12 Clever (Yet Super Simple) Halloween Hairstyles to Inspire Your Costume

Style your hair, and the rest will follow.

halloween-hairstyles: mermaid waves
Photo: CoffeeAndMilk

Why go for an expensive prepackaged Halloween costume when it's simple to whip up one of your own? Although the average person picks their costume first—and styles their hair and makeup based on that choice—try flipping the process if you're lacking ideas.

A good hairstyle can inspire your whole look, or in some cases, be the look itself. Here you'll find the how-tos for 12 easy Halloween hairstyles. Let them influence you to dive into DIY costume-making headfirst (so to speak).

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Perhaps the easiest look to whip up last minute, mermaid waves is great for Halloween and beyond.

First, apply mousse to damp hair and blow-dry, tousling with your fingers.

Next, using a 3-barrel curling wand, like Beachwaver Midnight Rose 3B Waver ($89; ulta.com), clamp, hold, and release strands of hair to create crimpy waves.

Finally, run your fingers through the ringlets to separate them into bigger waves, and spritz with hairspray to help them hold their shape.

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Add some more oomph to a high ponytail with this genie-inspired take.

Part your hair horizontally with a comb from the top of one ear to the other. (Stick the upper portion in a clip for the moment.)

Tie back the bottom half tightly in an elastic just below the crown. Then, unclip the upper section and gather it into another elastic, right above the first one.

Finally, wrap a strand of hair from one of the tails around both elastics and secure with a bobby pin.

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Princess Jasmine

This cute take on pigtails—bubble braids—is an easy way to dress up any Halloween costume, but it's especially perfect to recreate Princess Jasmine's look.

"Start by applying mousse from roots to ends to create full-bodied volume while taming frizz and flyaways," says celebrity stylist Graham Nation. "This will also help add grip and hold to the hair for styling."

Next, place your hair into a slicked-back ponytail at your desired height, and secure it with an elastic at the highest point and as close as possible to the scalp. Wrap another elastic hair tie a few inches down your ponytail, and repeat until you reach the end.

Once all elastics are placed, use your fingers to tease and pull at each section. This will loosen the hair between elastics and create multiple "bubbles," with the option of customizing your look depending on how voluminous or teased you want them.

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You know it's a good costume when the hair is the mane focus. Take this whimsical butterfly hair crafted by celebrity hairstylist Clayton Hawkins.

To get the look, separate your hair into a half-up, half-down ponytail and add voluminous curls.

Top it off with your favorite butterfly clips scattered evenly throughout and set with shine spray to tame flyaways (butterflies are the only flyaways we want here).

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Great Gatsby

Want to go short but don't want to commit to a true chop? Fake it! Fun fact: These Gatsby-esque faux bobs—also called nervous bobs—were huge in the '20s (for women too nervous to bob their hair in earnest).

"To get this look, I like to apply a volumizing mousse on wet hair and blow out until dry, and then pull hair back into two small sections and wrap them with thin elastic," says Sally Hershberger, a hairstylist in New York City. "From there, I tuck the sections up beneath the rest of the hair and begin to place bobby pins throughout to secure the pieces strategically; this is when the faux bob shape will begin to appear."

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Geisha/Greek Goddess/Ballerina

A low chignon is one of the trendiest looks of the year, but it can also moonlight as costume hair. It's simple enough to pull off and can be dressed up or down depending on your outing.

First, choose your part—down the middle, on the side, or slicked completely back.

"Next, use a light-hold gel and a bristle brush to slick the hair down in the direction of where you want the hair to lay," says Kali Ferrara, a hairstylist in New York City. "Once all of the hair is gathered, tie it off into a tight ponytail."

For an extra twist, set aside a small section of hair, braid it, and then wrap it around the base of your ponytail to conceal the hairband. If you're going for something more specific, feel free to add a few on-brand hair accessories.

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Mermaid Braid

Braided ponytails are all the rage right now (see: Megan Fox, Kim Kardashian, or Ashanti, who have dominated recent red carpets with their lengthy locks).

"To achieve an uber-long, mermaid-inspired look, pull your hair up into a high ponytail and spritz holding spray throughout," says celebrity hairstylist Hayley Heckmann. "This strong-hold, brushable, and flake-free formula is ideal for creating a snatched updo that needs more hold. Next, rub hair paste, like Unite Conundrum Paste ($27; amazon.com), into the palms of your hands and start to braid—this will make sure any frizz and flyaways are tucked away."

Finally, add in your favorite hair extensions for extra length and decorate with beachy accessories to complete the look.

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Modern Cleopatra

Micro braids have been one of the most popular hair trends of the year—put a Halloween twist on the style by matching it with a Cleopatra costume, like this sultry vibe from celebrity hairstylist Clayton Hawkins.

"To get the look, use a wand or flat iron to create effortless waves and section off two small pieces in the front for your braids," he says. "Prep each section with hairspray to tame frizz and flyaways, and braid from root to ends, adding gold twine or tinsel to elevate the look."

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Betty Boop

For decades, Betty Boop has been known for her iconic beauty look—long lashes, cherry-red lips, and tightly curled raven hair. Luckily, these are three things that are super easy to recreate; plus, it's a great option for anyone with shorter strands.

Use a curling iron or foam rollers (stylists recommend the latter) to create the head of coils.

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Baby Spice

Spice up your Halloween look with Baby Spice's iconic playful pigtails. To achieve the style, color and wig expert Daved Anthony Munoz recommends using a dry, translucent finish, like Unite Texturiza Spray ($32; amazon.com), to add volume, texture, and fullness.

Next, apply a styling cream to smooth flyaways and divide your hair into two high ponytails, leaving out a couple of strands in the front as accent pieces. Don't forget to add cute pom-poms to your pigtails to complete the look!

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Classic 60s Bouffant

This year has been all about embracing throwback styles from the decades, and this high-volume, Brigitte Bardot bouffant is timely for Halloween.

"I started by prepping the hair with volumizing spray at the root to add more structure and volume to the base," says celebrity hairstylist Danielle Priano. "Then, apply a blow-out cream on the ends for control and memory throughout the hair. Blow dry the hair with a natural bristle brush with the classic blowout in mind, and after each section is dry, put your velcro rollers in to cool. Once all the hair is cooled, take the rollers out and backcomb at each section."

Make sure to marry the sections as you backcomb (grabbing the previous section and adding in the new section), and tease generously until you get the desired volume.

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Princess Leia

Some cinematic beauty inspirations stand the test of time. Case in point: These iconic double buns have become practically synonymous with Star Wars, so your hair will make a statement for you (even if your outfit is more subtle).

Split your hair down the middle and make two ponytails above your ears and as close to your hairline as possible. Then, grab a couple of hair donuts and pull your ponytails through the middle of the donut, distributing your ponytail evenly around the hair donut so that it's covered.

Finish by tucking the hair under the bun and use bobby pins to keep the strands in place.

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