You Still Have Time for a (Gay) Halloween Costume: Pretty Little Liars Halloween Special

I think we all know what the third best thing about Halloween is: TV specials. Did you see the Pretty Little Liars Halloween special? If you’re a PLL or Halloween fan, it was totally worth a watch. Don’t worry, even with the scary Halloween stuff, there was still plenty of sunlight on shining hair.


The episode was ordered at the end of the current season and takes place before the beginning of the series. So it should come as no surprise that there really wasn’t any contributing plot line. Basically, it’s the weekend of Halloween and Jenna moves to town. Noel Kahn’s throwing a hoppin’ Halloween party, and Allison’s weaseled them all invites. Someone’s sending Allison anonymous texts a la A, and we get to see the beginning of the girls’ secrets. But that’s not what matters. What maters is their costumes! So suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of You Still Have Time for a (Gay) Halloween Costume where I try to convince you that you still have time to pull together a stellar (gay) costume.

Halloween/costumes can be extremely expensive (at least if you’re me and you’re obsessed with them), so my goal is to keep every costume as cheap as possible. Sometimes there will be more or less expensive routes. You can go super intense with any costume or really basic– I’ll give you options along the way.

Here, I’ll cover each of the costumes worn by the leads on the Pretty Little Liars Halloween special. Unfortunately, Emily’s costume was, um, how do I say this… offensive. So I won’t be covering that one. Lucky for us, the other characters really pulled their weight with both awesomeness and gayness.


Hanna: It’s Britney Bitch


Britney Spears is a classic and easy costume. While “Sometimes” people might lean towards the pink cat-suit “Oops I Did It Again” Britney, then genius of “Baby One More Time” Britney is that you can pull it together with “Crazy” style like 1, 2, “3.” (See what I did there?) But seriously, as Hanna demonstrates, Britney is a great, cheap last minute costume. You can even one-up Hanna’s costume and do it better! It involves little to no sewing or crafting and requires only the contents of your closet or a quick trip to the grocery store.


+ pleated skirt
+ grey cardigan
+ white button-up (tip: a short sleeve shirt will be more comfortable)
+ knee socks
+ pink feather boa
+ hair ties

If you’re reading this site, then you know how to put clothes on. The only part that might be unclear is the boa hair ties. You can get a feather boa for $1-$2. Though you could sew the boa to a hair tie or hot glue it even, but this is a good time to take the easy way out. Just cut the feather boa to about four inches and tie it in a knot around the top of each braid. the fluffy stuff will cover the knot and you wont need to worry about glue or anything.

Spencer: Mary Queen of Scots


I’m not sure why, but I feel strongly that this is basically the queerest Halloween costume to ever appear on television. Mostly because I just love a historical costume. Spencer’s I suspect might be a bit too advanced for, um, anyone who isn’t a professional costume designer. If you really want to give it a try, I suggest Simplicity Sewing Pattern 3782. It’s a classic for Elizabethan costumes.

Maybe someday I’ll walk everyone in Autoland start to finish through a Tudor, Elizabethan or Renaissance costume, but that’s a much longer article for a much longer day. There are certainly plenty of femme Elizabethan costumes online and in costume shops. You can find some for $50, but many cost more than $300. Obviously, you don’t need the wicked expensive costume unless you’re performing Shakespeare or you’re just particularly awesome. If you like this sort of period/fantasy look but don’t care too much about the specifics of time period, you can throw together a similar look with store bought items. Try pairing a corset-type shirt over a peasant shirt, long skirt and scarf tied at the waist. Alternatively, a large waist belt corset with a peasant dress. The look will be effective as long as you have a structured bodice with a full skirt and long sleeves. If you’ve got a trip to the craft store in you, you’d be surprised how much gold braids or rick-rack can pull a costume together.

If you’d like to make a (traditionally speaking) men’s garment, you have a much easier road ahead of you. Tons of websites offer instructions on how to make Shakespearean style poofy-shirts (that’s a technical term). To make a quick doublet, take a cheap velvet jacket from a thrift store and cut the sleeves off. detail around the seams and edges with some of that gold rick-rack I was talking about earlier. Layer the doublet over the poofy shirt and pair it with capris or breeches. For the full Shakespearean look, throw in a funny hat.


None of these suggestions are going to get you to Spencer’s level, probably, but in lieu of a Type A personality and relentless drive for perfection, I think these ideas will work pretty well.

If you have more thoughts/feelings/questions I suggest investigating the Elizabethan Costume Page. It’s something of a bible for these sort of things.

Next up: Aria’s witch costume plus hat, variations on Lady Gaga, and Creepy Baby Thing!

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Lizz is a consumer, lover and writer of all things pop culture and the Fashion/Style Editor at She is also full time medical student at Brown University in Providence, RI. You can find her on the twitter, the tumblr or even on the instagram.

Lizz has written 261 articles for us.


  1. I read the first line of this article as “I think we all know what the third base of Halloween is …” and though I love PLL, I must say, I was slightly disappointed when I realized I wasn’t actually going to learn about the (Gay) Halloween version of “Rounding the Bases.”

    I feel like things just change so much when costumes are involved, and I may be woefully unprepared to handle a Halloween base hit. How do you slide to third with a Mary Queen of Scots costume or do you just go for the Squeeze Play?

    TL/DR: NSFW Sunday needs to teach me how to conquer someone else’s costume … and baseball terminology is deliciously dirty.

  2. I’m latin, mexican actually, and I don’t care if someone dresses up for halloween as a mariachi or whatever you guys think is mexican. I think it’s funny to be honest.

    I’ve lived in US and AAAALLL the time people had something to say about race/ethnicities, for example a guy would be ofended if someone asked him about his race, as if it was something taboo people shouldn’t be allowed to ask.

    Or on the other hand some people would be uber interested in talking about their race and play the victim card “I’m black/latin/asian/whatever and omg my race has been through SO MUCH ugh! people don’t get me, I should get extra attention just because of the color of my skin”

    I don’t know, maybe is like a thing in your country, but it isn’t in mine and I think we live better at least in that specific aspect.

    P.s.Lizz don’t take this the wrong way, let’s just agree to disagree

    • I understand what the girl in the letter says but can I onestly say something? Reading between the lines you have posted it looks to me like she is ashamed of being a native. I understand government must have been hard on them, I do, but the problem seems not to lie on the costume. What I mean is… it’s a little bit like jersey shore for italian people. Do you know that in Italy lots of people watch it?Why? Because stereotypes are as a definition stereotypes (captain obvious here).They don’t represent the truth, we are not all like snooki or whatever, american people know that, we know that. Being Italian is not easy (if you know something about the italian government, you know what I’m talkig about) and that’s one of the reason why so many young people come to America, but the problem will not be worked out just taking away the costume and certainly it’s not gonna get worse just for a Halloween costume. That is just my opinion, I don’t intend to insult anyone.

    • Race is definitely a thing in this country. As an American who actively despises racism and can’t fathom the thought process of racists, I can also admit there is a hypersensitivity about race in this country that I think undermines legitimate concerns about racial stereotyping or bias.

      Now, was Emily’s costume offensive? I don’t know. Do we know what her costume is? Is she just a Native American, or is she Pocahontas? Did she ever say? Hannah never did, but we know she was Britney. I don’t recall Emily saying either. (I could be wrong. I just don’t recall it.) If she is Pocahontas, is it more offensive than Spencer being the Queen of England? For all we know, Emily Fields could be part Native American just like Spencer is probably English (given the name Hastings). Her dad looks Asian, her mom looks Latina, but we don’t know what mixture of ethnicities she could be. But really, I don’t think it matters. So while I can appreciate the sentiment of the link Lizz posted in the blog My Culture Is Not A Trend, no one is belittling someone’s culture by dressing up as Pocahontas anymore than dressing up as the Queen of England, Hapshetsut, Susan B. Anthony or any other famous figure.

  3. That wig that Allison is wearing is basically the worst thing I’ve ever seen. She looks like a bleached out Elvira. If I saw this picture out of context and without explanation, “Lady Gaga” would probably be my last guess.

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