20 Unbasic Women In History You Should Be This Halloween

20 Unbasic Women In History

You Should Be This Halloween

Instead of being a Princess this halloween, be Feminist Royalty.

Regardless of the infinite “sexy” options out there, there are so many women of substance you can be this Halloween. It may be hard to remember that empowering role models do exist, especially when our newsfeeds are being flooded ridiculous and sexist costumes like the Kylie Jenner Pregnant Halloween Costume  and “sexy” Melania (how is this even a thing), and let’s talk about how infusing inanimate objects into female costumes has become downright ridiculous. From ”sexy corn,” to “sexy pizza,” and yes, even a “sexy poop emoji ,” it’s crazy out there.

Especially given our current political, it’s important to shift our focus to things that build women up, not bring them down. We are here to help you pick the perfect costume this Halloween, and we’re focusing on some of the most iconic, empowering, historical female figures that people usually overlook.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton 

The Women’s March isn’t the only place you can show your activist spirit. Suffragist icon Elizabeth Cady Stanton makes for an empowering and unexpected take on the modern day women’s movement. Stanton not only assisted in organizing the first women’s rights convention but also created the National Women's Loyal League. Talk about a wonder woman! To channel this original gansta, make yourself a women’s suffrage sign and sash, grab a button-down shirt and black floor-length skirt. If you’re feeling extra inspired, add a little black veil.

Georgia O’Keeffe

Get in touch with your artistic side and dress as the brilliant Georgia O’Keeffe. With her unique style, you will be sure to make a statement at Halloween parties. To achieve the look of this bohemian painter, slick your hair into a low ponytail and pair baggy jeans or a long skirt with a southwestern style wrap sweater and black boots. To take the look a step further, you can try your hand imitating one of the artist's renowned flower paintings yourself; you could also buy a cheap one online. You will be sure to win the best costume with this excellent look.

Eleanor Roosevelt

As disappointing as it is that we have yet to have a female President of the United States, we have had some inspiring political first ladies. Eleanor Roosevelt leads the charge as one of the most influential first ladies; she not only was a spokesperson for civil rights but also encouraged her husband to bring more women into office. To channel her timeless elegance, don some pearls, a flower-bedecked Forties-style hat and a faux fur coat.

Marie Curie

Because behind every great man is a great(er) women, we are obsessed with dressing like this Polish scientist who won not only one, but two Nobel Prizes in completely different sciences. Known for her signature messy chignon and an affinity for long, dark Victorian garb (it's hard to be a fashion plate when you're busy in the lab), pull your hair back, grab some test tubes and channel the fierce female who discovered two metals on the periodic chart.

Florence Nightingale

It is distressing indeed to think of a time before sanitary hospitals existed. We can thank Florence Nightingale for the vast change in how hospitals are run today versus in 1800s. Credited as the founder of modern nursing, Nightingale was a compassionate person whose efforts to make the hospital environment clean has saved countless lives. To dress like Nightingale, all you need is a Civil War-style nurse’s dress, medical apron and bonnet.

Sally Ride

Want a costume that is out of this world? Be the first woman to go to space, Sally Ride. This astronaut will make a great costume for all your Halloween fetes. You can create the costume yourself with a  light blue jumpsuit and some NASA and space pin flair added to the ensemble. We can’t wait to see you rock the space style!

Mary Kay

Do you love makeup? If so, Mary Kay might just be the perfect person to imitate this spooky season. The cosmetics mogul changed the business world for women by building her brand from the ground up. With her unique look, the costume will be easy, and it starts with bright pink lipstick. You additionally need a voluminous blond wig, pink ensemble (Think Elle Woods, but more vintage), and a case full of makeup (also perfect for touchups throughout the night). Your costume will be sure to turn heads.

Jane Austen

Writers are some of the most influential people in history, and Jane Austen is a female legend. To look like this graceful author, pick up a Victorian-styled dress, a book and a pen. Most known for her novels Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park, Austen spent most of her days writing so simplicity is key; think lightweight dresses and pulled back hair underneath a cap with a few curls poking out.  

Billie Jean King

Get out your tennis racket and shoes and dress as Billie Jean King this year. She might sound familiar to you and that’s because Emma Stone is playing her in Battle of the Sexes, which just came out. King won a total of 39 Grand Slam titles and beat Bobby Riggs who boasted about how men are inherently better than women. Known for her signature tennis skirts, short hair, and her bangs, she’s quirky and fun, and most definitely will be trending this Halloween.

Janis Joplin

Rock icon Janis Joplin is a spirited choice to transform into this year. With her wild hair and 70s-era chic outfits, you will have no problem recreating her style. Joplin is known as "the first lady of rock and roll," as she paved a way for women in music. We love that dressing like Janis basically means collecting random accessories and pieces of fabric from around your house. She’s worn everything from feathers to large furry hats in her hair, so really anything goes!

Zelda Fitzgerald

Zelda Fitzgerald is the bee’s knees! This outspoken female from the 1920s was truly a renaissance woman, as she worked at different times as a dancer, painter and novelist. Creative, stylish and spunky, Zelda is eternally an icon being known for originating the term ‘flapper’. If you have a Halloween companion, the perfect match is, of course, F. Scott Fitzgerald. So get your Gatsby on!

Hedy Lamarr

If you’re feeling an old Hollywood look for Halloween, go for the elegant Hedy Lamarr. The Austrian-American actress, who lived during the ‘Golden Age” of MGM, was much more than just a pretty face. In addition to acting in movies like Samson and Delilah and The Strange Woman, Lamarr created a secret communication system which kept enemies from decoding messages, helping in the defeat of the Nazis. To emulate her beauty and style, make some big loose curls in your hair, put on a floppy hat and wear a draping long black dress paired with a statement red lip. While many women tend to dress like mainstream beauty, Marilyn Monroe, you will be sure to stand out as Lamarr.

Betsy Ross

Attention all history buffs: this Halloween why not show your patriotism and dress as Betsy Ross, the creator of the first American flag? To recreate this historical woman, known for her white wigs, it is simple. Use Google to find an American Revolutionary styled dress (or if you are talented with a needle and thread, why not make it yourself, Betsy-style) paired with a oversized bonnet. To add even more authenticity to the look, try and get your hands on a revolutionary wig, or our country’s original circular patterned flag which depicts only thirteen stars.


Armi Kuusela

If you’re feeling the itch to dress like a queen, take an unexpected route by channeling the country’s first Miss Universe, Armi Kuusela. Not only was she the first-ever pageant winner but she also was a charity worker in Finland. To get the look, don the nicest dress you own (or buy one from your local thrift store), throw on a sash and crown. For authenticity sake, just remember that back in 1952, which was the year Kuusela won, the favored beauty queen look was tightly curled hair and statement red lipstick.

Deborah Sampson

Be a true revolutionary this year and go to your BFF’s costume party as Deborah Sampson, the first woman to serve in the US army. In a Mulan-style tale, this brave female soldier disguised herself as a man so that she could fight for her country during the American Revolutionary War. She’s such a cool chick to be this Halloween, and to pull it off you really only need a fake rifle and an navy army coat, fake blood optional.

Elizabeth Blackwell

Earning a doctorate may be hard work, but dressing up as the first female doctor is not. To look like Blackwell, the first woman to get an M.D., drape a stethoscope around your neck, get a black victorian dress and add a white collar underneath and you have transformed into Elizabeth Blackwell. We love Blackwell for paving the way for women everywhere.  

Louise Chéruit

When we think fashion, we think of Paris. Rather than the oft-duplicated Coco Chanel costume, be the original fashion influencer, Louise Chéruit, who put Paris on the map in the early 1900s for its couture. With fashions still on display at famous locations like the Met, she was known for her fur coats and hats. To dress like her, you need a classically styled long dress, paired with a voluminous coat (should the temperature call for it) and a statement hat that has a feather popping out.

Mata Hari

There is nothing cooler than being a dancer, oh wait; being a dancer who is also a spy may jump to top of our list. Mata Hari, also known as history's most famous spy, was an agent for France during WWI before she met her bitter end when she was accused of being a double agent and was executed for it. Get out a flowy dress and deck yourself out in gold accessories to make the look yourself. Not only will you have a unique costume but you will also be representing one of the most empowering and underrated woman in history.


Ada Lovelace

One of our favorite women in history is mathematician and early computer genius, Ada Lovelace. Lovelace came up with many of the first ever computer concepts and is known in history as the first ever computer programmer. She is known for her 1830s style dresses which are puffy and colorful, and a simple updo. Given the focus on STEM, we think this is the perfect tribute to such a meritable woman.


Bring out your inner explorer this Halloween as Native American icon Sacagawea. She traveled thousands of miles with Lewis and Clark and helped establish a cultural connection with Native Americans. She served as translator and navigator, and she did this all while carrying her newborn son. Her style is fun with her signature braids, tan dresses and dangling colorful jewelry. Go the extra mile by getting a baby doll to carry with you. We think she’s great and is proof of how amazing women are.

Amanda Jaguden

Amanda is a writer living in New York City. She loves reading, coffee, traveling and anything that empowers women.

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