photos of viral Halloween costumes
All Photographs by Parker Day

Dress Like Our Favorite Viral Stories for Halloween This Year

Some fun ideas to offset our already pretty scary world.

This year has been pretty scary, all things considered: A man accused of sexual assault was appointed to the Supreme Court, a very depressing report on the future of our planet was released, Elon Musk ruined weed for everyone, and celebrities we once admired let us down. Maybe you’ve made it to Halloween a little broken and a little exhausted at the seemingly unending deluge of bad news. Maybe nothing seems scarier than the outside world right now.


But even among the trash fire, there are stories that remind us that not everything is terrible. We saw even the most high-maintenance of cats find a home. We watched in awe as a Grammy Award–winning rapper performed alongside her karaoke devotee. We fought and ultimately bonded over incredible memes. Hell, someone even erected a massive shirtless Jeff Goldblum statue, guys.

So rather than use Halloween as a way to celebrate the scary in a world where everything is already pretty bleak, we’ve rounded up a few costume ideas that pay homage to everything that’s still good and fun this year, starting with:


Doja Cat in “Mooo!”

This year, rapper Doja Cat bestowed a beautiful gift to the internet that changed everything and anything we thought we knew about Old Macdonald, methane, and autophagia. Her viral hit, “Mooo!” or “the sexy cow song” as it’s come to be known, washed over our ears like a cold glass of two percent. Rather than rap about money, fame, or feuds, Doja Cat brought us a song about actual beef that celebrates getting (or eating) exactly what you fucking want, whenever you want. Like Doja Cat—a human rapper who continually reminds the song’s listeners she is not a cat, but in fact, a cow—the song reminds us that we can be whoever we want to be, and isn’t that really what Halloween is all about? — Lauren Messman, associate editor


Moth Memes

In the midst of scary real-world happenings, the internet turned to the purest refuge possible: memes. Specifically, memes about moths and the lamps they adore so dearly. This meme happened the way all memes do, and the way John Green wrote about love or whatever: slowly, then all at once. For a brief period of time on Twitter, you couldn’t look at your feed without seeing that one realistic, almost-disturbing photo of a moth lusting after a lamp. It may be a deep cut as far as memes go, but what better way to show the world how much you love your partner than to dress as perhaps a sexy moth and its sexy lamp? — Anna Iovine, social editor


Instagram Influencer Bit by a Shark

This costume and the story behind it really embody everything it means to “do it for the ‘gram.” When Vogue and Vegetables blogger Katarina Zarutskie ventured out into shark-infested waters while vacationing in the Bahamas, she was ostensibly hoping to get the perfect shot. Instead, a nurse shark did what sharks are wont to do and chomped down on her arm. Despite leaving her vacation with some stitches and a nasty scar, Zarutskie did ultimately get the shot, as well as viral fame. And we got a Halloween costume that perfectly sums up our need for constant love and affirmation in 2018. Everybody wins. — LM


Grusk (Elon Musk and Grimes Couple Costume)

This is arguably a better way to show the world how much you’re into your partner: by dressing as a very public, very odd couple. Grimes and Elon Musk sent the world into shock when they made their couple debut, so much so that we had to cope with it in six stages, and honestly, we’re still not over it. We thought they may have broken up—but Musk refollowed Grimes on Twitter after unfollowing for a time, which is the 2018 way of confirming how in love you are, right? They also were seen at a pumpkin patch together, making this costume even more fitting. This would be a relatively simple couples costume, so it’s perfect for those last-minute people who don’t have their Halloween costume bought by August. Blunt optional. — AI


Zombie Raccoons

Maybe you’re looking for a spooky upgrade to the classic DIY black cat costume. In that case, might I suggest: zombie raccoon. Sure, the garden variety raccoon is pretty scary, but this year, hordes of raccoons with distemper, a disease that attacks the nervous system and causes the animals to rise on their hind feet, bare their teeth, and stagger around like zombies, were reported in both Ohio and New York City. A near perfect Halloween costume, one that’s not only creepy, but pays homage to an animal who basically runs Toronto, climbed an entire 23-story office building, and eats all the bread it damn well pleases. — LM


Pigeon Meme Guy

What better way to have a last-minute, cheap costume than to dress as the star of the “Is This A Pigeon” meme? Earlier this year, the internet had a field day providing sharp—and sometimes depressing—commentary on our world by memeing an anime android who mistakes a butterfly for a pigeon. Just get some glasses and a lab coat and you’re good to go; you could carry around a fake butterfly if you’re really dedicated. Spend the entire night asking if things are pigeons and either be the life of the party or the most obnoxious person there! You may even have partygoers asking, “Is this a Halloween costume?” — AI


This Is MY Son

Ah, yes, the costume that reminds us our parents should obtain a license to tweet. With a great image and the push of a few buttons, 32-year-old Pieter Hanson’s mom made her son the unwitting face of the #HimToo movement, one that argues men are often the victims of false sexual assault accusations, by listing his many accomplishments before telling the entire internet that he “won’t go on solo dates due to the current climate of false sexual accusations by radical feminists with an axe to grind.”

After the internet thoroughly roasted the hell out of Hanson’s mom, offering up some memes that parodied her reasoning, Hanson went on the record to explain the tweet “doesn’t represent me at all.” His mom deleted it, along with her account, and Hanson started one of his own, @Thatwasmymom, in the hope of clearing things up. Ultimately, he was a pretty good sport about the whole thing after essentially surviving the internet equivalent of a public flogging.


It's a costume that's as silly as it is relevant, and with Thanksgiving right around the corner, it might be perfect for those of you dreading an inevitable all-out politics screaming match in the coming weeks. — LM


Tommy Wiseau as the Joker

With multiple Joker movies on the horizon, get ahead of the game this year and dress as the only actor who really deserves the role. This costume takes dedication. It’s not just about the makeup, or the hair, or the maniacal laugh. You’re not Heath Ledger’s Joker, or Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, or even Jared Leto’s Joker. You’re the one and only Tommy Wiseau playing the role he was born to play, so getting the accent down is key here. If you need more inspiration, just watch his unhinged audition tape on loop and know that it’s truly the scariest possible Halloween costume you could possibly attempt. — LM

Credits below:

Hair and Makeup: Ally McGillicuddy
Hair and Makeup Assistant: Andrea Valdez
Wardrobe Stylist: Orchid Satellite
Photo Assistant: Daniel Mutton
Doja Cat: Kennedy McClain
Tommy Wiseau as The Joker: Thomas Fernandez

Zombie Raccoon: Mitsuko Orismekusa

Grimes: Lauren Kaplow
Elon Musk: Robert Mine
Is this a Pigeon? Meme: Kenny Cosme
Moth: Camille Mariet
Lamp: Austin Jones
This is MY son: Austin Jones
Shark Bite Influencer: Charlotte Salem

Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.

Follow Lauren Messman and Anna Iovine on Twitter and check out more of Parker Day's photography at her website..