Image via

Image via

Ah, the topical Halloween costume. The opportunity to show your peers and frenemies alike that you are funny, self aware, and paying attention to current events/trends. But when it comes to Halloween costumes, there’s a fine between being topical and being basic.

For example, consider Harley Quinn, a basic-ass Halloween costume for 2016, from everyone’s favorite-by-default DC blockbuster, Suicide Squad. Compare that to a topical Halloween costume, like “Girl on the Train,” or Ken Bone. The difference is subtle, but important.

But you also can’t go too obscurely topical. For example, the idea I’ve been pitching since Tom Brady’s suspension was announced: Janeane Garoppolo.

Do you get it?! Combine Janeane Garofalo, the comedian/actress who found fame and popularity in the 90s and was also just in the Wet Hot American Summer Netflix show, with Jimmy Garoppolo, the New England Patriots’ backup quarterback/Disney prince. So the costume would be a Garoppolo jersey worn with a dark, long wig, glasses, and sardonic wit.

Hilarious and smart? Yes. But some jokes are funnier in in print than in execution. Like in this case, where the costume will ruin your night, as you explain Janeane Garoppolo to person after person, hear them admit “That’s funny!” while moving on to a conversation that’s bit less, I don’t know, challenging.

So, if you want to be topical AND high brow (who doesn’t?), then *Stefon voice* do I have the costume for you. This costume has everything: dystopian subtext, an existential crisis, obtainable garments, and an instant sense of kinship and superiority felt with every person who “gets” your costume: WESTWORLD.

Westworld makes everyone who has ever uttered the phrase “prestige TV” insanely happy. Quick list of what makes the show so great and immediately well-liked, for those of you who don’t steal HBO GO from your parents:

  • The show is shot beautifully, on sweeping Western landscapes and in gorgeous color palettes.
  • It’s about androids gaining sentience and the power of technology.
  • Related, it’s about reality being an ~illusion~ and controlled by some unseen ~higher power~.
  • It features noted handsome actors, like James Marsden, playing ROBOT COWBOYS.
  • Basically, it’s Jurassic Park mixed with Choose Your Own Adventure, if both were set in Back to the Future III. Oh, and there’s a third Hemsworth (Bonus Hemsworth!)

So this Halloween, it’s time to dress up like a cowboy and quote Shakespeare!

To help you get started, I’ve prepared a detailed guide to costume options, based on the characters:



The protagonist of Westworld. All you need for this costume is your Belle reading outfit, a copy of Alice in Wonderland, and a fly.



This is “classy/sexy cowboy whose only purpose is to die.” Again, you’ll need a fly for this. On second thought, don’t even attempt this look because you’re not James Marsden.

The Man in Black


See above, but make sure everything is black. Also, you probably can’t pull this off either, since you are not as scary or as determined as Ed Harris.

Dr. Ford


If you splurged on a Silence of the Lambs costume, you can repurpose it for this Halloween, since Anthony Hopkins is DOPE on Westworld, and definitely still a little scary. If not, take the black hat from the Man in Black look, and throw on a white shirt. Also, talk about “the nature of choosing” a lot, in vague terms.



Just wear thin, black rimmed glasses and carry around an iPad. Ask people the deepest possible questions, then question the motives in their answers. Also, mourn the death of your son and channel your grief into creating AI!

The Westworld Logo


Ambitious. However, painting yourself white and keeping your hands in that position does not seem comfortable and will impair your ability to drink. Though not recommended, it will demonstrate your commitment to great TV.

A fly/camera/tracking device/???

Black paint, paint masks that you make look like bug eyes, and antenna. Boom, you fit into Westworld. Another easy costume.

A globe, with just the Western Hemisphere painted:

Ahhhh… you see what I did there? Topical! Funny! Win Halloween!


And remember what I told you about topical and high brow, the holy grail of Halloween costumes? Meet Kanye Westworld. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Happy Halloween, fellow androids!

Erin Vail

Erin is the 2003 West Reading Elementary Geography Bee champion, a TV obsessive, and never not thinking about Buffalo sports.

learn more
Share this story
About The Prompt
A sweet, sweet collective of writers, artists, podcasters, and other creatives. Sound like fun?
Learn more