Yes, Halloween will be different this year, but no, Halloween is not cancelled! (Blasphemy!) If like us, you’re feeling more proud than ever to be a New Yorker, why don’t you and the kids strut your stuff in NYC-inspired Halloween costumes? If you need some inspiration, we’ve got ideas. (RBG costume for the win.) Read on to consider our favorite New York City-themed costumes for 2020, which have just the right amount of NYC attitude. (Also, wear a mask!)

photo: Katy Walter

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

It seems unlikely the streets and social feeds won't be flooded with RBGs of all sizes this Halloween. (She's from Flatbush, Brooklyn.) It's easy enough to pull one together yourself, but you can also get the basics here. Of course, another option is to go the Notorious RBG route and add a slightly askew gold crown. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Another Brooklyn native (Dyker Heights/Bensonhurst), Dr. Fauci has a couple looks you can reproduce. Go for the official portrait look with lab coat (like this), name tag, NIAD patch and glasses, or suit up like the doctor and don a Washington Nationals face mask to drive it home. 


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Governor Andrew Cuomo

Sorry for yet another political personality, but Governor Cuomo has loomed large in New Yorkers' 2020, leading the state, but especially the city, through the worst days of the pandemic. (The Cuomos are from Queens.) It's all about details and humor with this one. Note the bracelet and the lapel pin, obviously wear a simple blue mask, perhaps carry a sign that says, "New York Tough", "Today is Saturday" or "So What?"


photo: photo: Ashley Bailey

King Kong Tableau

Have a few trick or treaters you need to outfit? A trio of the Empire State Building, King Kong and damsel in distress (or not) is a formidable ensemble. This particular iteration is the work of Ashley Bailey, the inspired Atlanta area photographer and mom behind the site "Stellaween." The month-long celebration of October's biggest day started with Bailey dressing and documenting daughter Stella in a new homemade costume each day, with a pair of twins joining in a few years ago. (You can see Bailey's shots of other people's kids at her site, September Morn Photography.)

Ghostbuster and Slimer

Genius sibling idea! We can't think of a way to pull off Slimer without actually buying the costume, but a brown jumpsuit, a backpack, some hose and a DIY Ghostbusters patch would be pretty easy and totally read. Go for a family costume and incorporate another 'buster or two, the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man, etc. 

Fearless Girl

Even though it involves some potentially messy bronze face makeup and maybe spraypainting some clothes, we think this might be our favorite for this year, because, well, who knows?! We bet you know a fearless girl or two who could rock this costume hard. Bonus points if you do a family theme with other members taking on the roles of the Charging Bull, a tourist, stock trader, etc. 

photo: photo: Ashley Bailey

New York's Finest

We don't mean any disrespect. Of course cops don't sit around eating donuts. But how cute is this costume? NYPD for the win!

photo: photo: Ashley Bailey


Another costume idea that's open to a lot of interpretation, the Hispter is a little more subtle. This is Bailey's take on it, and we think the mustache solution she came up with is genius.

Subway Car

A costume that's always a big hit at the annual dog costume parades, an MTA train car is a quintessential NYC choice for Halloween. Nice touches include personalizing with your neighborhood's main line,  or with your child's initial. (Yes, there can be an "H" or "T" train.) Or, go really high concept and do the L train shutdown, featuring companion costumes of ferries and distressed hipsters. 


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If your kid is more of a bus person, here's an adorable way to make one from a family in Queens. 

photo: East Midtown Partnership

Statue of Liberty

Another costume that's simple, easy, instantly recognizable, and can be worn with absolutely anything underneath. An aqua-colored sheet, foam crown and torch and you're done.

One of the many ferries

Another transit-inspired costume, because we New Yorkers like to get around. Ferries aren't new to NYC, of course, but it's been yet another big ferry year for the city. Pick your line, and craft a vessel to show your kids seaworthy spirit!

photo: Ashley Bailey

Sesame Street

Why pick one character from the Street when you can be all of them and the Street itself?


Times Square Elmo

Another, more subversive take on the Sesame Street crowd, the Times Square Elmo is easy to achieve. You just need an Elmo costume that looks a little...wrong. Thrift stores are filled with Elmo costumes that have seen better days. Give your child a five dollar bill and a bad attitude and you're all set.

NYC Taxi

It's iconic, and has the added bonus of being one of those costumes you can wear anything with. (Alternate versions: go old school and do a checker cab, or show some outer borough pride and go green!)



OK, obviously this is not a costume applicable to NYC alone, but we're going to claim it because A.) New Yorkers have to be some of the most phone-dependent beings and B.) this costume is so cute, easy, and a dream to get around.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

We're  betting at least one kid in the Bronx or Queens steps out in this. (If you see them, please send photos.) A hard sell? Maybe. But maybe not—AOC is pretty inspiring. A nice companion to Fearless Girl, this is super easy to pull together (especially if your kid has long dark hair). Still, some bright red lipstick, a House of Representatives Seal or Green New Deal material, and you're good to go. 

Naked Cowboy

Easy. Hilarious. Cute. What more could you ask for? Obviously an indoor costume only, this one is perfect for your diaper-wearing tot. Just scrawl "Naked Cowboy" on his (or her) butt, throw on some kiddie cowboy boots, a hat and ukulele and call it a night.

— Mimi O’Connor


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