1980s Halloween Costume Ideas: Madonna, Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Miami Vice, & Other Looks

For partygoers and trick or treaters who love dressing up like it’s 1984, Halloween is the perfect time for that 1980s costume. Here are some ideas on what to wear.

1980s Pop Star Costumes

Pop music in the 1980s was colorful and fun, and so were some of the most famous pop stars from the era. There’s no shortage of music personalities to choose from with distinctive looks that make great costumes.

One of the most obvious choices, of course, is Michael Jackson. The King of Pop had lots of looks to draw from—the red pleather “Beat It” look, the black leather “Bad” look, and so forth. Here’s more about putting together a creative Michael Jackson Halloween costume.

Another sexy and fun 1980s classic costume is Madonna. There’s plenty of possibilities here: poofy blonde wigs tied back with a “Borderline” bow, oversized crucifix necklaces, “Material Girl” pearl necklaces, fingerless black lace gloves, rubber bracelets, mesh tutus, or even “Like a Virgin” bustier wedding gowns.

The Cyndi Lauper Halloween costume also makes a memorable impression. Of course, the mandatory accessory is the asymmetrical flaming orange-red wig, optionally interjected with some bright yellow highlights. To complete the look, try a short dress with a big fluffy tulle skirt, fingerless gloves, and lots of colorful accessories.

Here’s some other 1980s pop star costume ideas to consider:

  • Boy George
  • Prince
  • George Michael
  • Devo
  • MC Hammer
  • Adam Ant
  • Duran Duran
  • Blondie
  • The Eurythmics

1980s Halloween Costume Looks for Women

Women’s fashions in the 1980s were distinctive and and a little wacky, and there’s a whole decade of looks to choose from for a 1980s Halloween costume. For starters, the essential “accessory” is big hair. With a curling iron, a pick, and unlimited amounts of hair spray and mousse, any girl can look like it’s the 80s. Complete the look with a big colorful clip.

One easy 1980s look to duplicate is the “stirrup” look that was hot in the middle of the decade. Stirrup pants are stretch pants with pointless flaps that go over the feet (and are easy to make with black leggings and some flaps made out of black elastic). The pants were paired with a huge blouse cinched at the waist with a massive belt. A tank top, Converse sneakers, and floppy socks complete the look.

Another recognizable 1980s look is the Flashdance look. Inspired by the movie, this look involves taking a sweatshirt a ripping one side tightly over the shoulder. A classic 1980s belt completes the ensemble.

Here are some other items of clothing to consider incorporating into a 1980s Halloween costume:

  • Leg warmers
  • Stonewashed jeans
  • Jordache jeans
  • Armfuls of plastic bracelets
  • Colorful plastic hoop earrings
  • 1980s style taffeta prom gowns
  • Parachute pants
  • Heavy purple, pink, or blue eyeshadow

1980s Halloween Costume Looks for Men

Although men’s fashions in the 1980s weren’t quite as distinctive as women’s, there were plenty of memorable looks to choose from for a Halloween costume. The hairstyle of choice was the meticulously blow dried “pretty boy” look, ala Richard Marx and George Michael. Another hairstyle that was popular early int h decade was the “tail,” or a long, thin piece of hair in back of a short haircut.

Of course, one unforgettable hairstyle and clothing style was the heavy metal look, which would make for a great costume. The hairstyle is big, long, hairsprayed, and possibly spiked. Headbands or bandanas are optional. Clothing choices include skintight leather pants, animal prints, lots of girly makeup, and spiked bracelets.

Perhaps the opposite of this is the Miami Vice look. Inspired by the popular TV show, this look involved white and pastel colored suits, coordinated T-shirts, and loafers with no socks.

Some other clothing choices to consider:

  • Zubas
  • Parachute pants
  • “Frankie Says Relax” T-shirts
  • Michael Jackson-style leather jackets
  • Hightop sneakers
  • Muscle shirts
  • Polo shirts

Revisit the 1980s for Halloween!

The 1980s was a decade of unforgettable musical personalities and truly unique fashions. When it comes to 80s Halloween costumes, there’s something to choose from for everyone.

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