“A door,” I explained. “A Chinese door, you see the door ornament?” They … didn’t get it.
We’re here to help you avoid this predicament, and video games can help. Gaming culture has pervaded our lives to the point that even people who don’t play games are familiar with popular characters because they have family or friends who are gamers. So, if you’re looking for a last-minute Halloween costume people will recognize, take a look at our list of game-related outfits below.
Now, there are only a few days left until Halloween and shipping an outfit at this point might take too long. Given all that, with one exception, I’m suggesting a handful of outfits that can be pulled together with common wardrobe items (or some easy to find props). It’s not an exhaustive list at all, and if you think of something that isn’t on here, drop the idea in the comments.
Red from ‘Among Us’
Supplies needed: Red clothes, a red helmet/hat/hood, red gloves, red shoes, goggles or scuba mask.
Reason it’s recognizable: At this point in the pandemic, the social deduction game “Among Us” has been made into tattoos, merchandise, silly parodies and more. It’s culturally dominant. Of all “Among Us” characters, Red is one of the more meme-able colors that naturally draws more attention to itself. When you play Red in “Among Us,” you can expect to be called sus — short for “suspicious” — perhaps because the color “red” brings to mind murder.
Link from ‘The Legend of Zelda’
Supplies needed: Green or blue shirt, a brown belt, brown shoes, long white sleeves and beige or white pants. If you want to go old-school, you can also fashion a slouchy hat out of green felt; if you’re willing to go really janky, green construction paper is also an option.
Reason it’s recognizable: The Legend of Zelda is one of the enduring franchises that parents today still recognize from their childhoods, and it’s still getting new games. “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” (featuring a hatless, blue-clad Link) highlighted the release of the Nintendo Switch, bringing the story to younger generations. Its upcoming sequel is one of 2022′s most anticipated games.
Marshmello from ‘Fortnite’
Supplies needed: White clothes from head to toe. You can either color a cardboard box white or cover it with white paper and then use a Sharpie to make the mask.
Reason it’s recognizable: Marshmello isn’t technically from “Fortnite” — his career as an electronic artist spans back to 2015 — but the hit battle royale game undeniably skyrocketed his popularity. He’s featured as a cosmetic skin that players can equip and was the first artist to perform a concert in the game, paving the way for later musical events from Travis Scott and Ariana Grande. If you want to make the game connection stronger, you can easily craft a pickax out of cardboard.
Pikachu from ‘Pokémon’
Supplies needed: Yellow clothes and costume makeup for red cheeks and exaggerated eyes. A yellow onesie might make more sense here, but either way you’ll want to add a headband with rabbit ears (also yellow) and a kinked yellow tail.
Reason it’s recognizable: This may be a more assembly intensive costume, but “Pokémon” is a global phenomenon that spans games, TV, film, trading cards and more. Of all the critters in the franchise, the yellow, electricity-charged Pikachu is the franchise’s mascot. There will be no mistaking your costume.
Lady Dimitrescu from ‘Resident Evil Village’
Supplies needed: High heels, white dress, a wide-brimmed black hat and vampire fangs.
Reason it’s recognizable: Of all the characters on this list, Lady Dimitrescu, also known as the tall lady from “Resident Evil Village,” might not be the most recognizable, but gaming fans will instantly get it. Her impressive height in the game, which came out in May, became a major talking point throughout the spring and early summer.
Height is the key characteristic here. If you’re tall enough, nobody will be confused.
Mario from ‘Super Mario’
Supplies needed: Red long-sleeve shirt, blue overalls, white gloves and a red hat with a letter M on it.
Reason it’s recognizable: “It’s-a-me, Mario!” The mustachioed plumber from a video game franchise minted in 1985 goes down in history as one of the most famed faces of both Nintendo and gaming in general. There is zero chance anyone will confuse your costume, and you can spout Italian accented one-liners to your heart’s content. Going out with friends? Just adjust the colors to add more characters (green for Luigi, yellow for Wario and purple for Waluigi).
Lara Croft from ‘Tomb Raider’
Supplies needed: A tank top, shorts, a belt, a leather/felt bracelet and a braided ponytail. A pair of hip holsters would also be an excellent addition.
Reason it’s recognizable: Lara Croft is arguably the most recognizable female character in gaming. Known for her fighting skills, Lara adventures through tombs, digging up relics and finding treasure. She’s also well known among non-gamers after actor Angelina Jolie portrayed her in the 2001 film “Tomb Raider.”
Master Chief from ‘Halo’
Supplies needed: This costume is sold at many Halloween shops across America, which would be our recommendation given its elaborateness, but if you’re going the DIY route, try a green jumpsuit with the elbows, abs and knees colored black for shading, and a green helmet. Don’t forget to mark the left shoulder with 117, Master Chief’s service tag.
Reason it’s recognizable: Master Chief is the mascot of the Halo franchise, and Halo is pretty much the face of Xbox. That makes Master Chief one of the most famous characters in games, and with a new entry, “Halo Infinite,” slated for a December release, he’s also extremely relevant right now.