AnnaMarie Houlis
Journalist & travel blogger

We're not sure when Halloween became a time to dress up as race car drivers in the least-protective getups ever or "sexy crayons" or police officers in far-from-practical thigh-high heels — though if those are among your picks, all the power to you. But we want to see some more feminist Halloween costumes this year. You know, the kinds of costumes that pay homage to renowned female athletes (and that don't suggest that they somehow play sports in fishnet stockings and stilettos) and that celebrate women in traditionally male-dominated fields (and not only damsels in distress).

Here are 35 empowering, feminist Halloween costume ideas that won't only win the costume contest, but that will also educate everyone at the party.

1. Moana

Photo via Party City

Moana is arguably one of the most intersectional feminist Disney movies of all time. Unlike the traditional Disney narrative, Moana is a fearless 16-year-old of color who is so curious about the world "beyond the reef" — much to the disapproval of her fellow islanders who’ve grown complacent — that she independently (and very much defiantly) sets out to cross the open ocean and save her people when havoc strikes the land. She's not some damsel in distress or setting out to find her prince; rather, she's a valiant hero.

2. Superwoman

Photo via Party City

What better way to celebrate all the super women out there than by dressing up as Superwoman herself? We live in a world in which women are too often expected to be super humans, but the reality is that we're just mortal humans. So have some fun and pretend because that's what Halloween is for.

3. Hermione

Photo via Halloween Costumes

Hermione Jean Granger is a favorite fictional character in J. K. Rowling's famed Harry Potter series. She makes her first appears in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, as a new student on her way to Hogwarts, and she steals the hearts of Harry Potter fans from there on out.

4. Susan B. Anthony

Photo via Amazon

Susan B. Anthony was a social reformer and women's rights activist who is known for her pivotal role in the women's suffrage movement. Committed to social equality, Anthony started collecting anti-slavery petitions at the young age of 17.

5. Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed in Wild

Photo via PinterestReese Witherspoon plays Cheryl Strayed in a film made after Strayed's 2012 memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. Following a recent divorce, Strayed leaves Minneapolis, MN to hike 1,100 miles of the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail on a 94-day, empowering solo journey to the Bridge of the Gods on the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington. With no hiking experience whatsoever. She faces a ton of challenges that ultimately strengthen her. And, if you dress up as Witherspoon in the movie, you can even use your backpack to collect candy.

6. Serena Williams

Photo via Pinterest

Serena Williams is arguably the greatest tennis player of all time.

7. Ronda Rousey

Photo via Halloween Costumes

Ronda Rousey is a professional wrestler currently signed to WWE, known as one of the best wrestlers in history.

8. Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers

Photo via Facebook

Toss on a pair of her iconic black glasses and a dark brown wig to be Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers for Halloween. The owner of beauty conglomerate L'Oreal is currently the richest woman in the world, with an estimated net worth of over $50 billion.

9. Mechanic

Photo via Nordstrom

To date, the auto industry is largely male-dominated. Be a boss and dress up as a mechanic.

10. Rosie the Riveter

Photo via Halloween Costumes

Rosie the Riveter was the face of a campaign that intended to recruit female workers for defense industries during World War II. She ultimately became one of the most iconic images of the working woman.

11. A Mary Beth Edelson Painting

Photo via Pinterest

Mary Beth Edelson is a feminist painter who is most famous for using an image of Leonardo da Vinci's famous mural. She affixed heads of notable female artists in place of the original men, and it became one of the most renowned pieces of feminist art, as well as a staple of 1960s feminist art. But her other paintings are more fun to dress up as for Halloween.

12. Frida Kahlo

Photo via Halloween Costumes

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter who was known for her portraits, including self-portraits, inspired by her country's culture. She was famous for exploring identity, postcolonialism, gender, class and race in her work, as well.

13. Rosa Parks

Photo via Etsy

Rosa Parks was an activist in the civil rights movement who is best known for her role in the Montgomery bus boycott. She's been dubbed by the United States Congress "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement."

14. The Third Nervo Sister

Photo via Nervo

Australian twins, Miriam and Olivia, make up the famous female DJ duo, Nervo. Together, they've landed in DJ Mag's Top 100 DJs list. They also co-wrote the Grammy Award-winning When Love Takes Over with David Guetta and Kelly Rowland, and they've played some of the biggest stages in EDM. Plus, they wear awesome outfits that you can rock on Halloween, too.

15. Sadness from Inside Out

Photo via Costume Wall

Inside Out's Sadness character shows the world just how important all of our emotions are, including sadness. She's an adorable blue blob who viewers can help but love, even if she is a downer.

16. Wonderwoman

Photo via Party City

Most recently, Gal Gadot’s rendition of Wonder Woman shares the story of Diana, an Amazonian warrior who realizes her full potential when she dares to leave her island to save the world. She's an empowering figure in the pursuit of peace, and her persistence is a central tenet of feminism.

17. An American Women's Suffragette

Photo via Party City

Get out there and fight for women's rights on Halloween (and every other day).

18. Eleanor Roosevelt

Photo via Flickr

Eleanor Roosevelt was a diplomat and an activist who'd served as the First Lady of the United States from March 4, 1933 to April 12, 1945 during her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt's four terms in office. His four terms made her the longest-serving First Lady of the United States.

19. Goal Digger

Photo via Pinterest

Instead of being a gold digger, dress up as a goal digger with this simple tee on Halloween.

20. Emily Dickinson

Photo via Halloween Costumes

Emily Dickinson was a renowned American poet. She's best known for poems like "Because I Could Not Stop Death," as she wrote largely about confrontational topics like death.

21. Amelia Earhart

Photo via Halloween Costumes

Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to ever fly across the Atlantic Ocean on her own. She was an aviation pioneer.

22. Simone Biles

Photo via Gkelite

Simone Biles is just 22 years old and, yet, shes an Olympic athlete — the 2016 Olympic individual all-around, vault and floor gold medalist and balance beam bronze medalist. She was also on the gold medal award-winning team in the "Final Five" at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

23. Danica Patrick

Photo via Halloween Costumes

Danica Patrick is recognized as arguably the best woman in racing. While retired now, she is recognized as the most successful woman in the history of open-wheel racing in the country, thanks to her victory in the 2008 Indy Japan 300 — the only win by a woman in an IndyCar Series race ever.

24. Alex Morgan

Photo via Team USA

Alex Morgan is one of the best soccer players in the world, and she often speaks out against sexism in sports, arguing that her pay would triple if she was a man. She's an empowering voice for women athletes everywhere.

25. Meryl Streep

Photo via Flickr

Meryl Streep is one of the most successful actresses of all time. She was nominated for 21 Academy Awards and won three. And she was nominated for 31 Golden Globes, and she won eight. Toss your hair up in a clip and put on a pair of glasses just like hers for Halloween.

26. Frozen's Anna

Photo via Party City

Frozen is an undeniably feminist tale. Anna's kingdom is trapped in a perpetual icy winter when her sister, Elsa, casts a spell. So Anna teams up with mountaineer Kristoff and his reindeer to find Elsa, break the spell and ultimately save the kingdom. She's tasked with battling trolls and surviving the elements along the way, only to learn that she needs to find an act of true love to break the spell. Instead of kissing a prince, like in most kid's movies, she finds that the true love is between she and her sister.

27. Grace Hopper

Photo via Flickr

Grace Hopper (Grace Brewster Murray Hopper) was an American computer scientist who worked as a United States Navy rear admiral. She's most famous, however, as one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer. She ultimately pioneered computer programming with the invention of one of the world's first linkers.

28. Valentina Tereshkova

Photo via Pinterest

Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space. She embarked on her mission in 1963. Toss on any astronaut costume and throw her name on it.

29. Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Photo via Pinterest

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the first woman to ever run for the U.S. House of Representatives (as an independent from New York State), even despite the fact that she was not eligible to vote. She received 24 votes of 12,000 that were cast.

30. Matilda

Photo via Etsy

Matilda is a classic movie — a 1996 adaptation of a Roald Dahl work that's about a girl who is forced to put up with crude parents and a school bully. Eventually, she realizes her gift, the power of telekinesis, and uses it to defend herself. She truly "fights like a girl."

31. Pitcher Amanda Whurlitzer in The Bad news Bears

Photo via Pinterest

The Bad News Bears, a 1976 American sports comedy film, is one of the most low-key feminist films out there. Pitcher Amanda Whurlitzer joins the team of misfits when they can't seem to win any games, and she turns their losing streak right around. Throw on any baseball costume and toss her name and number on it for Halloween.

32. Hillary Clinton

Photo via Amazon

Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first woman to be a major party's nominee for president. While she lost the Electoral College and conceded the general election on November 9, 2016, she still made massive strides for women in this country. And who doesn't want to rock a power suit on Halloween?

33. Audrey Hepburn (in Breakfast at Tiffany's)

Photo via Party City

Audrey Hepburn was a British actress perhaps best known for her role in Breakfast at Tiffany's. The American Film Institute ranked her as the third-greatest female screen legend in Golden Age Hollywood, and she was also inducted into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame.

34. Scientist

Photo via Uniform Advantage

Science is a largely male-dominated industry. Dress up with a white lab coat on Halloween to play the part of women in science.

35. Computer Coder

Photo via Etsy

Likewise, computer science is still a primarily male-dominated field. This funny tee is an easy costume to dress up as a coder.

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog,, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.