Halloween costume ideas inspired by Tim Burton films

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Kayleigh Dray
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Staying home or heading to a (Covid-friendly, six people maximum) party this Halloween? Recreate the most iconic fashion moments of Tim Burton’s film characters for the ultimate costume. 

Updated on 8 October 2020: Thanks to the likes of Alice in Wonderland, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice, and countless others, Tim Burton has brought us an array of weirdly wonderful characters over the years. 

And they have all taught us a number of important lessons, but none more so than this; it’s cool to be a misfit, so long as you always stay true to yourself.

It’s unsurprising, then, that Burton’s films are just as well known for their beautiful, often award-winning, costumes as they are their dark undertones. 

Being such huge fans of these twisted tales, and the incredible wardrobe ideas that help them come to life on-screen, we can’t wait to dress up this 31 October and use our favourite Tim Burton characters as Halloween costume inspiration. 

From glamorous goths to punk-rock princesses, then, here’s our pick of the best fashion moments from Burton’s most iconic film characters. 

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Mrs Lovett from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

As reported in October 2018: Helena Bonham Carter showcased an array of period ensembles in this bloody flick, but our favourite was, without a doubt, her take on Victorian beachwear.

Cinched in at the waist with a statement belt, the look blended horizontal and vertical stripes, as well as ribboned boots, vintage sunnies, and a navy and red colour palette. On the whole, it felt very much like a gothic 1950s pin-up – and summed up Carter’s own quirky style perfectly.

Catwoman from Batman Returns

Michelle Pfeiffer famously donned a vinyl catsuit, clawed gloves, full-head mask, killer heels, and a slick of red lipstick for her stint as Catwoman in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns.

The heavy white stitching (Burton’s own design) was inspired by the calico cat, but they wound up giving the whole thing a seriously edgy feel – perfect for the grunge trend that surrounded this 90s superhero flick. 

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White Queen from Alice in Wonderland

Anne Hathaway’s costume in Burton’s Wonderland was all ruffles, fragile lace, and glistening frosted white. And yet, while being the sort of gown every fairy princess dreams of, it also felt dark and bewitching at the same time. As Hathaway herself put it, her character was a “punk-rock, vegan pacifist”.

Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas

Yes, fine; she’s an animated character. But Sally’s patchwork look is one of our absolute favourite Burton fashion moments; a raggedy tunic made from scraps of subdued mustards and maroons, it ripped apart the traditional Disney princess look and turned it completely on its head. 

Plus, it was the reason we fell in love with mix ‘n’ match prints.

Red Queen from Alice In Wonderland

Carter’s costume in Burton’s Wonderland felt like a cartoonish version of an Elizabethan gown, complete with nipped-in waist and high ruffled collar. The brightly coloured prints, which invoked a Vivienne Westwood vibe, were, of course, inspired by a traditional pack of playing cards.

Emily from Corpse Bride

In a world of boring monochrome, Carter’s undead bride was a welcome burst of colour. Think soft muted blues, a tattered gown, and a wreath of dead roses upon her head. Because, yes, she was a corpse (clue’s in the title, guys).

Despite all of the graveyard dirt and maggots, this was easily one of the most stunning wedding dresses we’ve ever seen on the silver screen. 

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Betelgeuse from Beetlejuice

Michael Keaton’s undead character may have been a disgusting chauvinistic pig, but this guy proved that fashion never dies. 

Vertical stripes, everyone; you can never go wrong.

Alice from Alice In Wonderland

Mia Wasikowska starts off wearing a simple and childish blue gown in the Alice in Wonderland movie, but, as she changes size throughout the film, she finds her ensemble alters accordingly.

When she shrinks out of her dress, she finds herself wearing her silken underthings as a slip. When she eats the cake, she grows until her dress is nothing but a tiny tutu – and, when she shrinks to just three inches tall, the Hatter fashions her a little dress out of scraps of her old gown.

Our favourite, however, is when she finds herself with nothing to wear at the Red Queen’s court – and they make her an outfit out of the curtains. Which sounds like it would be awful, but just look at that frock; it’s voluminous, and wildly patterned, and such an eclectic mix of patterns and materials. We adore it.

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Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas

Jack Skellington may have been tired of his traditional Halloween outfit, but that sharp pin-striped suit definitely caught our attention. Particularly the fact that he accessorised it with leather boots and a statement bow-tie.

What a style icon, eh?

Sandra Bloom from Big Fish

The pinnacle scene of Big Fish is the moment when time stops, allowing Ewan McGregor’s character the chance to lock eyes with Alison Lohman through a sea of floating popcorn kernels and frozen circus goers. 

So it makes sense that her periwinkle blue gown became fixed in the minds of viewers all over the world; we love the oversized bow and textured skirt.

Victoria Winters from Dark Shadows

Bella Heathcote got to play the same character in two wildly different eras, which meant that she had a plethora of stunning costumes to choose from. Perhaps her best, however, was her sweetly prim governess attire; the lashings of red really give it that extra something, don’t they?

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Vicki Vale from Batman

Kim Basinger had a number of stellar outfits in Burton’s Batman, but our favourite was her chic ‘undercover journalist’ ensemble. 

Sure, Bruce Wayne probably would have spotted her even if she was hiding under that black beret, but she looked incredible regardless. 

Alice from Alice Through The Looking Glass

Unlike the first movie, Alice is an independent woman in Through The Looking Glass – which meant that costume designer Colleen Atwood had more freedom with Mia Wasikowksa’s wardrobe.

Cue the creation of a this fabulously fashionable ensemble, loosely inspired by the imperial costumes of China.

From that decorative purple tunic, to the structured jewel-coloured neckpiece, Alice’s new look felt evocative, and bold – yet oddly practical, too. Which obviously came in handy when she crashed into the Cronosphere…

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Angelique Bouchard from Dark Shadows

Eva Green’s sumptuous and shimmering red sequinned gown was the stuff of dreams, wasn’t it? Unsurprisingly, it was handmade by designer Colleen Atwood.

The Joker from Batman

Everyone has a favourite version of the Joker, but Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of Batman’s arch-nemesis is by far one of the most famous. And a lot of that was down to his bold and bright costume, which seemed to have leapt straight from the pages of the original comic books.

Those eye-popping tones of purple and orange, not to mention his snazzy patterned trousers, juxtaposed perfectly with the Joker’s dark and twisted personality, making him - if possible - even more frightening a foe.

Oompa Loompa from Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

Forget the lurid orange and green Oompa Loompas of old; Burton’s reimagining of Wonka’s helpful workers saw them popped in sharp white suits (with black-and-white striped socks, of course). 

The result? We wound up envying their wardrobe, yes. 

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Miss Spider from James & The Giant Peach

And yes, we’re jealous of a spider, too. Are you happy now?

Seriously, though, look at her boots. Check out that beret. And don’t forget about her monochrome stripes and stylish silk scarf… this arachnid deserves her own catwalk collection.

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Images: Rex/ Walt Disney/Warner Bros/Disney