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10 movies you need to watch to understand this year's most popular Halloween costumes

(Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photo: Everett Collection)
(Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photo: Everett Collection)

It’s Halloween! You know what that means: Spooky, scary skeletons send shivers down your spine … and niche, subtle and sometimes downright confusing costumes abound! When it comes to Halloween costumes in 2023, you may want to do a little bit of research before getting into the seasonal spirit, just to avoid having to ask the third guy you’ve seen in the basic striped shirt and shorts what he’s dressed as (he’s Allan!). Fear not, we’ve got you covered. In case you haven’t made it to the movie theater much this year, here are the top 10 movies to watch if you need a crash course on the most popular Halloween costumes for 2023.

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour (2023)

OK, you probably don’t need to see The Eras Tour movie to get the army of Taylor Swift costumes you’re about to see this Halloween, but knowing Swifties, there are bound to be some super niche Eras Tour costumes created this Halloween since fans have been reliving the tour in theaters. Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour is currently playing in theaters.

Get tickets

Barbie (2023)

Get ready to say “Hi, Barbie!” a whole bunch this Halloween. Barbie will undeniably be one of the most popular Halloween costumes this year (along with Ken costumes, “Weird Barbie costumes" and maybe even an Allan). Want to rewatch the Greta Gerwig blockbuster about everyone’s favorite doll? Right now, you can rent or buy Barbie on digital.

Rent or buy 'Barbie'

Oppenheimer (2023)

This summer, fans flocked to the theaters adorned in pink AND trench coats to celebrate the release day of the Barbie movie and Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan’s three-hour drama about American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and how he built the atomic bomb. Naturally, Oppenheimer, Einstein and Barbenheimer costumes are all predicted to be big this Halloween.

Unfortunately, Oppenheimer isn’t out yet on digital or streaming (you'll need to wait to Nov. 21), but there are still some theaters showing Nolan’s film.

Get tickets

M3GAN (2023)

Get ready for bad blond wigs and questionable choreographed dance moves, because M3GAN will be taking over on Halloween. The near instant cult classic horror movie about an artificially intelligent kids' toy starring Allison Williams and Violet McGraw was already generating Halloween costume buzz way back in January when it premiered. You can stream M3GAN on Peacock.

Stream on Peacock

The Little Mermaid (2023)

Always a classic for kids and grown-ups alike, mermaid costumes are extra popular this year thanks to the new Little Mermaid movie, starring Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Melissa McCarthy and Javier Bardem. You’re sure to see lots of Ariels and Ursulas, and perhaps a Prince Eric costume, too. You can stream The Little Mermaid on Disney+.

Stream on Disney+

Renfield (2023)

You can’t go wrong with a classic vampire costume, a fact proven by the bloodsuckers' consistent popularity every Halloween. This year, some people may put a contemporary twist on their vampire look and model it after Nicholas Hoult’s Renfield or Nicolas Cage’s Dracula. Right now you can stream Renfield on Prime Video.

Stream on Prime Video

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)

According to Google Trends, Spider-Man is currently the third most popular Halloween costume search, so get ready to feel like you’re in the Spider-Verse this spooky season, with all the Spider-Man variants running around. If you want to understand which Spider you’re seeing trick-or-treating on your doorstep, you should revisit Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, because you’re likely to see plenty of Miles Morales Spider-Man costumes, and probably a few Spider-Gwens as well. You can rent or buy Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse on Amazon.

Rent or buy 'Spider-Man'

The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023)

According to Google Trends, Princess Peach was the 13th-most-searched costume this year (thus far), so it’s a safe bet that we can expect to see plenty of Mario and Luigis, and probably some Bowsers, too. You can stream the Super Mario movie on Peacock.

Stream on Peacock

Scream VI (2023)

Do you like scary movies? Then you’ll love seeing so many Ghostfaces out and about. Want to know who is under the Ghostface mask these days? You can stream the newest Scream movie on Paramount+.

Stream on Peacock

Cocaine Bear (2023)

If you see a grown man rocking an adult bear onesie on Halloween, he isn’t just opting to stay cozy in the cool autumn air. The Cocaine Bear frenzy will likely drive bear costume purchases this year, and you’ll probably see a few Cocaine Bear and Sari (played by Keri Russell) couples costumes, too. You can stream Cocaine Bear on Peacock.

Stream on Peacock

Editor's note: This story was originally published on Oct. 27, 2023 and has been updated.