10 Hyper-Local Halloween Costume Ideas for 2020

From artists to icons, consider one of these insider Raleigh characters for this your Halloween costume this year.
by Ayn-Monique Klahre

The verdict’s still out on whether anyone can actually go trick-or-treating, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend all your extra time at home crafting the perfect costume. Even if you’re just dressing up for the Instagram shot, everyone knows the best Halloween costume ideas in Raleigh show a mix of insider knowledge and creativity. Consider these 10 Triangle-inspired Halloween costume ideas for 2020.

William Needham Finley IV

Also known as Seth Crossno, the ITB Insider got national press after he appeared in two 2019 documentaries about the fiasco that was Fyre Fest. Dressing as Finley is great as a last-minute costume: all you need is a normcore-style collared shirt and phone in hand, Tweeting.

Courtesy Wikimedia

Cherie Berry

If you’ve ever been in an office building (remember, from last year?), you’ll know about the Elevator Lady, Cherie Berry. North Carolina’s labor commissioner is retiring soon after a nearly 20-year run, but you can channel Berry in a red suit jacket and glasses—bonus points for using a refrigerator box to build an elevator around yourself.

Photograph by Bob Karp

J. Cole

While we keep hoping that the Dreamville festival can come back next year, dress as performer and Dreamville Records founder J. Cole in a sweatshirt, baggy pants and sneaks. Locs optional, but grab a mike to karaoke along to your smartphone.

Courtesy The News & Observer

Dr. Mandy Cohen 

You’ve seen Dr. Mandy Cohen’s face way too often over the past few months, so throw on your best shift dress or blazer-and-patterned-blouse combo and keep a classic black mask on to be the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (government-issued background and ASL interpreter optional).

Sir Walter Raleigh

The man may have never set foot in this city, but if you like a period costume, Sir Walter Raleigh a good bet. Channel our city’s namesake explorer with 16th-century inspired tights under balloon pants, a ruffled collar and his signature feather popping out of a brimmed hat.

Courtesy The News & Observer

Rod Brind’Amour

Channel Rod “The Bod” Brind’Amour past or future: in a Carolina Hurricanes jersey from the 2000s, or in present-day coat and red-and-black tie. (And, depending on how that Covid workout routine’s going, consider a padded-foam muscle shirt underneath.)


Photograph by Jimmy Williams


A to-scale version of Thomas Sayre’s signature sculptures on the grounds of the NCMA probably isn’t possible, but if you can configure something close, maybe, with a couple of hula hoops and some brown duct tape. Selfie stick encouraged.

Photograph by Nick Pironio

Ira David Wood, III

Alas, Theatre in the Park will not be doing a live version of its annual A Christmas Carol, filled with local inside jokes. But you can honor the nearly 50-year-old tradition by dressing as Ira David Wood, III’s version of Scrooge: Nightgown, night cap, slippers and teddy bear.

Photograph by Travis Long

The Awesomettes

Grab your girlfriends and stock up on batons, matching pleated miniskirts and spangled boots to be Historic Oakwood’s perking group of over-50 baton-twirlers. Top of the outfit with a grey wigs and lots of flair.

Photograph by Paul Specht | Courtesy The News & Observer

The Acorn

No clue how to make this one, but please send us a photo of you end up dressing as Raleigh’s signature nut. You can always take the easy way out with one of House of Swank’s acorn t-shirts.

Got any more ideas? Share them with us at info@waltermagazine.com or @waltermagazine on Instagram and Facebook.