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Throwback Halloween Costumes You AND Your Kids Will Love

Deana Bianco

Instead of putting your kid in the same-old boring princess or superhero costumes this Halloween, why not design a DIY look that pays homage to some of the most iconic performers you grew up with? We put together a list of costume ideas for your pint-sized pop/rock/indie/grunge diva inspired by iconic performers of yore — that will have your child feeling like a megastar, guaranteed. Bonus: Most of these costumes include clothing that’s already in their closet.

Jennifer Lopez at the 2000 MTV Movie Awards

In 2000, Jennifer Lopez walked the MTV Video Music Awards’ red carpet in an all-white outfit with her then-boyfriend, Sean “Puffy” Combs. That night, Lopez won for Best Dance Video for her song “Waiting for Tonight” from her debut album On the 6. This VMAs outfit set a precedent: that we would forever bow down to (and take notes from) J.Lo’s signature glam style and glowy makeup.

For your kid to get Lopez’s street-style red carpet look, simply grab a white tank, white jeans, and white sneakers. Tie a white bandana around their head, and if they’ve got long hair, style it into two half-ponytails. If you want to get extra creative, purchase a Hot-fix applicator and apply silver rhinestones on the tank top and bandana.

Britney Spears at the 2001 VMAs

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Sorry Britney, Zach did it first. 🐍

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Who could forget Britney Spears’ 2001 belly-dancing performance at the 2001 MTV VMAs? The tune was the first song off her third studio album, Britney. Although the performance was criticized by PETA for Spears‘ use of an exotic animal (a seven-foot Burmese python named Banana, to be precise), it solidified her position as one of the most iconic performers of the aughts.

To recreate the outfit, pair blue bike shorts with a green tank top or T-shirt (yeah, no kids in teeny bikinis in October, please). Pin multicolored dance/movement scarves to the shorts (you can purchase these online). Add a stuffed yellow Burmese snake to the costume and any ’90s-kid parent will scream “It’s Britney!” when your child walks into the Halloween party.

Freddie Mercury at Live Aid

One of the most memorable moments of Queen’s career was their 17-minute Live Aid performance in Wembley Stadium in 1985, and lead singer Freddie Mercury’s vocal prowess and dance moves made it epic.

To recreate Mercury’s Live Aid look, your kid will need a pair of light-colored denim pants, a white tank top, white sneakers, and a black studded belt with a matching armband. Slick back their hair with pomade, gel, or hair spray. Buy a downturn fake mustache, or if kiddo’s too ticklish for that, draw one with eyeliner. Pair the outfit with a toy microphone — and if you really want your little one to embody Mercury, watch the iconic performance online and practice the dance moves before the big night.

Björk at the 2001 Academy Awards

Björk wore her famous swan dress to the 73rd annual Academy Awards; her song “I’ve Seen It All” from Dancer in the Dark was nominated for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture. Designed by Macedonian fashion designer Marjan Pejoski, the dress was polarizing among fashion critics, but there’s no doubt it’s one of the most memorable red carpet looks of all time.

Recreating this iconic dress for your little one is both easy and fun. Have your child wear either a white or flesh-toned T-shirt and pair it with a white tutu, petticoat, or skirt. Crafting the neck and head of the swan takes the most amount of work; you can use the leg of a thick cream-colored tight (one that’s long enough to drape around your child’s neck and connect to the skirt) and stuff it with plush cotton. Then, cut a beak out of orange and black felt and super-glue it onto the white tight. Pin, stitch, or super-glue the swan to the T-shirt and drape it around your child’s neck — and voilà.

Kurt Cobain & Courtney Love

The queen and king of grunge were one of the most iconic celebrity couples of the ’90s. Both made headlines for their music and unconventional behavior — and then again, of course, for Nirvana frontman Cobain’s tragic death. Although Cobain is ostensibly the more renowned musical genius, it’s worth noting that Love’s 1994 album Live Through This was named “best album of the year” by Spin; it beat out Beck’s Mellow Gold and The Beastie Boys’ Ill Communication. (If you, too, remember singing the lyrics, “I want to be the girl with the most cake!” we’re right there with you.)

To turn your kids into little Kurt and Courtney, go live with grunge plaid, a babydoll dress, and of course those white sunglasses. As for the hair, the messier the better! Add a little smeared red lipstick for Courtney and throw ’em a blow-up guitar.

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