Traditional Korean and Pop-Culture Costume Ideas!

This time of year we’re usually treated to many unique and funny halloween costumes by idols and celebrities, but you should be joining in on the fun aswell!

So to help you pick your spooky outfit we’re giving you eight costume ideas based on our favourite Korean traditions, folklore, dramas and K-Pop~!

1. Goblin ‘Dokkaebi’ (도깨비)

©Goblin-Gong-Yoo, 11.10.2017,

©Goblin-Gong-Yoo, 11.10.2017,

Besides being Gong Yoo’s hilarious character in The Great And Lonely God, goblin’s have been a big part of Korean folklore and mythology since the Silla-era – mainly being known for either helping humans or playing tricks on them.

There have been many different appearances of goblins throughout the centuries but Gong Yoo is by far our favourite, so if you’re keen to dress as a goblin all you’ll really need to do is wear stylish clothes and carry around an arrangement of buckwheat!

2. Grim Reaper ‘Jeoseung-saja’  (저승사자)

©Jeoseung-saja, 11.10.2017,

©Jeoseung-saja, 11.10.2017,

Of course you can’t have a Dokkaebi without a Jeoseung-saja! Meaning ‘Netherworld Emissary’ or ‘Messenger of the Other World’, a Jeoseung-saja is the Korean equivalent of the Grim Reaper, their job was to escort souls to the afterlife and they could only be seen by those who were about to die.

The Jeoseung-saja wear black hanbok’s (traditional Korean dresses) and a traditional black hat called gat (갓) – but if you ‘d rather use Lee Dong Wook’s classy Grim Reaper as inspiration for your costume then that’s just as good!

3. Hwarang (화랑) and Wonhwa (원화)

©hwarang, 11.10.2017,

©hwarang, 11.10.2017,

Known in Silla as ‘Flowering Knights‘, hwarang were a group of elite warrior youth’s that were originally trained for art and culture, but eventually evolved into military characters that learnt swordsmanship, horse-riding, archery and other skills.

The wonhwa, meaning ‘Original Flowers’, were bands of women that came before the Hwarang. Some think that the Gisaeng, the Korean version of Geisha, originated from the wonhwa.

Since the drama Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth aired, we have been given some amazing visuals that can help us recreate the looks of both hwarang and wonhwa – they may not originally be scary, but there’s nothing stopping you from spooking them up a bit!

4. Ghosts (괴신)

©처녀귀신, 11.10.2017,

©처녀귀신, 11.10.2017,

When you think of classic costumes, ghosts are one of the first things that come to mind, and Korean legends have a variety of ghoul-y characters to choose from – such as the ‘Bachelor ghost’ Chonggak gwishin (총각귀신), the ‘Water ghost’ mul gwishin (물귀신), and the ‘Virgin Ghost’ Cheonyeo gwishin (처녀귀신) which is pictured above.

The Cheonyeo gwishin is the most popular choice for costumes (you may have already seen people dressed as Cheonyeo gwishin in dramas like Oh My Ghostess or in pranks on variety show like Produce 101 Season 2 and Hit The Stage) it’s also the most simple as all you need is a flowing white dress and a long black haired wig!

5. Zombies

Another classic costume idea is the zombie, for this we have two big sources of inspiration. First is SPEED’s concept from their music video Zombie Party – although it’s more of ‘Night of the Pretty Zombie Boys‘ rather than ‘Night of the Living Dead‘, dressing as one of the ‘undead’ members of SPEED is a an easy, hassle-free way to mix your love of K-Pop with your love of halloween!

The second, more terrifying, choice is to dress as one of the MANY zombies from the infamous thriller Train to Busan (another Gong Yoo classic) – it’s definitley the option to go with if you want to stick with the more traditional zombie look.

6. VIXX’s On and On and VOODOO DOLL

©vixx 4, 11.10.2017,

©vixx 4, 11.10.2017,

Moving more into our K-Pop inspired costumes, the first group that came to our minds was, of course, VIXX! In 2013 the group released two music videos that had dark concepts and both are fantastic inspiration for halloween outfits.

If ‘vampire army generals dancing in space’ is a look you’d like to go for then feel free to consult VIXX’s music video On and On for ideas – not only is this another relatively simple outfit to put together (all you’d need are coloured contacts and an all black outfit) but it will also knock all the other vampire costumes out of the park!

But if you’re one of those people that likes more gore than bling in their costumes then we’ve got you covered too! VIXX’s VOODOO DOLL is known as one of the most difficult to watch music videos (if you haven’t watched it yet brace yourself) and will no doubt help you put together an insanely horrific costume.


Next up is a MUCH more lighthearted option. In TWICE’s music video TT we were blessed with iconic dances, sweet vocals and, most importantly, a cute halloween concept that showed all the members in different costumes.

Dressing up as bunnies, mermaids, and Tinker-Bell all the way to devils, witches and Pinocchio – the members of TWICE have given us a lifetime’s worth of costume inspiration!

8. SHINee’s Married to the Music

Lastly, we’re going to finish up with the most iconic halloween themed music video of all time; Married to the Music.

This song is an absolute bop and the MV gives us a ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show meets Billy Idol’s White Wedding’ kind of vibe, which is the perfect combination to get you into the costume making mood!

From the mysterious ‘evil bride’ character to SHINee’s fabulously colourful suits, basing your costume on this music video will bring out your fun and carefree side whilst making you keen for halloween~!

Want to experience more of Korean culture and music? Why not subscribe now to the Inspire Me Korea CULTURE BOX to receive a box of goodies sent to your door every month? Or how about our SEPTEMBER MUSIC BOX? We ship internationally~!

Feature Image Source: ©SHINee-MTTM, 11.10.2017,


Claudia Deborah 이보라

Book-dealer by day, writer and illustrator by night—Instagram: @kikitsa.draws. Instant coffee and trot music get me through the day. My life is simple but I’m greatful for it. 나의 인생은 조금 심심하고 단순하지만, 이런 내 삶도 나에게 주어진 삶이 기 때문에 감사함을 느끼고 있습니다.



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