Just when you thought Halloween costumes couldn’t get any skimpier (Sexy Elmo, really?), Miley Cyrus had to do that thing in a leotard with a foam finger, making a “Twerking Teddy” getup one of the biggest hits of the holiday.
We have two words: Just. Don’t.
And before you reach for your plaid mini skirt and put your hair in pigtails, haven’t all of those Private School Girl Sucking on a Big Lollipop and other equally slutty and demeaning costumes had their day? Why would you want to go there, when there are so many empowering, badass women to emulate? We chose six of our favorite characters from TV and the movies and offer up simple styles (some pieces may already be in your own closets) to pull their looks together for a kickass Halloween costume. Leave Miley to the minors. You’re a woman. Show us how you roar.
1Daenerys Targaryen, “Game of Thrones”
You know what’s badass? Hatching dragon eggs and doing whatever it takes to save your people like Daenerys (Emilia Clarke). Get her look by wearing an ethereal blue or gray long dress, paired with an arm cuff and a long, blonde wig. Carry a stuffed dragon or shop for a dragon pendant, and you can bet we’d fight for you.
2Olivia Pope, “Scandal”
The best-dressed woman on TV, Kerry Washington’s Washington, D.C., crisis manager is tough, effective and oh-so-chic. Who wouldn’t want to channel her for a day? Get the Pope look by pulling out your most fabulous winter white suit, killer pumps and designer bag. Or try a tailored gray business suit, trench coat and tasteful jewelry. Now, when someone asks about your costume, you can simply say, “It’s handled.”
3Doralee Rhodes, “Nine to Five”
Sure, when buxom and beautiful Doralee (Dolly Parton) sashayed into Frank Hart’s office, her fellow assistants assumed she was a “dime-store floozy.” But it didn’t take long for her co-workers to see she wasn’t about to take any nonsense dealt out by her “lying, hypocritical, sexist, egotistical bigot” of a boss. Channel this brazen character by sporting a circa-1980 tight sweater or silk blouse (over your overstuffed bra, of course), slim skirt and Dolly wig with a scarf around your neck and a steno pad in hand. Then memorize this perfect dialog: “If you ever say another word about me or make another indecent proposal, I’m gonna get that gun of mine, and I’m gonna change you from a rooster to a hen with one shot! And don’t think I can’t do it.” Oh, Doralee, we know you can.
4Andie Walsh, “Pretty in Pink”
We seriously could not care less that Andie (Molly Ringwald) came from the wrong side of the tracks. She may not have had a lot of money, but she had killer style, the coolest record store job, a loving dad and Duckie—her own personal mascot. She refused to take any crap from the cool girl bullies, had funny and quirky pals and she knew how to get past the club bouncer played by a young Andrew Dice Clay. Not only all that, but she also landed Blaine, the most popular boy in school, wearing the movies’ most original prom dress ever. For your Andie costume, put together a formal design of your own using frocks from the thrift store. Or make it easier on yourself and just find a cool-looking pink prom dress. You’ll need a short Ringwald-esque red wig, and if you can find your own Duckie to follow you around playing “If You Leave”—well, you just rule.
5Michonne Woods, “The Walking Dead”
Slaying zombies, Michonne (Danai Gurira) isn’t just fierce—she’s a survivor. Always clad in a brown vest and leggings with long braided hair, wielding a Katana sword, you can put together a costume DIY-style, or head to Spirit Halloween for a specially licensed “Walking Dead” section. If you decide to make it a couple’s costume, make your boyfriend be the zombie—find makeup tips here. Just remind him frequently that you’re the one in charge— not that he should have any doubt.
6Amelia Earhart, “Amelia”
Yes, she was a real person, but Hilary Swank did play her in the 2009 film “Earhart,” which looked at the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, who later vanished mysteriously in 1937 over the Pacific. Earhart wasn’t just a hero—she was a bit of a style icon as well. The pilot even designed her own fashion line in the 30s, and her aviator style has served as inspiration for designers for decades. Emulate her this Halloween with a bomber jacket (totally trendy for fall), jodhpurs, tall black boots, a scarf, aviator hat and goggles. Flight never looked so fancy.