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To DIY for: how to be terrifyingly on trend this Halloween

If you have left buying your Halloween costume until now, then you don’t stand a chance in the shops. But if you are planning to celebrate (if that’s the word) Halloween on the day and have only 20 minutes to cobble something together, fear not. This year, it’s all about keeping your ghouls fictional and on trend, so you can wear something you already own.

Key, of course, is your subject matter, and what exactly constitutes the 2018 “frightgeist”. We have long retired the sexy cat – the only acceptable cat is Salem from Sabrina – and while political posturing via your Melania Trump outfit is all well and woke (especially now that our Instagram feeds double as a lesson in virtue signalling), it just feels a little bit … sincere. And as for dressing up as Philip Green, avoid it. You’re in danger of trivialising a serious issue in the name of banter.

You would be surprised how much mileage you can get from what is alre ady in your autumn wardrobe. That faux-fur coat? Perfect for Tonya Harding’s embittered mother. A pair of gloves? That’s Theo Crain from The Haunting of Hill House right there. A navy jumpsuit? Pair with a sheet mask, and you’re Michael Myers. MF

The character: Madame Blanc from Suspiria
The costume: a voluminous orange dress

Witches abound in 2018 culture, although fans of Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria remake will be familiar with a particularly unpleasant breed who pretend to be staff members of the Helena Markos Dance Co in order to carry out nastiness devised by the top witch Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton). Getting Blanc’s look is easy, thanks to the work of the costume designer Giulia Piersanti. All you need is something scene-stealing, voluminous and monastic in orange – the kind of dress Roksanda put on her catwalk. Pair with a centre parting, and a vague air of satanic doom. MF

The character: Adora from Sharp Objects
The costume: a prairie-style dress

Adora fromSharp Objects; satin gown, £89.99, Mango; floral maxidress, £38, Vero Moda.
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Adora from Sharp Objects; satin gown, £89.99, Mango; floral maxidress, £38, Vero Moda. Composite: Guardian Design Team

Adora Crellin is everyone’s least favourite southern belle from the brilliantly unsettling psychological thriller Sharp Objects. She sits on her veranda spitting insults while sipping iced tea. Her lacy, sometimes floral, dresses are ideal for rooms where fans fail to interrupt the heat. Hers is a look that has its more wholesome equivalent in the trend for prairie dresses. From Calvin Klein to Coach, hems are long and frills are plentiful. Give your existing Willa Cather frock a southern gothic twist by adding lacquered red nails and pearls. Or, if this is one wagon you are yet to jump on, look to Vero Moda for floral maxis or Mango for a more elegant take: a satin gown. Thin film of sweat and crystal tumbler optional. EVB

The character: Miss Wardwell/Madam Satan from The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
The costume: neo-gothic dressing

Velvet-effect dress, £99, Zara; Miss Wardell from Sabrina.
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Velvet-effect dress, £99, Zara; Miss Wardell from Sabrina. Composite: Netflix/Guardian Design Team

Depending on whether you portray her before or after the incident with the scissors, Sabrina’s witchy teacher’s aesthetic doesn’t vary much. Hers is a look rooted in a neo-gothic style that celebrates the female form without making it the focus – all the better for seducing Satan. Clothes-wise, you have two options: a tweed skirt, inspired by Chanel but bought from M&S, which manages to be prim but sexy; or a high-neck floor sweeper, in blood-red crushed velvet, as seen as the cult brand Batsheva, or, on the high street, somewhere like Zara. Wear pumps if you are playing Miss Wardwell, or sky-high heels if you are going for Madam Satan. MF

The character: LaVona Golden from I, Tonya
The costume: faux-fur coats and late-80s glasses

Glasses,£45, Quay Australia; Lavona Golden from I, Tonya; faux fur coat,£65, Asos
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Glasses,£45, Quay Australia; LaVona Golden from I, Tonya; faux fur coat, £65, Asos. Composite: Allstar/Clubhouse Pictures/Guardian Design Team

Allison Janney played the cigarette-sucking, insult-slinging mother of the Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding in this year’s I, Tonya, a role she described as “like laughing in church”. Her style reeks of Alessandro Michele’s Gucci aesthetic. It’s a look that is easy to replicate in this “season of the shaggy statement coat”, as Vogue has coined it. From Givenchy to It-brand Shrimps, faux fur is everywhere. Dig your years-old equivalent out, find an almost exact replica at Asos or, for an on-trend leopard-print version, head to Zara. A pair of clear, geek-chic glasses will pull the look together, as will a fake pet bird on your shoulder. Style with hard liquor, an even harder stare and an e-cigarette for a 2018 update. EVB

The character: Theodora Crain from The Haunting of Hill House
The costume: gloves

Leather gloves, £89, Cos; mustard leather gloves, £69, & Other Stories; Theodora Cain in The Haunting of Hill House
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Leather gloves, £89, Cos; mustard leather gloves, £69, & Other Stories; Theodora Cain in The Haunting of Hill House Composite: Guardian Design Team

Of the seven people who have managed to get to the end of this Netflix remake of Shirley Jackson’s gothic horror, how many noticed Theo’s gloves? To replicate the look, you have two options: the leather pair she wears as a child; or the elbow-length reboot worn as an adult. Why she wears them is up for debate. Are they meant to protect her from trauma? Is she a clean freak? No matter. Leather gloves have graced two Vogue covers this year (featuring Nicole Kidman and Rihanna), and can be found at Cos and & Other Stories, although you probably already have a pair. Style with a ghostly child following you around, and a face that has seen too much. MF

The character: Dolores from Westworld
The costume: bumbags and cowboy boots

Leather belt bag,£55, Cos; satin dress, £25, H&M; Dolores in Westworld; vegan ranch boot, £58,
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Leather belt bag,£55, Cos; satin dress, £25, H&M; Dolores in Westworld; vegan ranch boot, £58, Composite: HBO/Guardian Design Team

The oft blood-splattered Dolores Abernathy, aka Deathbringer, is an easy Halloween win. Alice in Wonderland and Andrew Wyeth’s painting Christina’s World have been cited as inspiration for the character’s aesthetic. Hers is a toughened-up take on the prairie trend, teaming cornflower-blue calico skirts and dresses with thick belts and raggedy corset tops; a visual rejection of the damsel-in-distress trope that feels as poignant this year as ever. A bumbag worn across the body, à la Adwoa Aboah, is a more practical alternative to Dolores’s bullet belt – dig out your 80s original or, if that is fluorescent, head to Cos for more muted tones. For a touch of AW18-style Americana – see Isabel Marant and Ralph Lauren – add cowboy boots. LH

The character: Michael Myers from Halloween
The costume: boiler suits

Charlotte Tilbury Instant Magic mask, £18; boiler suit, £135, MC Overalls; Michael Myers in Halloween
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Charlotte Tilbury Instant Magic mask, £18; boiler suit, £135, MC Overalls; Michael Myers in Halloween Composite: Alamy/Guardian Design Team

It doesn’t get much simpler – or scarier – than the murderous Michael Myers. As a staple of the Halloween slasher film series, his style has barely evolved since 1978, but his signature boiler suit became a recent catwalk favourite, cropping up in the autumn/winter collections of Guy Laroche, Lucio Vanotti and Alberta Ferretti’s. Think utility, rather than sexy – the relaxed cut of workwear labels such as MC Overalls is ideal – in navy. Heavy materials lend an air of slow-moving dread. To prevent any Friday the 13th confusion – and to get a good All Saints’ Day glow – opt for a reusable sheet mask, such as Charlotte Tilbury’s Instant Magic dry sheet mask, over hockey-based alternatives. LH

The character: Serena Joy from The Handmaid’s Tale
The costume: cloak

Cape coat, £199, & Other Stories; Serena Joy from The Handmaid’s Tale
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Cape coat, £199, & Other Stories; Serena Joy from The Handmaid’s Tale Composite: Guardian Design Team

Call her Serena at your peril. Commander Waterford’s wife is the anti-feminist villain in The Handmaid’s Tale, who is sometimes referenced alongside the stat that 52% of white women voted for Trump. Her floor-sweeping cloaks will make the perfect Halloween costume, if you don’t mind your frights feeling shiveringly close to home. Think military chic rather than cosy wrap and look to the AW18 catwalk of Saint Laurent for inspo. Getting the look could simply be a case of draping your overcoat over your shoulders and maintaining a cold stare, or repurposing a bedspread or blanket. Alternatively, this wool-blend cape coat from & Other Stories is the high-street fast lane to an imagined dystopian future. EVB

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