It’s safe to say that Halloween will look a little different this year. Between social distancing and cutting down on touching objects that strangers have handled, trick-or-treating and Halloween parties may be limited or off the table completely depending on where you live, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t dress up and have some fun.
A movie that has produced some incredible store-bought and DIY costumes over the years is the 1988 Tim Burton dark-comedy, Beetlejuice. The movie’s popularity hasn’t wained in over thirty years, as toys, clothing, a cartoon, and other memorabilia still sell like crazy all these years later, and costumes from the movie remain a staple of All Hallow’s Eve.
A Cult Classic
For those who haven’t seen the film (I suggest going to watch it right after reading this), Beetlejuice is about a nice, young married couple, the Maitlands, who sadly passed away during an automobile accident. After returning home, they are frightened to find out that they are now ghosts, and that a yuppy couple from the city, the Deetz’s, and their black-clad, gloomy teenage daughter, Lydia, have taken over their home.
This leads to the Maitlands being harassed by a rotten-looking and crass individual named Beetlejuice who just happens to be dead. He wants to escape the afterlife and renter the world of the living. Beetlejuice tells the couple that he can get the new inhabitants out of their home if they say his name three times.
After a bad first impression from Beetlejuice, the couple decides they don’t want his help, and they try to get the family out themselves, but the Deetz’s daughter, Lydia, wants to be a ghost-like the Maitlands and calls upon Beetlejuice, who comes into the real world and causes nothing but trouble.
Beetlejuice decides that he wants to stay in the real world and tries to marry Lydia. I won’t ruin the ending, but hilarity ensues. A few of these costume ideas can be purchased in a costume shop, but, making your own costume is not only cheaper, but it can be more effective.
Also, hunting for the things you need to make up your costume is fun and can add to the whole Halloween experience. Here are a variety of costume ideas of characters from the movies that can be designed for adults, kids, and even your pets. So, as Beetlejuice likes to say “It’s showtime!”
Beetlejuice and other character costume ideas
The foul-mouthed antagonist from which the film gets its name is the self-proclaimed “Ghost with the Most”, and there are a few different options for Beetlejuice costumes. The most popular version of Beetlejuice is him in his black and white suit. You can buy this Beetlejuice costume from most costume shops, but it’s always more fun to create your own.
Check out thrift stores for an all-white or all-black suit. Then using fabric paint, create stripes on the suit. Add a dirty white shirt, tie, black shoes, and some green and white make-up for your face, and you’re ready to go scared.
Beetlejuice In His Wedding Suit
The second most common Beetljucie costume is him in his cheesy 70’s, burgundy wedding suit. Again, this can be found in costume shops, but if you enjoy a good thrift store hunt, this costume can be found. You will need the suit, a ruffled dress shirt, a bowtie to match the suit, white dress shoes and white and green makeup.
As someone who believes in the strange and unusual, Lydia Deetz has a few unique looks from the movie. The first one is her everyday look, which definitely gives off gothic witch vibes. This costume can be put together quite easily, with all black clothing, a lace cape, and black jewelry. Don’t forget to wear a wig or tease your hair to get it to stand up.
If you’re looking for something a little more over the top, you may want to consider going for Lydia’s wedding dress costume.
Like Beetlejuice outfits, this dress can be found in costume stores, as it may be harder to find in a second-hand shop. But if you want to try your hand at a DIY look, get yourself an old, white wedding dress and some red fabric dye. Add some long red gloves and a red veil to complete the look.
Lydia From The Beetlejuice Cartoon
As mentioned earlier, Beetlejuice was so popular that it was turned into a cartoon that ran from 1989 to 1991. Although it was much different than the movie (less scary, no gore, and no cursing), the show was a big hit with kids who didn’t even see the movie.
The cartoon featured many of the same characters, but Lydia and Beetlejuice were the main focus. For Lydia’s look from the cartoon series, you will need a large red piece of material. You will need to paint to draw lines on it to make it look like a spiderweb. Add some fingerless black gloves, white makeup, and a ponytail on top of your head and you’re all set.
Adam and Barbara Maitland
If you’re looking for a great couples costume, the Maitlands are it, and you have a few options as well.
The first costume idea is the clothes that the Maitlands died in. They wear these outfits for most of the movie. For Adam, you really only need a black and white plaid shirt, brown pants and glasses.
For Barbara, you will need to find a long sleeve floral print dress. It’s a simple but effective look. Make or buy your own Handbook for the Recently Deceased to really show your attention to detail.
If you are good at making masks or don’t mind spending some money, you can buy replica maks of the Maitlands when they show off how scary they can be. The Maitlands can also be a part of an awesome family or group costume, as others can go as Beetluice, Lydia, etc.
Charles and Delia Deetz
Another great couple costume is Lydia’s parents, Charles and Delia Deetz. The yuppies that take over the Maitland’s house dress very differently from one another.
A popular choice for this costume is from the possessed dinner scene. For Charles, go find an old brown plaid suit jacket, some brown pants, and a brown tie.
Delia is a little more outlandish looking. For Delia’s costume, get a black dress with big shoulder pads. Add leather or pleather arm-length gloves and big gaudy earrings. Also, use your own hair or draw on the silly pieces of hair that Delia has glued to the sides of her face.
Juno The Caseworker
After the Maitlands die and travel to the netherworld, they meet their caseworker, Juno. She is an easily-irritated and typically angry person, whose chainsmoking produces one of the creepier parts so the movie.
To transform into Juno, you will need a grey skirt suit with a white blouse. You will also need a short-haired wig, rings, pearl earrings, and a necklace or something that looks similar. Get yourself a fake cigarette to wave around as Juno does, and don’t forget the scar on the neck.
One of the most well-known side characters in Beetlejuice is Ms. Argentina. She’s in charge of the waiting room in the afterlife where the Maitlands go to meet up with Juno for help. Like Juno, she seems to have a short fuse but does make a few jokes, even one about her little “accident” that brought her to the netherworld.
Again, this is a costume that can be bought in-store, but with a little effort, you can produce your own version. Start off by getting yourself some green body paint.
You will mainly need to do your face. Arms and whatever part of your torso is visible. Then find a red or burgundy thin-strapped dress before adding the accent pieces. Make or buy fairy wings. If you can’t find pink ones, just dye the ones you can find. Get a B52 style pink wig and make yourself a Miss Argentina sash and you’re done.
Shrunken Head Man
Another popular side character is the Shrunken Head Man. He’s seen in both waiting room scenes and is very unsettling. For this look, you will only need a few things that can be found at most thrift stores, but the head component can be purchased in-store, online, or made if you’re feeling creative.
You will need to buy matching beige-colored pants and a long-sleeve button-up shirt. You will also need to grab a black turtleneck. Pull the turtleneck up so it covers your face.
Cut two small eyeholes so you can walk around safely. Then attach the shrunken head to the top of your head. This can be done by using some safety clips if you want to get really into it, sow the head to the turtleneck. This will make the costume harder to take off, but you will earn points for your dedication to the character.
If you’re someone who prides themselves on being creative and you’re looking to make your own costume that is really out of this world, then a sandworm is the way to go.
Sandworms are massive creatures that inhabit what Beetlejuice refers to as Saturn, but it’s really more of an afterlife realm that Barbara and Adam stumble across when they try and leave their house after dying.
Creating a sandworm costume is no easy feat, but if you have the materials and the ambition it can be done. You will need to start with creating a large foam head or mouth to wear on your head, and a black and white outfit to wear with it.
Some people create little sandworms on their arms or that appear to be biting them and dress as Beetlejuice. If that doesn’t scream creativity I don’t know what does. Sandworms also make an adorable costume for your pet, if you can get them to wear it long enough to snap a pic.
Question: Is making your own costume cheaper than buying one?
Answer: It can be. Most character costumes start at over $60. If you know where to look and don’t mind putting a little work in, you can end up paying less for a DIY costume.
Question: Doesn’t putting your own costume together take a long time?
Answer: Depending on how in-depth you go into your costume, the process can vary in how long it takes. But if you put on a Halloween movie (maybe Beetlejuice for a little inspiration) while you’re working on your costume, it can be a fun way to spend an evening.
Question: How do I make sure people know who I am dressed as?
Answer: The more obscure the costume, the higher the need for distinct pieces of the outfit to ensure people know who you are. The tiny details will help more people know who you are. Also, wearing a costume that no one else is makes for a great conversation starter at a party.
Question: Where are the best places to find pieces for my costume?
Answer: If you’re planning on buying new and dressing up as one of the main characters from Beetlejuice, check costume or Halloween shops. If you’re going the DIY route, make the rounds at your local thrift stores, Goodwill, Salvation Army, and anywhere else that sells second-hand clothing.
Question: Do I need to watch Beetlejuice before putting my costume together?
You can Google any character from Beetlejuice to see what they look like instead of watching the movie, but the movie is a unique experience that should be viewed at least once to gather the nuances of the character you’re dressing up as.
Additional costume ideas
If you’re someone who enjoys dressing as someone obscure and being asked who you are repeatedly, there are a few characters from the afterlife waiting room scene that would be a great fit.
Chicken Bone Man
This poor guy choked on a bone and it’s still lodged in his throat. For this look, you need some fake skin to put on your neck with a bone shape underfit and a 70’s style brown suit. Don’t forget the bib with a chicken on it.
Open-Heart Surgery Guy
This poor guy didn’t make it out of surgery. He’s wearing a hospital gown, hair net, and has a big open wound on his chest. This would be a great idea for anyone who enjoys a gory costume.
Sleeping Bag Rattlenslae Lady
This poor woman was enjoying a nice evening under the stars when a rattlesnake ruined her night and life. You only need an old sleeping bag with the feet cut out so you can walk, and a fake rattlesnake tail sticking out next to your head.
Scuba Diver and Shark
At least he died doing something he loved. This guy just wanted to see some underwater sights, but a shark had other ideas. You will need swim trunks, a scuba mask, a snorkel, and a fake shark to attach to your leg. If you can pull it off it will be worth it just for the looks you will get.
Whatever you end up doing for Halloween, try and make the most of the spookiest night of the year. We need all the good times we can get right now, so Happy Halloween!