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What To Wear For Halloween

Embracing the festivities or hiding indoors? Take some inspiration from the MR PORTER team’s spooky Wish Lists

A Mr Michael Jackson “Thriller” zombie, a Day of the Dead skeleton or Dustin, the clutsy kid from Stranger Things? If the idea of an elaborate Halloween costume sends your head into an Exorcist-worthy spin, don’t panic. The MR PORTER staff have a novel theory for you – that of the sartorial middle ground. It is indeed possible to nod to the occasion without resorting to hours in make-up. So step away from that 1,500-thread-count Egyptian cotton bed sheet (if you’re going as a ghost, Casper or otherwise, you really shouldn’t bother going at all) and follow our guide to what to wear on the spookiest night of the year.

To scare off the young would-be trick or treater, you need to be bold – which is exactly what this fleece-back cotton-jersey sweatshirt from Givenchy is. How could it be anything else, featuring, as it does, a whacking great print of a disobliged monkey with bared teeth? And if that (along with a Scream mask strategically placed by the door) is not enough to have the little ones running, then invest in Saint Laurent’s Blood Lustre printed cotton T-shirt, which you can reveal at the appropriate juncture. Complete the look with Saint Laurent suede jodhpur boots and tower above your prey.

Wear it with...

  • SAINT LAURENT Blood Lustre Printed Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt

  • SAINT LAURENT Leather-Trimmed Suede Jodhpur Boots

As an adult, I think I have dressed up properly for Halloween only once (yes, I know, I’m a hateful bore), and my outfit of choice was Alex from Mr Stanley Kubrick’s cult classic A Clockwork Orange. Not super-original, I know, but not only is his look easy to assemble and visually arresting, Alex is quite the complex character. He may be a sociopathic and violent delinquent, but he also enjoys the finer things in life, such as Mr Ludwig van Beethoven and bowler hats. And, what with his flamboyant eye make-up and made-up Nadsat narration, he’s not afraid of a bit of theatre, either. Once you’ve had a few Moloko Pluses at the Korova Milk Bar, you’ll probably have lost the hat and your eye make-up will have been wiped off, but at least that leaves you in an acceptable outfit in which to continue the night, albeit with a sock (“codpiece”) stuffed down your underwear.

Wear it with...

  • J.Crew Button-Down Collar Cotton Oxford Shirt

  • Tricker's Stow Leather Brogue Boots

If Ms Heidi Klum is at one end of the putting-effort-into-a-Halloween-costume spectrum, I’m at the other. In recent years, my party outfits have been variously described as “lazy”, “last-minute” and “aren’t you just wearing your normal clothes?” That isn’t to say I don’t get into the Halloween spirit, but I’d rather be sat at home watching The Shining, It Follows or Army Of Darkness. What I need is an ensemble that incorporates my favourite horror movies but involves minimal application on my part – and much as I’d love to turn up dressed as Ash from The Evil Dead, a severed hand and a chainsaw won’t cut it. Instead, this stripy wool sweater by Saint Laurent, teamed with a trilby and a suitably distressed pair of black jeans make for a mean makeshift Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare On Elm Street. To finish it off, I’d draw some lines on my face with a black felt-tip, stick some cutlery on the fingers of a glove and possibly end up looking more like a character from The Smell Of Reeves And Mortimer.

Wear it with...

  • Lock & Co Hatters Rambler Rollable Wool-Felt Trilby

  • Alexander McQueen Skinny-Fit Distressed Washed Stretch-Denim Jeans

The only thing that scares me more than poltergeists and commitment is a costume party. The weeks of planning, syncing outfits, scouring Pinterest, fake blood, fake fun… It’s not for me. This year, you’ll find me tucked up on the sofa in this Sandro loopback sweatshirt, which is comfy and warm with a slight hint of The Walking Dead. Just don’t mention Yeezy.

Wear it with...

  • AMI Tapered Herringbone Cotton-Blend Sweatpants

  • Common Projects Achilles Retro Leather Sneakers

Last year, I got the Halloween dress code very wrong. I turned up to a very swanky Dia De Los Muertos event dressed as The Joker – in every sense. I was so embarrassed I nearly died. But by the end of the sweaty night, everyone’s face make-up was as smudged as mine, and my outfit looked a little like this Rick Owens sweatshirt. So this year, I’ll cut out the middle man. I’ll wear it with an Alexander McQueen scarf, which has an appropriately spooky skull motif, and some fingerless gloves from Margaret Howell. Howl! Geddit? Once The Joker, always the joker.

Wear it with...

  • Alexander McQueen Skull-Jacquard Silk-Twill Scarf

  • Margaret Howell MHL Ribbed Wool Fingerless Gloves

Due to lack of inspiration or maybe waning Halloween enthusiasm, I always seem to leave costume preparations to the last minute and have to rely on items I already have. A great 11th-hour costume draws inspiration from Mr Robert De Niro’s Oscar-nominated role in Mr Martin Scorsese’s iconic film Taxi Driver. Only three wardrobe staples are needed to complete the Travis Bickle look: a green field jacket, black combat boots and aviator sunglasses – mohican, optional.

Wear it with...

  • Bottega Veneta Aviator-Style Leather-Trimmed Gold-Tone Sunglasses

  • SAINT LAURENT Leather Combat Boots

Every 30 October, Halloween costume not sorted, I inevitably end up deciding to be some kind of zombie (or, to try and wring some topical mirth out of the whole occasion, a dead version of some dreadful reality TV star). Cue the brutal sacrifice of some once-cherished garment, which has to be scissored to shreds to look that little bit more authentically zombie-like. Very wasteful. But good news: this sweater from Raf Simons (part of a collection of heavily knackered varsity garments, inspired by Mr David Lynch’s chilling Twin Peaks), comes pre-distressed, in a way that will look as good after Halloween (in your regular ensembles) as on the night. Wear it with some ripped jeans, a bit of face paint and some of that white hair spray and there you have it: stylish yet terrifying.

Wear it with...

  • Dolce & Gabbana Slim-Fit Distressed Denim Jeans

  • Golden Goose Superstar Distressed Leather and Denim Sneakers