girls” and Elle’s bunny costume in “Legally Blonde” immediately come to mind. In these 2000s teenage films, two-piece animal costumes have been portrayed as the go-to for college girls. When I attend my first Halloween party this upcoming week, I wonder if this myth will hold true.

Pop Stars (specifically, Ice Spice)

The popstar Ice Spice sings with a microphone in hand.

“Ice Spice Next Wav by Keinoflo uploaded by James Tamim V9 (cropped) 2022” by Akein O. Brown / CC BY 3.0

Ice Spice is hands down the most imitable pop star we’ve seen in recent decades. Not only is her blazing red hair highly recognizable; her chic loungewear outfits are very simple to replicate.

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Other likely pop star costumes include Taylor Swift on her  “The Eras Tour,” where each person in a group could dress up as and embody a different era from her career.

As for duos, I expect to see a lot of Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice, especially after their viral collaboration on the “Barbie” soundtrack.

Unexpected Rhymes

This costume focuses on the rhyme between a fungus and the hit game Amongus.

Shannon Ma / The Daily Princetonian

This appalling trend has begun to dominate Halloween Tiktok. The name is self-explanatory — dress up as words that rhyme yet have nothing to do with each other. Examples include “Cupid and Stupid,” “John Cena and Athena,” or “Scream and ‘I Had A Dream.’ Let people stare at you and wonder what in the world your costume pairing is supposed to represent. Go off and experiment with the freedom of being as unhinged as humanly (or Princeton-ly) possible.

Oppenheimer and Einstein

Albert Einstein and J. Robert Oppenheimer

“einstein-oppenheimer” by itsbeach / CC BY 2.0

I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing many distinguished-looking students in suits strutting around campus this weekend. This is an ode to the other 2023 blockbuster that rivaled Barbie’s box office debut this summer — “Oppenheimer.” Similar to “Barbie,” the film’s instant popularity will no doubt make it an imitable Halloween theme, especially on this campus. Not only did both Oppenheimer and Einstein reside and work in Princeton; multiple scenes from the movie were filmed on site at Princeton.

Shannon Ma is a contributing writer for The Prospect. She is in the Class of 2027 and comes from Saratoga, California. She can be reached at

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