I am no psychic, but I predict Squid Game will be the Halloween costume this year. But time is running short, as are supplies—so how to assemble yours? For help, I spoke to Emmy-nominated costume designer Robyn Simms, who shared some insider tips on how to throw together a wardrobe of first-rate Squid Game gear.
Simms has created Halloween costumes for Jimmy Kimmel Live, Tumble Leaf, The Conners, and too many other TV shows and movies to list here. (Full disclosure: She’s also my wife.)
“If I were going to make a Squid Game costume, honestly, I’d just buy one on Amazon and fix it up,” Simms said. “With the time and effort you’d spend collecting all the parts you’d need to put together a costume, you might as well pay $35 or $50 for a prepackaged one and improve it.”
Order your Squid Game costume yesterday
Buying a costume on Amazon is a great idea, but it might not be possible this year. Halloween is two weeks away, but high demand and supply-chain issues mean you’re already late ordering a Squid Game outfit.
If you buy from Amazon, don’t forget to check the “deliver by” date. For instance, this looks like a serviceable “456” track-suit—not perfect, but totally good enough for Halloween—but it won’t arrive until Nov. 1 at the earliest. This one might make it to you on time, but only if you’re paying for the expedited shipping.
Same for a Manager costume: This option gives a delivery range of Oct. 26 to Nov. 3, but only an eternal optimist would trust it’s going to get there in time for your Halloween party.
Look out for scammers
It’s hard to really predict what’s going to show up when you order a trendy Halloween costume online from a retailer you’ve never heard of. This site offers a selection of Squid Game costumes, says it’s the “Squid Game official store,” and promises to get you whatever you need before Oct. 31 at very reasonable prices. But I’m fairly certain it isn’t official merchandise—none of these products are available on Netflix’s official Squid Game merch site, which doesn’t stock any Halloween costumes—and it seems too good to be true. Still, maybe they’d get you what you paid for by Halloween; anything is possible.
How to improve a store-bought Squid Game costume
If you’re lucky enough to score a store-bought Squid Game costume, here are some ways to zhuzz it up.
“You can make any Halloween mask better with a couple of simple tips,” Simms said. “Line the mask with duct tape for support, then get some Dr. Scholl’s Moleskin and cut out pieces to affix anywhere the inside of the mask touches your face. That will make it way more comfortable. Also, they usually use thin, one-size-fits-all elastic in halloween masks, but it’s easy to replace that with higher quality elastic. It’ll be more comfortable and fit better.”
When it comes to costume details, duct tape is your friend. “Check out a still from the show, and if your store-bought costume is missing anything, get some colored duct tape at a craft store and add whatever you need,” Simms said. “It won’t last forever, but you only need it to stay on for a night.”
If you can’t get a full Squid Game costume because you waited too long to order it and Spirit Halloween is sold out (they will be), don’t despair. You might be able to hack something together anyway.
Making a do-it-yourself Player costume
“The Player costume isn’t that hard to put together, because it’s only a few items, so it’s going to be the details that sell it,” Simms said.
Start by tracking down a teal or green sweatsuit. The color probably isn’t going to be exact, but “close-enough” is okay for Halloween. “You might be able to score one at Target, Wal-Mart, or Kohl’s,” Simms suggested. But do it today; you’re not the only person counting on this idea to win them the office costume contest.
Once you have your close-enough sweat suit, you need a white t-shirt, white slip-on sneakers, a green fabric pen, and a roll of white duct tape.
“You’re going to use the duct tape to make the wide, white lines on the legs and arms of the sweat suit, and the number,” Simms said. “If you want to get fancy, you can cut the pocket out of the sweat pants. Cut that fabric into a rectangle and use that as the ‘badge’ for the numbers.”
If you can find a ringer tee in green, good for you, but they might not be easy to locate. Simms recommends using a green fabric pen to color in the collar of a white t-shirt. You could also use a white paint marker to add number 456 or 69—whichever way you want to go.
How to make a DIY Manager costume
Simm’s idea for a do-it-yourself Manager costume is a little more elaborate, mainly because of the mask, so it’s presented below in recipe form.
Before you start, make sure you have a pink, hoodie and sweat pants (try Hanes, Target, and Wal-Mart), a black belt, black gloves, and black sneakers to sell the look. And keep in mind pink sweats are mostly in women’s sizes, so guys, order large.
Ready for some arts and crafts?
DIY Manager Mask
- A baseball cap, preferably black
- A large rotisserie chicken from Costco or your local supermarket (you need the plastic container)
- An awl or other punching tool
- A pair of fishnet stockings—the ones with small holes like this pair from Hanes.
- Black duct tape
- White paint marker
- Eat the chicken, but save the clear part of the plastic container it came in. Wash it and set it aside.
- Cut the brim off the baseball cap, leaving only about an inch of the bill intact.
- Using an awl or a pair of sharp scissors, punch holes in the clear half of the plastic chicken container from the inside out. This is so you can breathe.
- Cut the fishnet stockings so they are no longer a tube but a flat piece of fabric. There should be more than enough material for your needs.
- Securely attach the stocking fabric to the top of the chicken-container-mask with black duct tape. Don’t pull it taut. You want it to appear black, but you should still be able to see through it. Tape the bottom edge. Pull it to the sides and around the edges until smooth, and tape that down too. Cut the excess off and tape it all around.
- Use the paint marker to create a square, triangle, or circle.
- Let the paint dry, then use the duct tape to attach your new mask to your cut-up baseball cap. Put it on your head.
- With your hood pulled up, all the tape should be covered and you should end up with a passable (though janky) mask that will allow you to both breathe and see.
But what if you want a perfect version of a Squid Game costume?
Cheap knock-offs from Amazon and kludged together homemade costumes are fine for some people, but I will settle for nothing but the best: My cosplay game is strong, so I asked Ms. Simms what I would need to do to get a truly exact Squid Game costume.
“To make a screen-accurate version of those costumes, you’d really have to know what you’re doing,” Simms said. “They may look simple, but there’s more to it than it seems. The Manager costumes are custom dyed fabric, patterned and sewn into custom-made jumpsuits. The masks look like they’re made from perforated thermo-plastic sheeting that is shaped over a mold. So it’s definitely an ‘advanced skills’ project, and at least a couple hundred bucks for you to do it yourself; more if you wanted to hire a pro to help.”
As if this writing, you’ve got 19 days. Better get moving. (“I can see how unfortunate your situation is, but if you have no time…”)