What's the biggest day for fashion nationwide? Try October 31, when 170 million Americans will don new threads—or admire the outfits of others—by celebrating Halloween (stat courtesy of the National Retail Federation). That's a lot of Batmans, Power Rangers, Harry Potters and Obamas. But the truth is: You'll stand out a lot more in a crowd, and actually look good doing it, if you dress like a bad guy. Below, a short list of sartorially gifted horror-film villains, all of whom had a killer sense of style way ahead of their time.
Frankenstein's monster, 1931 (Boris Karloff)
Key Costume Prep: Finish off the look with a pair of creepers to add height. Add bolts to neck.
Psycho's Norman Bates, 1960 (Anthony Perkins)
Key Costume Prep: Procure faux knife, practice nervous stammer.
A Clockwork Orange's Alex DeLarge, 1971 (Malcolm McDowell)
Key Costume Prep: Add oversized lashes on your right eye and walk with a black cane.
The Shining's Jack Torrance, 1980 (Jack Nicholson)
Key Costume Prep: Get yourself a fake ax, prepare your best maniacal grin, and rehearse your best "Heeere's Johnny."
An American Werewolf in London's David Kessler, 1981 (David Naughton)
Key Costume Prep: The red puffer coat or lots of fur.
A Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger, 1984 (Robert Englund)
Key Costume Prep: Wear Krueger's iconic razor gloves, and you'll look even sharper.
Count Dracula in Bram Stoker's Dracula, 1992 (Gary Oldman)
Key Costume Prep: Without fangs, your costume would absolutely suck.
American Psycho's Patrick Bateman, 2000 (Christian Bale)
A millennial interpretation of Bret Easton Ellis's 1991 send-up of 1980s Wall Street yuppies, American Psycho gave us Patrick Bateman, a Manhattan investment broker with a penchant for blood. He was a new type of serial killer; his slick and polished business suits being perhaps the most deceiving of masks.
Key Costume Prep: With a plastic ax and a Huey Lewis and the News CD, your costume will kill the competition. A big, old-school cell phone adds flair.